Simplifying the Holidays

As I write this post, light snow is falling, and the Christmas spirit is nipping at my toes! At the same time, I have a mental checklist adding up in my mind.  You know that list, the countdown to Christmas list, includes shopping, baking, gifting, and time with family and friends. And the more I think about that list, the more I feel the need to keep things very simple this year.  For me, the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving start to feel a little stressful. Do you ever feel that way? Suddenly, a clockless countdown happens, everyone starts decorating, and I never seem to catch up until early December.  It seems to me, the frenzy to December 25th begins the moment you close the door on the last trick or treater!  I typically have not planned or organized one thing around Christmas, other than the occasional thought, “I wonder what I should get this kid or that kid.” Or, more recently, “maybe I should order those wreaths and garland.” (which I did, and they were delivered…..one thing off the list)

For me, this all starts with taking some of the expectations off myself.

If you spend time anywhere on social media, Pinterest, or attempting to shop anywhere, there are great ideas to choose from on decorating, baking, and gifting. I thought it would be helpful to sort out ten simple and inexpensive ideas to get holiday ready. I love to decorate the farmhouse, both inside and out. I get so much joy making our home festive and fun for when guests visit. The scent of fresh pine greenery and the glow of Christmas lights are some of my favorite things.  I should have made this my top 11 ideas, but I wanted to say more than a bullet point on my first thought, starting by taking some expectations off yourself. I am talking to both you and me. I will be the first to admit I am a chronic overdoer.  I want to decorate every inch, make every recipe, and create a magical holiday experience for everyone I love.  Phew, it is a lot to do in a few short weeks, and when you are “doing all the things,” you might be missing out on “experiencing all the things,” two totally different things, by the way. Alright, onto my official list of 10 ideas that cost very little money and won’t take too much of your time to better enjoy this wonderful season. 

  1. Use fresh-cut greenery, add them to vases, wooden boxes, or any simple container you have on hand.
  2. Add your pretty ornaments to decorative bowls.
  3. Check with your local nonprofits; many sell wreaths and garlands for fundraising.
  4. Prepare your casseroles a day or two ahead; this is such a timesaver on the day of celebration.
  5. I cut back the overall amount of décor last year and really enjoyed the less stuff I had to put away after New Year’s Day!
  6. Say yes to things you want to do and no to everything else.  I love a well-set table, but I don’t need 6 courses to prepare. Choose wisely!
  7. Instead of giving “things,” deliver experiences, a meal out, a coffee shop visit. As my kids have gotten older, it makes more sense to provide gift cards, and those gifts that create a memory are the very best kind.
  8. I love putting my tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving; it gets me in the spirit and meaning of the holiday instead of a shopping and spending mindset
  9. Watch lots of Christmas movies, drink lots of hot chocolate or eggnog,  and eat delicious cookies, which brings me to my final tip………
  10. Last but not least, hire someone to take something off your plate. For me, I usually get lots of sweet treats from a local bakery. I am not a great baker, and this is one of the things I take off my to-do list; plus, I love passing this list item along to a small business!

Head over to Instagram @farmhousenewengland, where I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you go about simplifying the season so you can enjoy all the season has to offer.  As always, thank you for stopping by and reading along.

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” – Peg Bracken

Merry & Happy Holidays,
Amanda

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