Week #1 of All Done By December One – Make a Few Lists


Photo: Nina Matthews Photography

It’s the hap-happiest time of the year–at least, that’s what the song tells us. So why has Christmas evolved into such a stressful season of spending, over-scheduling and weird expectations? My friends, let’s quietly and purposefully reverse that trend. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already taken steps to simplify your holidays. This year, let’s take it one step further by getting the extra tasks done early, so we actually have time to relax and enjoy the season.

If you’re participating in “All Done By December One,” these are some suggested things you might like to tackle during Week #1.

1. Write a list or a few sentences about the experiences that would make this Christmas season feel really special to you. What would put the joy and meaning back into your celebration? You may want to read “Your Best Holidays Ever” for some ideas, or check out my Christmas wish list.

2. Make a budget for gifts and festivities. Keep it realistic, and commit not to take on even one dollar of credit card debt this season.

3. Make a gift list. Whittle it down. Talk to your friends and family, and challenge any tradition that involves mindlessly exchanging gifts. Chances are, everyone will be in favor of having more fun and spending less on stuff. One of this blog’s most-read posts is the story about the McDonald family, who decided to drastically simplify their holidays—with very satisfying results. Check out “One Real Family’s Real Simple Christmas,” and you might be inspired to do the same.


Ahh…my favorite slippers

4. Think about you. What would you like for Christmas this year? A nice pair of cozy slippers? Chocolate-covered caramels? A new novel to read? Let’s all commit to finagling a little something special for ourselves this season, even if we have to do the buying or making. Agreed?

In the coming week, check in with our group on Lift, if you like, whenever you successfully spend ten minutes on a holiday task. Be sure to give each other props (thumbs up) while you’re there! Also, we’d all love to hear some of your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Good luck with your efforts this week, and remember—baby steps now will pay big dividends later…


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

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

Week #1 of All Done By December One – Make a Few Lists

  • Due to our financial situation over the last five years our gift-giving has dwindled greatly. Last year with the exception of something for my nieces two children we bought zero for anyone else and my husband and I did not exchange a gift between us either. While I miss the gift giving part – because I love to give, it’s all about family and food and sharing a blessed day with your loved ones. What you are doing here is wonderful Liza. Peace and blessings to you and your family.

    • Patty, thanks so much for your comment and I can so relate to your love of giving. It sounds like you are focusing on the meaning of the season, and I hope this Christmas is very special for you and your family. xoxo

  • I start a list months before Christmas. As I see things my loved ones could use I jot them down on my phone as it gets closer to autumn I go through the lists and start choosing what I will give. Many of my gifts will be handmade so I needed a bit of time to start them.

    For me, I would rather not receive gifts but my children refuse this request. They feel they need to show their love to me at this time of year but do well in choosing items I could use, and if they aren’t sure ask me what I need. Last year I needed a new staple gun and a hot glue gun. Those were the only gifts I received and it made my day.

    The best gift I can receive is having my family together and with me.

    • It’s great that you actively watch for practical gift ideas for your loved ones. Also, I bet many of us can relate to how happy we’d be with a staple gun and hot glue gun – ha! Thanks, Lois – I always enjoy your comments. xo

  • I have so much fun going through cookbooks and holiday planning books to figure out what I will try new. We have family traditions that will never change, but we do try to bring in something new each year.

  • I love #1. It is easier to create the experience you want if you take the time at the beginning to define it. And now is the time to do it, when you have enough time to implement the plan. Thanks for the encouragement.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>