The holidays can be a busy time for everyone, with gifts to buy and wrap, cards to send, family get-togethers to plan, and goodies to make. We can easily lose sight of the true meaning of the season and forget to treasure the special times and memories with our family and friends when we get wrapped up in the details. Here are some simple tips on how to keep the holidays simple.
1. Do only the baking and cooking that you can do WITH your family helping. Stop trying to make every single Christmas cookie in the cookbooks, and let your children pick a few treats that they want to have then make them together as a family. Your children will treasure that time spent together much more than they would 15 different varieties of cookies. If you really want to have a large variety of cookies, consider a cookie exchange with friends.
2. Find a way to slow things down with your family in the evenings, even if only for a short amount of time. If you have a very busy day with work, holiday planning, or other things taking up your time during this time of year, even a few minutes of special family time will help you slow down and appreciate the moment. Our family lights candles and reads an Advent story in the evening along with doing an Advent calendar. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes but it’s a sweet and simple time of quietness and togetherness that brings our minds back to the true meaning of the season, even after a busy day.
3. Pull back on the gift-giving stress. If the idea of finding a tower of meaningful presents is stressing you out… don’t. We do 2 things in our family, a Secret Santa gift exchange for those not in our immediate family and we do just 4 gifts for each person in our little family; something to wear, something to read, something they want, and something they need. Knowing that I only need a small amount of gifts each year helps me keep Christmas simple and meaningful, and not all about the gifts (and the stress, clutter, and cost that goes along with them).