Christmas Countdown – How’s It Going?

Maddie the Christmas dog at Happy Simple Living blog
Our dog, Maddie, is a good sport about dressing up like Santa

“I enjoyed Happy Simple Living’s ‘All Done by December One’ series, and even though I didn’t finish everything for the holidays by the first of December, getting a big head start this year made all the difference. I’m definitely feeling more relaxed.” – Gail

How are your holiday preparations coming along? Did you get all done by December 1? Despite my best intentions, let me just say that I didn’t! I still have a few more gifts to pick up, plenty of gift wrapping to tackle, and I’ve yet to write the holiday letter that will accompany our Christmas cards. But overall we’ve simplified this year, and that combined with getting organized earlier is making this holiday season mellower than years past.

Even if your ‘To Do’ list is longer than you’d like, you can enjoy a more peaceful season. Ask yourself a few questions like these:

  • Do I have to put out every ornament, and every single decoration I own? Could I put a few less things out this year and enjoy the simplicity? (For some inspiring, simple holiday spaces, you may want to check out the Happy Simple Holidays board on Pinterest.)
  • Do I have to do everything this year that I’ve done in past years? What if I didn’t send cards, just this one year? What if I used easy, recyclable gift bags instead of wrapping everything with fancy ribbon and bows – just this Christmas?
  • What if I spent less on gifts this year? What if I promised myself that I wouldn’t get in that mid-December frenzy that so often results in overspending and credit card debt? What if I just relaxed, and did a little less?
  • What if I scheduled some down time this season? What if I x’d out an afternoon on my calendar for a massage, or made time for a nice walk, or just spent a lazy hour reading?
Clark Griswold at Happy Simple Living blog
I know how Clark feels!

I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s not always easy to cut back. As we speak, I’m looking out the window at the pretty outdoor lights on all of my neighbors’ houses. We live in a cul-de-sac where the other five families decorate the outside of their houses with lights. I’ve done it, too, even though it means that Yours Truly must climb on a ladder to hang the lights – definitely not something that comes naturally to me. But this year, ours is the one dark house and I’m thinking about skipping the lights. Our Christmas tree is glowing through the front window, and it looks nice. I’ll let you know if I successfully fight off the temptation!

Need a little more inspiration? These bloggers share their ideas for simplifying and saving money in these weeks remaining before Christmas:

What Mommy Does posted these handy, downloadable gift lists.

Edward Antrobus wrote about holiday decorating on a budget.

Tackling Our Debt shared ideas for fun, inexpensive holiday presents you can make yourself.

The Kitchn posted 40 homemade gifts from the kitchen.

The Happy Homeowner shared 120 Holiday Gifts Under $20.

Studenomics wrote about how to save money during the holidays.

How’s this holiday season going for you? Are you able to cut back a bit and enjoy yourself? Are you finding ways to enjoy the season without over-spending? I’m pulling for you, and we’d all love to hear your ideas and thoughts.


The signature for Eliza Cross
P.S. Have you signed up for the January Money Diet yet?

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

11 thoughts on “Christmas Countdown – How’s It Going?”

  1. Thanks so much for linking to my post, Eliza! Christmas seems to be sneaking up on me this year, so I think I’ll be doing good to get everyone their Christmas card BEFORE December 25th. LOL

  2. All done by dec. 1 was AMAZING in my life! Thank you so much for posting it. I did not get everything done but i scaled down aLOT of unnecessary things and I am so happy and having so much fun this year for the first time in a long long time! Thank you ! I have most of my shopping done, and everything that is bought is wrapped and ready to go. Skipped Christmas cards and only put up minimal decor. VERY liberating! We are going to put the tree up Saturday night and I have a few homemade gifts still to make, but we are enjoying December more than ever before. No worries over here!

    • Christina, your note made me so happy. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the holidays this year, and I hope the rest of the Christmas season is fun and peaceful for you.

  3. Great post! Thanks so much for the include!

    At our house it is just my husband and I so Christmas is quite simple. We don’t buy gifts anymore. Just make some special meals, watch favorite Christmas movies and play some games. Oh, and drink some EggNog. Happy Holidays!

    • Edward, thanks to YOU for sharing your decorating tips. By the way, I left a comment on that posting but it didn’t show up. Do you think I got sent to the spam folder? Horrors! 🙂

  4. I just found your website today, and this is the first post I’ve read.

    I have a terrible cold and just can’t get everything done by Sunday (when I’m having company). Last night, I decided that having my tree up and decorated, and putting out less than half of my household decor items would be enough. It made me happy!

    I’m starting to really embrace simpler living.


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