Congratulations — you made it through Thanksgiving without losing your every-loving mind. But the big one is next — Christmas. The holiday of all holidays. When expectations soar and energy levels plummet, sucking all the fun out of what should be a celebration of family, friends, and food.
My family is notorious for ditching out of plans, staying in our pajamas, and enjoying another rerun of Suzy Snowflake (or, as we’ve gotten older, heading to a beach to spend Christmas in our bathing suits) and I want to empower you to do the same. The holidays are what you make them, so bring it down a notch with 10 ways to simplify the holidays and enjoy the true meaning of the season — sugar cookies and snackin’ pants.
10 Ways to Simplify the Holidays
- Start Early This should go without saying, but don’t wait until Christmas Eve to do your cooking, cleaning, shopping, and wrapping. Do a little something every day starting after Halloween (NOT before, dear God). The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint.
- Organization is key Where you so sick of twinkle lights and garland last January that you crammed all decorations into random boxes and stuffed them in the attic? How fun is that to untangle now? That’s what I thought. Take the time to sort through all your decor as you decorate and pack things away neatly after the festivities have ended. It’ll make your life a hell of a lot easier for holidays to come.
- Make Lists There’s an app for that.
- Say no You can’t spread holiday cheer if you’re burnt out so don’t overextend yourself. Someone else can make the pageant costumes this year.
- Cut corners Celebrate canned cranberry sauce! Order your turkey from the grocery store! Let the mall elves wrap your gifts! It could save you valuable, money, and sanity.
- Ask for help Put your kids, significant other, and guests to work. Ask them to trim the tree, be in charge of the entertainment, or bring a dish to dinner. You can pawn off most of the preparation this way. As my boss says, “Delegate!”
- Budget No matter how temping it is to give piles of gifts, host the most impressive dinner, or light up the neighborhood like the Griswold’s, know your limits. Digging yourself deeper and deeper into debt makes the holidays (and the New Year) unnecessarily stressful. Celebrate what you have, not what you can’t afford.
- Relax Take a break. Enjoy a nap. Nobody’s going to notice if there’s only four varieties of cookies instead of your usual six or if presents are in gift bags instead of perfectly wrapped. Stop putting that kind of pressure on yourself.
- Stay home Traveling to see family or attending every party in the neighborhood can be just as stressful as hosting the party yourself. Pick and choose. Be the life of just a few parties instead of a dozen. Skype instead of taking an exorbitantly priced red-eye flight. Connect with those you love whatever way you can.
- Say to hell with it all Is everyone expecting you to host Christmas dinner again? No one offering to help? It’s okay to call the whole thing off in favor of ordering Chinese and watching holiday movies. It may just be the best Christmas yet.
Do you have any tips for simplifying the holidays? How do you celebrate?