Simplifying Christmas

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I don’t know what’s come over me, but my heart’s just not into running around like a crazy woman this holiday season.

I don’t know. Maybe it was this video.

Or maybe this story.

But, I just don’t want to rush around and shop this year. It’s not the Bing-Crosby-singing-Silver-Bells-while-shopping image that I used to picture. Instead, I see it simply as spending money and acquiring stuff.

And there’s already a garage full of stuff still packed in boxes that we’ve lived without for the last two months.

Guess I don’t need new stuff.

Three years ago my sweet hubby put a moratorium on my Christmas crafting. Things had gotten a little out of hand and while I was saving us money, our supply of peaceful moments was running dry. Things were crazy because I felt crazy.

Last year we downsized our Christmas spending because we made the decision not to go into debt for the sake of gift giving. While we love our families and want to give our children, parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews great gifts, we realized that this isn’t the season of our lives when we can or should be extravagant. But, still I felt frantic bustling to find budget gifts that weren’t too lame.

It seems like this year is just another step on this road toward a simpler Christmas. And I like it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still contemplating ways to be festive, but all of a sudden I want to do it without lots of spending and shopping and stressing.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

And the really wierd part of it is that I feel free. Free from obligation and guilt. Free to enjoy fun times with the kids. Free to cook yummy food. Free to make memories instead of messes.

How about you? Are you simplifying this year? If so, how?


Christmas Without the Frenzy from Small Notebook
Deck the Holidays: Conquering the Chaos to Enjoy a Simpler Season from Yours Truly

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  1. I have simplified Christmas a lot the past few years too. We have done some crafts, but it has been together and a lot of fun.

    I have hit garage sales (something I absolutely love) all summer looking for gifts for nieces and nephews. I only get things that are brand-new or would be mistaken for that.

  2. My husband and I have always been the weird ones in our family because we didn’t give lots of gifts. As we looked around we knew that no one needed anything! One year we bought gifts through World Vision, so like a goat to help a family, or put money towards a new well for the village. Most years we just give family photos and you know what? Everyone loves that.
    Just last night I was putting together the gifts for my children’s teachers at church – homemade ornaments and Glade candles that I got for less than 50 cents at some point this year.
    Enjoy your simple holiday because it definitely makes for a more enjoyable season.

  3. absolutely! We’ve been simple for a few years now… both of our kids get so much stuff that they never play with! It seems a shame. Both of our boys (10 and 3) are easily entertained… so we try to get a few nice gifts v/s loads of random toys they’d never play with more then once… this combined with extended family getting them gifts makes for an abundant holiday. I had the privalage to shop a bit w/ my dad recently, and he was absolutely stunned at my modesty in buying gifts. For our oldest we chose to buy him some really well built building toys… and the toddler is receiving natural wood trucks, trains, etc. Outside of that, there’s no noise making toys, no toys that will get shoved aside because they break easily…

    We’re also spending alot of time making our own salt dough ornaments again this year, last year we did this and gave several as gift toppers and it went over well with the gift receipiant… hand made, hand painted… seemed to be personal!

    My SIL recently posted about this very thing, and had some negative feedback on her blog… it hurt my feelings for her… you can read her two posts about it here… her first post w/ the negative feedback was: and her follow up post to that here:….

  4. We pulled out of all family gift exchanges the year after we were married. We just didn’t have the money! We now give small gifts (under $20) gifts to my two nephews, and the same for our parents. We only buy three gifts for our kids, and all in all this year we spend under $150 on three kids! *We don’t do pricey electronics…that helps!* I am having surgery (simple and out patient) next week which has forced me to get organized and get it all done before then. In a strange way it is a blessing because I have to keep a low profile while recovering. My mom is coming to help me, so we will put on some Christmas tunes, put some soup on, bake some fudge and brew some coffee. Sounds good to me!!

  5. I am trying to simplify — definately thinking about more what and why I am giving what I am giving rather than to just check someone off the list. More handmade gifts this year — save a little money here, but more importantly, I think the gifts are more meaningful

  6. Keep up the good work. I am so amazed at your wisdom at a young age. Our family is feeling the same way. My children are all in college and older. We are sick of the “stuff”. This past weekend I had a garage sale to get rid of 50% of our “stuff”. I am down to what I use. I love it. I sold my Christmas tree. I am so glad. I kept a box full of ornanments. Don’t know if I should have gotten rid of that too.

    Today I decorated for Christmas in less than one hour. I put out ribbon and bows on the mailbox and house poles. I added a magnet decoration on the mailbox, flags, and a wreath on the door. Inside I put up greenery and flowers on the mantel and decorated with a few Christmas pictures and a manger.I am so happy. It looks like Christmas and I am not stressed.

    Years ago I could not put up a Christmas tree so my artist daughters creatively thought up getting a board and drawing a tree on it. They painted it and made it look exactly like our Christmas tree complete with our lights, ornanments, etc. I laughed and loved it. I pull it out and we all laugh and it is so simple. It is better memories than any tree.

    So do simplify. Don’t wait until you burn out.

  7. Having done 44 Christmas Dinners for my family and many times friends 15 to 30 people…I abdicated the position this year. I let my kids (not really kids anymore 41 to 45) know what my plans were well before the time. No huge family bust at Mom’s anymore…but we would be going to a restaurant for Xmas dinner. It all went together as planned and was truly very nice and such a relief. I have had some comments since of how it was not the same…I agree…and it was a very good ..not the same. I see it as a double win…I get to relax and enjoy the day and my kids get to develope their own traditions to do each year, Hope they are pleased because dinner at Moms at Xmas is done..lalalala