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9 Ways to Enjoy a Happy Simple Holiday Season

Peaceful church
Photo: ForestWander.com

After I wrote about how to enjoy a more peaceful holiday season, several of you shared your stories about simplifying which I love hearing:

“Last year, I decided not to put out the 85-piece snow village,” writes Lauren F. “Instead, I arranged some candles and fresh pine boughs on the credenza. My family hardly noticed!”

“Money’s tight, so I bought everyone on my gift list a used book last Christmas,” Mindy A writes. “I stayed within my budget, and everyone was excited to have a new book to read.”

“My best friend and I decided to stop exchanging Christmas presents and do something together instead,” writes Ellen M. “Last year we took our daughters to see the Nutcracker Ballet, and it was such a festive, memorable evening.”

Here are some ideas for ways to truly enjoy this special season:

1.   Spend time outside. Enjoy the beauty of winter’s quiet rest. When I am outdoors, I notice how much easier it is to forget about troubles and feel grateful for simple things like the Canadian geese flying overhead or a pair of squirrels scrambling up a tree.

winter sunset
Photo: Bert Kaufmann

2. Make a commitment not to incur any holiday debt. Make a budget, and explore creative ways to enjoy the season without spending too much.

3.  Rethink and retool traditions, especially those that add stress to your life or involve a lot of work. This year, one group of girlfriends decided to forgo individual gifts and instead have a simple exchange where we each give away our favorite book we read this year.

Photo: Susanne Nilsson
Photo: Susanne Nilsson

4.  Don’t put out every decoration. Perhaps this year you could honor your most special pieces in simple arrangements. If you don’t miss certain decorations, this might be the year to give some holiday stuff away.

5.  Make a holiday To Do list, and save it on your computer for future reference. Tackle as many tasks and errands early as you can. Whittle that list down a little bit every year.

6.  Perhaps some of your friends and family members would be interested in giving fewer gifts and sharing experiences where you have fun together instead.

7.  Celebrate the spiritual side of the holiday season. Perhaps you’d like to read a special scripture or story together as a family. (My mom and I are reading The Greatest Gift during Advent.) Or set aside a little quiet time so that you can think and pray and meditate. Perhaps your heart is to help those who might need a little extra this season.

8.  Allow for down time. Watch a family holiday movie in your pajamas. Play a board game. Sit by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate. Enjoy a leisurely walk.

9. Do a little less. Commit to fewer holiday parties, events and obligations. Cut back a few tasks here and there.

Block out some unstructured time for YOU, when you can simply relax.

"Do we have to go to the Ugly Sweater party?"
“Do we have to go to the Christmas Sweater party?”

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? I always love hearing from you, so drop a comment below!

Here’s to a joyous, peaceful holiday season filled with love, laughter, and the things that really matter.

P.S. For more ideas, I have a Happy Holidays Pinterest Board with natural decorations, easy recipes and homemade gifts. I welcome your suggestions for this board.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

2 thoughts on “9 Ways to Enjoy a Happy Simple Holiday Season”

  1. Every year, I’ve been downsizing the holidays. It started during hard times and we found that we still had a beautiful Christmas. I’ve learned the hard way back when I was young, about Christmas and debt and not living within our means.

    I’m older and wiser now! Great post!

    • Debby, I appreciate your candor and those tough holiday money lessons you learned. I love hearing that you have a beautiful Christmas now and honor your hard-earned wisdom. Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts, and Merry Christmas! xo ~Eliza


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