Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simplify #2: Simple Holiday Season

I love Christmas, but I do not love the craziness that often comes along with it. I don't want to waste my entire holiday season sitting in traffic on the way to the mall or spending a ton of money to clutter up the homes of my family and friends. I want to choose my presents wisely, support local businesses where possible and just enjoy spending time and energy with the people I love rather than ON them. Here are some ways I am trying to have a simpler holiday season. If you are doing the same, please share your tips. 

 Photo 1  2

Event Gifts: Give your family the gift of experiences rather than items. For kids, do a trip to a museum, farm (if you can stand the cold!), or holiday show. For adults, maybe visit a winery or brewery, go see a comedy show or a play, or take a weekend trip. I highly recommend this article from Slow Your Home on "The Ultimate Clutter-Free Gift Guide." 

Homemade Gifts: If you are the crafty type, make presents yourself. Even if you are not, you can always support a small business by purchasing something homemade. Check out Becky's series on homemade gifts for some great ideas. Shutterfly is also great for turning photos into presents: calendars, mugs etc. 

Photo 4

Event Advent Calendars: I've seen this idea in a couple of places but I've never tried it myself. Basically, instead of taking an ornament or chocolate out of an Advent calendar, instead you take out something fun to do. You have to be careful with this because if you put this together with a bunch of event gifts you are participating in, you can end up with the opposite of a simple holiday season. But, you get to make up what you want to do, so you can keep it super low key. Some ideas I like include taking a drive to see Christmas lights, listening and dancing to Christmas music, watching a Christmas movie, and making cookies. Remember, this is YOUR Advent Calendar so you don't have to have an "event" every night. 

Say No/Do Less: This is a great article about how moms of little kids should do less, but I think everyone should do less. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, but you don't have to say yes to every holiday party, volunteer to bring extravagant dishes to a dinner party or even send out Christmas cards this year. Choose only what you most love and/or need to do, and say no to the rest. This is a work in progress for me. 


How do you simplify your holiday season? 


  1. I love that last photo- no surprise there!! :)

    I think it's a great idea to simplify during the holiday season. It should be a time of joy and peace but it often ends of being a time of stress for a lot of people. I am definitely a big fan of 'experience' gifts, like the ones you mentioned or things like a massage.

    My family has kind of simplified things as us kids don't do a gift exchange anymore. So I actually had very few gifts to buy as I just had to shop for my parents and my niece/nephews. And I have a tradition of giving a book to each child, which I can buy online, so it makes shopping easy for me. I avoid malls as much as I can this time of year!!!

  2. Thanks for the shootout! I firmly believe in supporting crafty people so I can give a handmade gift - because let's be real, if it's not a scarf I can't really make it. :)

    I love the event idea too - Ben and I do that a lot - we've never gotten each other anniversary gifts, but rather we do things together - you take pictures, have great memories, yet nothing to clutter up more room in your place!

  3. I love the clutter free gifts link you shared!! We made homemade wine this year so we are basically giving people wine, chocolates, some baking and then a few other small things. I agree that experience gifts are really really nice though!

  4. I don't really have to work on simplifying anything because I've always aimed low. I love all those articles about doing less cuz I'm LIKE the hell did you do it in the first place? Tires me out to read it.

  5. I'm a huge fan of experience gifts, too! It's so much longer lasting than a traditional present (for the most part).

    We keep it pretty simple by knowing our limits. I get very protective of my time off and around the holidays so I limit what I say yes to, try to "bundle" activities and meet-ups together and I don't stress if I simply can't do something.