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Christmas might be months away (or very soon, depending on when you’ve found this article) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can do now for a simpler Christmas. In fact, most of the work for a simple Christmas actually happens in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the holiday. That’s kind of the point of simplifying.
Even if you’ve never done it before, you can make this year the start of your simple Christmas traditions. Take the hustle and bustle out of the holiday season, and instead spend more time with family and friends. For some reason, we’ve all accepted that the holidays should be busy and stressful. It’s time to take them back.
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What Does it Mean to Have a Simpler Christmas?
Simpler Christmases are just that: simple. That means instead of running yourself ragged, overextending with holiday gatherings, and spending a fortune on stuff you pare things down and focus on what’s really important when it comes to celebrating. It might mean trading outings for Christmas movies at home, or limiting your gift giving list.
Things You Can Do Right Now to Have a Simple Christmas This Year
Get the Family on Board
When it comes to a simpler Christmas, you should start as early as possible with your changes to you have time to get everyone else on board. At first, your family might seem reluctant to make changes. Especially if you have kids. But, this is about your mental health, and not what they want to do.
If you truly want a simpler Christmas it’s important to stay firm and hold your ground. It might be difficult, but part of this journey is to remove that emotional clutter you experience in your life. That includes you relationships that are toxic too.
Let Everyone Know Ahead of Time
No one likes “bad” surprises. If your friends or family are used to celebrating the holidays with you in a certain way, let them know that they should change their expectations months ahead of the holiday season. If there’s children in the home, start prepping them for a more simple holiday season. Older kids might even be able to provide some input on how they’d like to spend the holidays too.
For extended family, find a solution to pare down the gift giving it’s overwhelming. Family gift exchanges are a great way to celebrate together while shopping (and spending) less, but you can also all agree to just not give gifts this year. If multiple family gatherings usually take place, discuss in advance on how stop the overscheduling.
Some things might just have to be skipped, especially if all they do is cause more stress. That’s OK!
Consider Not Hosting a Big Christmas
If you’re normally stressed out around the holidays because you host an extravagant Christmas dinner or gathering, make this the first year you say ‘no’ to putting in all that work. Maybe it’s time you let someone else take over the holiday hosting? If you have grown kids, it might be time to pass the torch.
If hosting makes sense for you still then you can still find ways to simplify and still entertain. Make it a holiday potluck so you’re not doing all the cooking, don’t go overboard worrying about what the house looks like, or consider hiring some help to give you a break
Thankfully, if you’ve already started practicing minimalism with your household stuff, cleaning and getting ready for holiday hosting will probably be easier this year anyway.
Declutter Before Christmas
Speaking of, if you haven’t already hit your house hard with decluttering then before the holidays is the best time to do that. Gifts are almost inevitable, and the last thing you need is more stuff in your home. Use the time now to get rid of as much excess as you can.
This is especially true if you have younger children in the home. The toys can be overwhelming, and the worst thing to be doing Christmas afternoon is trying to find a place for all the new stuff.
Make Your Minimalism Known
If your family does do gifts, at least let everyone know that you’re aiming to have less stuff in your home. Maybe they’ll opt to get you minimalist Christmas gifts, gift cards, or experiences. Encourage your spouse and children to make similar requests. Make a list of things that you’d actually like, and offer it to anyone who asks.
Some family members won’t accept your minimalism, though. I personally think that it’s good to be honest with people when they get you a gift you don’t love, but I also believe it’s important to preserve relationships too. Sometimes we have to accept stuff and get rid of it later. Especially since so many people tie emotions to the physical objects and gifts they give.
A Simpler Christmas is Possible
Just because it seems like everyone is working against you doesn’t mean you can have a simpler Christmas. Even if you only do a few things that simplify, you’re still going to be less stressed than you were in previous years.