It’s that time of year again. Christmas or ‘stress-mas’ as it seems to be more commonly becoming. What is supposed to be a time of joy and peace often turns into a one-way trip to stressville.
But this year, as I aim to simplify my life in general, I’m also aiming to simplify Christmas. How? I’m so glad you asked!
1. Less focus on presents
No I’m not channeling Ebeneza Scrooge, but cutting down on presents will not only leave you less-stressed, but with more in the bank at the end of the month.
This year we have concentrated on buying each of our daughters a large ticket item and only 3 or 4 smaller items. I’ve also been careful to make considered decisions on what I buy. No junk type toys, more useful and creative things, and things that I know they will really enjoy.
We also only buy for the kids in the family. Only immediately family such as nieces and nephews. This allows us to again buy more meaningful gifts for each of them, rather than try and make the budget stretch around ten or twenty people!
Kris Kringle (or kindle, however you prefer) is also a great idea, and one that works for many families.
Or if you are totally over the indulgence and materialistic consumerism you might like to read Leo Babauta’s case for not buying at all.
2. An easy, laid back Christmas Day
We will be hosting Christmas Day this year and as much as I love a traditional Turkey and boiled pudding fan-fare, this year I am opting for something much simpler. An outdoor (yes, undercover!) simple, cold meat and salad spread. I will buy a lovely smoked ham, some cold king prawns and I’ll cook up a Turkey the day before. Each family/group attending will be asked to bring a salad and/or dessert and their own drinks.
I’m planning on using disposable plates and cutlery so there will be less mess to clean up, which means more time to enjoy the day.
We will still dress it up with decorations and there will still be the fun stuff like those Christmas Crackers the kids love (including corny jokes). And a Christmas carol playlist on in the background of course.
3. Simple family traditions
We have a family tradition that probably makes it feel like Christmas more than anything else. Even more so than the presents! Every Christmas Eve we all sit down in front of the tree and watch ‘The Grinch’. It’s my husband’s favourite movie! I kid you not. And it has just sort of morphed into a tradition. It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s all about family.
4. No cards
This will be a controversial one, but I don’t do Christmas cards. I just found it was too much pressure. I didn’t see the point of just writing To xxx Love xxxx, so I would end up writing long winded essays. Which yes, is lovely and personal but it’s also a lot of pressure. And really, does anyone keep those cards? And if they do? Aren’t they just taking up a lot of space?
5. Taking a moment
For an introvert like me Christmas can take its toll. So I make sure to keep it simple and take a moment or two to recharge. I will often disappear into the bedroom and just sit. After a few minutes of sitting peacefully, a few deep breathing exercises and maybe a yoga pose or two, I am re-energized to go out and enjoy it all once again. It’s a great way to deal with the overwhelm – introverted or not!
A simple, minimalist Christmas isn’t for everyone. But if you are struggling with it all looking like too much this year, why not give it a try?
Are planning a low key Christmas this year? Any tips of your own to share?