With an overblown, all-out, retail-fueled holiday frenzy at one extreme and an all-natural, homemade Christmas worthy of Little House on the Prairie at the other, I’m guessing most of us have a holiday that lies somewhere in the middle. If you find yourself struggling to balance a desire for simplicity and sharing deep lessons with the urge to make the holidays memorable, fun and festive, you are not alone. Here are nine ways to simplify the holiday season — just enough.
1. Set intentions. Try to sum up the holiday experience you want to have in one or two words. For instance, “playful” or “meaningful grace.” Use this easily remembered word or phrase as a litmus test when deciding which holiday activities and traditions to pursue.
2. Create small, special moments each day … they add up! Indulge in hot cocoa at breakfast, light candles and sit around the tree in the evening, read a special holiday story, listen to music from The Nutcracker and dance around the living room. Often these little, everyday moments are what end up being the most memorable.
3. Think of ways to simplify a tradition. Instead of ditching a popular holiday tradition altogether, think of a way to scale it back a bit, so it’s easier (read: more enjoyable) for you. For example, bake three of your family’s favorite kinds of cookies instead of 10 or turn your holiday party into a potluck.
4. Set limits on gift giving. There are so many ways to do this, and many of them are actually fun!
- Give local. Perfect if you want to avoid the mall. Sticking with shopping at local small businesses can be a fun self-imposed limit and will benefit your community to boot.
- Give vintage. There is so much cool old stuff out there! Think vintage records and a turntable for a music-obsessed teen or a lovely china platter for your mother-in-law.
- Give handmade. Either made by you or purchased from a crafter online or at a local shop.
- Give experiences. Or even better, shared experiences. Try tickets to the symphony, a museum or zoo membership, cooking classes or (for a free option) a day of sledding.
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How to Have a Just-Simple-Enough Holiday