How to Simplify for the Holidays?

Most of us can probably feel the energy and the anxiety of the festivities coming up. Just pop into any retail store and the pressure to buy and to give as much as possible is everywhere. There is this feeling of I better get it now or it will be gone. You might even be thinking of previous years when you felt stressed the day before Christmas and you were worried you didn’t have enough or you missed someone who is sure to give you something. Ugh!! I remember one year as a youngster thinking I would stay up all night to finish knitting a scarf to give to my brother. Lol

When I was younger and a stay at home mom with two young children, I actually made all my gifts for friends and family. That was certainly a happy time even though we had little money. That was back in the day of macramé, knitting, crocheting and ceramics. I was so proud of those gifts and had really poured my heart and soul into them. I have heard of families having this as a theme for Christmas gifts.  Good idea, but maybe too much pressure, especially for my family.

Anyway, back to now. I believe that things are really changing and people are more aware of the fact that they do not need a lot of gifts. A lot of people in my circles will say that if they “need” something they will just go out and buy it. In my family we would pick two names each and had a limit of between $40.00 or $50.00 but it was all about “what do you need, what do you want?” I would just try to surprise people because what is the point really if you are telling people what to get you and they know what they are getting.

We have changed over the years and started to play the Christmas present game where you can take a gift from someone who has opened one or from under the tree. This is a competitive game and one that has caused confusion and hurt feelings in my family. Oh my!! So this year we have decided on each person bringing one gender neutral gift ($30.00) limit and then you get a gift. No stealing but if you want to exchange with someone at the end, then no problem. Basically, you bring a gift, you get a gift. No pressure. Love it!!

Of course when it comes to children this can be a bit more challenging as Christmas is really for the children.  I have my four grandchildren to buy for and will try not to go too overboard on gifts for them. I really do believe that experiences and spending time with them really means so much more to them. So, as well as the gifts we purchase, one on one time with the grands is really important and it allows them to feel special and gives them the attention that they so crave and need.

Some more great advice from me and my friends:

From Me

For my shopper friends. You know who you are. And who doesn’t love a little retail therapy or perhaps time out with a friend or family member. I often go out shopping with my mom and it is just something social that we do to spend time together. Perhaps you find little gifts or cards for friends or family over the year on sale or a special treasure for someone. My advice to you is to make sure you keep all those gifts together (remember like with like) and then when that special day or holiday arrives you can easily find that special gift and you are not out trying to buy that same thing or trying to find something else.

April Norton

Did you know that women are highest risk for heart attacks around the holidays because they are the ones that do most of the work? I know firsthand since mine was January 6.  She says “You don’t have to do it all.  Enlist the help of others, especially if the event is held at your home.  People are happy to contribute and just may need to be informed about how they can help.  You do not have to e a martyr or have everything perfect.  Let go of expectations and enjoy the time with your family.”

Jakki Petricca

1.  Have no expectations or try to live up to others standards/expectations
2. Do not over buy
3. Do buy some emergency gifts like boxed chocolate and wrap it, never know who you may need a small something for
4. Do baking early and freeze it so come Christmas everything is done

Janet Barclay (Your Organizing Business, Organized Assistant)

“Don’t feel obligated to go to every gathering you’re invited to. You can’t enjoy the holidays if you’re constantly driving back and forth and mixing and mingling with people who aren’t important to you.”

Alison Lush (Professional Organizer)

Getting together with family or friends? Ask people to bring something to DO rather than something to UNWRAP. Animate a game, sing a song, tell a story, show a few photos, etc.

Some great ideas here.  What do you think?  Do you have some great tips that you are planning this year to help simplify your holidays? Please join the conversation and add them in the comments below.














About Kimberley

I am a Case Manager at My Sisters' Place which is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association London Middlesex. My Sisters' Place is a program for vulnerable women. I love my job and all the wonderful women I work with. I am very honored to do this work with women who have been through so much and are so open in sharing their stories. I initiated and designed a Clearing Clutter Support Group which I have been facilitating since 2007 with a co-worker. I love running this group and learn so much from the participants. We offer this eight week program three or four times a year. I started my business Space For You in 2010 and work with individuals in their homes as well as offer some workshops in the community. I am available to speak to groups on "De-Cluttering Your Life", "The Magic of De-Cluttering", "Space Clearing" or really anything to do with clutter and hoarding.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Minimalism, Organizing, organizing over the holidays, simplify for the holidays. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Simplify for the Holidays?

  1. Kim, thanks for including me in your post!

    For your readers who don’t know me, I should probably explain that I don’t hate people; I love them! However, I’m an introvert who finds too much social activity draining. 🙂

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Janet,
      We all know you love people lol I am a huge introvert as well so I can totally relate. I think it can really be about setting boundaries for ourselves which I think is so important and really fits in with de-cluttering as well. Thank you for your tip and comment.

  2. Seana Turner says:

    I remind people that they don’t have to carry through with every tradition every year. Each year has a flavor of its own, so do what makes the season pleasurable.. don’t be a slave to that Elf on a Shelf!

    • Kimberley says:

      So true Seana – things do change as we all grow and change. I cannot imagine keeping up with the Elf on the Shelf even though some of those scenarios are so cute. Maybe some families could stick to a once a week visit from the Elf? Is this really still a thing or was it a fad?

  3. We’ve gotten away from buying presents for everyone in our families these last few years. For my family we do a Yankee Swap and for my husband’s family we do a Secret Santa – so much more fun, easier on the wallet, and less stressful! And to chime in about the Elf on the Shelf – it’s still quite popular! And no, I don’t do it with my son – too much work!

    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Good to hear from you. I had to look up the “Yankee Swap” lol That is what we were doing in my family as well but some of the older people were having trouble understanding why their gift was taken from them. I am hoping that this year it will all be smooth with less stress and just an enjoyable time with family. We usually play some games too. Happy Holiday to you.

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