7 Ways to Simplify the Holidays

7 Ways to Simplify the Holidays | #simpleChristmas #simpleholidays #simplifyChristmas #simplifyholidays #simplifytheholidays


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Dear friends,

Here we are, almost midway through October! How did this happen? Before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here.

What if this holiday season was your best ever?

What if this was the year that you simplified, cut back some things, didn’t overspend, committed to fewer events, had some precious unscheduled days and nights, and enjoyed a more peaceful, meaningful Advent?

Here are 7 ideas that might help you create a more relaxing holiday season:

1. Start earlier. Some years I’ve tried to cram so much into December that I end up being tired and rundown on Christmas morning. I never regret getting an earlier start and tackling some of the extra tasks before the season begins.

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2. Make a budget. Figure out what you want to spend, and make a commitment not to take on even one dollar of credit card debt. Cut back, simplify, and explore creative ways to enjoy the season without spending too much.

3. Set price limits on family gifts. In our extended family, the limit for adults is $25. Homemade gifts, regifts and used items are all enthusiastically enjoyed. Constraints encourage creativity!

4. Go easy with kids’ gifts. I like this saying:  “Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.” Too often, the combined number of gifts from loved ones is overwhelming for children (and adults, too). A few special presents will keep expectations reasonable and help avoid Christmas day meltdowns.


Red birdfeeder in snow


5. Potluck it. When people offer to bring food and help, graciously accept. Enjoy opportunities to be together without the need for everything to be perfect.

6. Share experiences instead of gifts.  Most people already have plenty of stuff. If you’re part of a group that traditionally exchanges gifts, why not suggest doing something fun instead? You may find that others share your desire to cut back.

7. Give consumable gifts. Sometimes in our zeal to be creative, we end up adding unnecessary pressure and stress. Might your loved one enjoy a gift card, or a pretty potted rosemary tree, or an amaryllis bulb that can be regrown every year, or a pound of freshly-ground coffee, or a bag with all the makings for a nice dinner? Or some good old cash? I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like cash.

How About You?

Do you have any suggestions to add to my list? I always love hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

Here’s to a simple, unhurried holiday season for all of us.

Best always,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Sign up for All Done By December One now and pay only $5.00!

7 Ways to Enjoy a Simple Holiday Season | #simpleholidays #simplifyholidays #simpleChristmas #simplifyChristmas #stressfreeholidays

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.

4 thoughts on “7 Ways to Simplify the Holidays”

  1. I have had really great responses from gifts that help others. Especially farm animals! There are so many affordable prices and I like to get creative with a card that explains how it will help so many people. https://donate.worldvision.org/gift-catalog/animals

    • What a beautiful idea, Elaine. I love that the animals help produce income for the families, so your gift helps long term. Thanks for the link to World Vision. xoxo

  2. My favourite suggestion of yours is sharing experiences instead of gifts. We don’t need extra clutter in our houses, specially if it’s something we don’t need 🙂

  3. You have lots of great ideas here! We have come to the point where we don’t really exchange gifts at Christmas, but rather place the focus on the individual family member’s birthday. Even then, we take care with the gift that we give, and finding out what they could really use. Since I use therapeutic grade essential oils, that is what we give our grown children and their spouses. The grandchildren get a gift that their parents “approve”!
    All of our children and grandchildren were here for Canadian Thanksgiving just over a week ago. WE MADE MEMORIES!!! We all hiked in to a favorite, remote waterfall campsite and enjoyed a wiener roast, photos, & great family times. Later that evening, we built a campfire in our back yard to visit around. Sunday was a day of cooking the 35lb. turkey, pies, and other delicious food! This was my “Christmas” this year as it will just be my husband and I together on December 25th, and I loved every minute of it! No gifts were exchanged 🙂


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