Simplify your Christmas planning this year to bring you more joy and less stress by focusing on the things that really matter and letting go of the tinsel and traipsing’s that have lost their intrinsic meaning to you. Use these 7 tips to have a more meaningful and happier Christmas season.
With the holidays just around the corner and the stress of high inflation, supply chain challenges, and rising fuel prices looming, this November and December could be the most stressful time of the year but it doesn’t have to be.
Choose now to make this holiday season the most enjoyable and meaningful you can using these 7 simple tips.
7 Tips for Christmas Planning a Simpler Christmas Season
1. Create an planned holiday season rather than focusing on a single day.
You’ve probably heard the adage “enjoy the journey”. When we focus on a single day with high expectations it can be easy to feel disappointed when reality falls short. Rather than focusing on a single day, planning for the holiday season reduces the weight on the day and balances our expectations. Christmas doesn’t begin on Christmas eve. It encompasses the time from Thanksgiving Day through the month of December. It is a time of reflection and generosity. It can also be a time of stress, so Christmas planning is essential to create the ultimate Christmas.
Christmas planning with the entire season in mind, is the first step to a stress-free Christmas.
2. Christmas planning for the important and meaningful events
Each person values a different aspect of the holidays. For some the main meal steeped in traditional dishes is the most important, for others its the music, the stories, the nativity play, the gift giving, or the seasonal foods. In your Christmas planning, narrow your list of important things down to the most essential 3 to 5 items. Then plan those non-negotiable Christmas preparations into November and December, using a paper planner or a Christmas planning checklist. One benefit with a paper planner is you can refer to it year after year, so you only need to do this exercise once.
As you sit down with your Christmas planner create a list of important Christmas events, like getting a family photo, sending holiday cards, putting up the Christmas lights, attending the work Christmas party, wrapping gifts, putting up the Christmas tree, making ornaments with the children or grand children, baking Christmas cookies. Choose only the items from this list that are meaningful for you. Then write those 3 to 5 important tasks on your to-do lists inside the Christmas planner and schedule time to do them.
Don’t discard traditions because its harder this year. Instead keep the tradition but change how you do it to fit your budget. One year when Mr. Joybilee was a young boy, his family decided to open their Christmas gifts on Christmas eve. Their family tradition was to open gifts on Christmas Day. The change messed up his young mind and for the rest of the holiday week he was confused about what day of the week it was. Hold on to the important traditions even if it means finding a way to do it less expensively this year.
3. Simplify gift giving
The Holidays aren’t a competition to see who can out-give last year. Plan your gifts within your budget, and make each one meaningful rather than expensive. Food gifts like beef jerky, homemade jam, Christmas candy, hot chocolate or chai tea will be appreciated long after the day is over. Other homemade gifts like melt and pour soap, or lotion bars are inexpensive but beautiful. If one gift isn’t enough consider a themed wellness basket, with salves and syrups or soap and self care items, to convey your love. There’s no need to spend on “stuff” that won’t be looked at once the holidays are over.
Avoid the Black Friday sales, if you can. Impulsive Christmas shopping can lead to over-budget spending and leave you feeling depressed and inadequate. If possible create meaningful gifts at home or make a list of gift ideas for each person on your gift list.
4. Make gifts for yourself, too
Too often when we craft our Christmas gifts for others, we don’t make one for ourselves. As moms we can feel left out and forgotten even as we’ve made an exceptional Christmas for others. When we set aside some of our creativity for ourselves, we get to enjoy it too. So when you make lotion bars or chai tea for those on your list, make a couple for yourself, too, wrap them and add them to a wellness basket for yourself. Add the time to craft these gifts to your Christmas planning early, to reduce the pressure in the later weeks of December. Use this schedule to craft several gifts at once in an afternoon, to make the best use of your time.
5. Use the advent count down to bring joy to others
Include giving in your Christmas planning. The advent count down can remind us how little time we have left till the “Big Day”, creating stress. But it doesn’t have to. Instead, use an advent calendar as a reminder to bring JOY to others every day through random acts of Kindness. Being kind to others doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as writing a thank you to a special friend, telling them what their friendship means to you or smiling at a young child. Or purchasing some soup or coffee at a cafe and putting it on their “Pay It Forward” board for someone else. Whether you buy someone a coffee, volunteer at soup kitchen, or invite the neighbor kids over to bake cookies, your random acts of kindness will spread the glow of cheer for days. Check out the ideas in the infographic below for more inspiration for Random Acts of Kindness to add to your Christmas planning.
6. Food is important during the Holidays
There are traditional foods like turkey or goose, Christmas ham, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, donuts, or latkes that are an important and essential part of the winter holidays. But we can get carried away with all the tasty delights. Pick a few things, within your budget, that are meaningful to your family, and then ease up on the rest.
Plan for leftovers in your holiday menu, so that the turkey or beef can also become soup, stew, casseroles, and broth for future meals to stretch your food dollars. Leave time after the meal to pluck the carcass and put the food in the freezer so so that your investment in holiday food is secure.
Before the season gather recipes not just for the main meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, but also recipes to work with the leftovers, so that you have a plan in place.
If you have guests for the holiday be sure to enlist their help with meal preparations and last minute Christmas prep.
7. Set aside time to be still
The holidays can be hectic. In the midst of holiday decorations, the Christmas countdown, Christmas card lists, and gift wrapping, set aside time to just be still. Focus on the moment. In your Christmas planning, plan time to commune with God, with nature, or with yourself in this season. Turn off social media. Pray, read, write, draw, paint, listen to music, walk in nature, breathe. This is an essential healing time. Plan a playlist of your favorite seasonal music to help you quieten your soul and enjoy the moment that the season brings.
I love to keep a basket of Christmas story books beside my favorite chair to indulge the quiet moments on snowy nights. Books by Tasha Tudor are some of my favorite holiday books right now.
Take some time early in November to plan your holiday season in pen and paper, so that you can enjoy a less stressful and more joyful Christmas season using the 7 tips in this article.