guide to simple christmas

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year!  But as a mom it does mean more to do.  Adding anything to the already mile high daily to do list can feel overwhelming. There’s all the gifts to plan, the shopping, the cooking, the extra parties and get togethers.  We want to make it special for our family but what can you do to make the preparations easier?   Here’s ten tips on how to simplify Christmas and enjoy it more.

I love Christmas as much as the next mama, but I have to admit there were several years in a row that I felt like a big grump. I realized I was letting all the to do’s take the joy right out of what’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year”.  I found myself overwhelmed and worn out.  I had let all kinds of expectations get the best of me! Don’t be a grumpy mama, simplify and enjoy the holidays instead. Here’s how!

Tips on how to simplify Christmas:

1. Get a head start.

I never seem to be organized enough for this one, but ideally you’d have a little bit of an early start on it.  Not too early, otherwise you are likely to forget what you already bought, or the gift may not be fitting anymore. I think sometime in mid October would be a good time to at least start thinking. Get your thoughts organized and onto paper, making a rough plan.

2. Lower your expectations. 

You don’t have to send out hundreds of Christmas cards, make cookies for every person you ever met in your life or buy your kids a ridiculous amount of gifts.  We don’t need to spend a ton of money to make Christmas special.  There are lots of inexpensive ways to celebrate and enjoy time with one another without spending a lot of money we don’t have or that will just end up being a strain on our finances and may regret come January. 

3. Concentrate on what IS important to you. 

Spend a little time thinking through what is most important to you and your family.  What traditions mean the most to you?  What is something that gives you the most joy?  What are the things you do just because they are habit?  Drop the activities and to do’s that really aren’t that important to you and your family and you will have more time to enjoy what matters most!

4. Remember what’s the most important thing. 

There is NOTHING wrong with giving gifts and having fun at Christmas, but when the most important thing, celebrating Jesus, God’s gift to the world is forgotten, our Christmas season will surely lack peace and joy that is intended.  Spend time doing something simple to put your focus on the Lord. 

It doesn’t need to be extravagant, just something that turns your heart to the Lord during this busy season.  Maybe a simple advent reading plan from a child’s story bible to read with your kids, meditating on the names of Jesus or simply listening to traditional Christmas music that’s all about Jesus.

Some years we have put the names of Jesus on the tree, doing one each evening and talking about how Jesus is those things to us in our lives. 

5. Make a simple meal. 

Plan something simple and easy for Christmas Day meals. You can do simple and still make it special.  You don’t have to slave in the kitchen making an extravagant meal. If there’s a must have dish or two that it just isn’t Christmas without in your family, consider making them ahead and lighten up the rest of the menu to make it simpler. 

I am considering just making a big pot of soup up the day before and fresh homemade bread up so I can enjoy the time with my family instead of standing in the kitchen. 

6. Make and use some freezer meals.

Take some time at the end of November or beginning of December to make up some freezer meals.  These will really come in handy during the extra business of the month.  Having some pre-made meals will save you from having to rely on take out when things just get too busy.  Saves you time, money and from eating unhealthier foods.

7. Buy online. 

Buying your gifts online saves you time and money.  You won’t be tempted to buy items that aren’t on your list.  You won’t spend a lot of time in traffic and long lines.  Amazon and Walmart.com are my two favorite places to order from.  Children’s Place always has good deals on pajamas (which is one of my families traditions).  Some people really love shopping, and that would not be me!  If shopping is something you enjoy, but you are short on time consider doing some of it in stores and the rest online.

8. Go to bed early/get extra rest.

Go to bed early/get extra rest often in the weeks before Christmas.  You are going to need this.  It’s so tempting to stay up late getting things done, but this is a sure fire way to make yourself really grumpy.  You are also more prone to getting sick when you aren’t getting enough sleep.  Go to bed on time and even early to keep from stretching yourself too thin.

9. Keep gifts simple.

I really like the little saying “something to wear, something to read, something they need, something they want”.  But even that is too much for me 🙂  I used it when I had fewer kids. When you have to buy 4 somethings for 6 kids and two parents that really adds up!  We like to do more like a few fun family gifts each year and stockings.  I’m always looking for more ways to simplify Christmas :).

10.  Don’t start over every year. 

Have a great menu plan this year?  Think of some really good handmade gift ideas that you didn’t get around to this year? Keep recipes and plans somewhere safe, then next year you will have everything all together in one place and you won’t have to spend the time redoing it all.

I hope that these ideas help you to simplify Christmas and enjoy it more this year.  What about you?  Do you have any tips and tricks to simplifying Christmas?  

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how to simplify christmas and enjoy it more

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