How to Simplify the Holidays

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Did you sing that? You should have.  Singing it immediately puts me into the holiday spirit.

I know, I can hardly believe it is already the holidays, but it is.

Do you ever feel exhausted and overwhelmed during and after the holidays?

Do you resent making cookies?

Then don’t.

Do you hate spending time and money figuring out and sending Christmas cards?

Then don’t.

Make this the year you take back Christmas (reference to Bad Moms 2= hilarious)

Last time I checked, Christmas was about celebrating Christ’s birth (even though he wasn’t born in December but off topic)

Don’t let the “I should’s” take control this Christmas.

Who cares what you should do? And seriously who says you should?

simplify the holidays

I am giving you permission to say NO.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can say no to everything because if you have kids, there are probably some things they want to do that you may not be interested in. There are times we have to sacrifice for our kids, but along with that, kids don’t need to get everything they want.

I’m betting as a kid you didn’t get to do everything you wanted either. Remember we’re raising kids who know disappointment and know how to deal with it.

You can simplify the holidays and it’s quite simple.

This year we have decided to take a more purposeful approach to the holidays.

Usually, the holidays just happen to us, and that can be exhausting and overwhelming.

Not this year.

The other day I told everyone in the family to start thinking about the things that are most important to them to do during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. I said we would start generating a list of the must-do’s the next day. A simple way to simplify the holidays.

Then the next morning at breakfast we got out a piece of paper and start jotting down the things everyone had on their list.

making the list
Generating our must do list for the holidays

Cassidy insisted that we absolutely must snuggle on the couch as a family and read books. Amelia followed that up with “do fun things with you guys.” The next item on Amelia’s list was to snuggle with Grandma and Papa. Cassidy also insisted on snuggling and watching a movie.

The list seemed completely doable to me.

A lot of snuggling with my family and relaxing – my kind of holiday.

This should be interesting to see how the responses change as the girls get older.

We did end up coming up with some other non-negotiables:

  • I want to bake cookies.

cookie decorating

  • Brian wants to sample cookies.
  • Christmas cards, because I love to send and receive them.
  • The girls and I want to drive around and look at Christmas lights (including the house you have to wait 30-60 minutes to see—yes it’s worth it). Brian doesn’t want to because he doesn’t think it’s worth it.
  • The girls want to see Santa.

visiting santa

There will be events and opportunities that come up that we can partake in, but we will not feel obligated to go them.

By having the kids list what was important to them I won’t feel pressured to make sure we make it to everything else. If time and stress level allows we will do more, but as long as we do what’s on our list that is what matters most.

In addition to figuring out what the most important things to do during the holidays, we also are going to purposeful in what we schedule. We want to spend time with family both of our extended families and our immediate family at home relaxing together (Brian is taking extended time off!).

If you want to simplify the holidays, you need to take charge now.

You must decide to let some things go. You need to decide what is most important.

If you don’t, you’ll be sitting down on January 1 wondering what happened for the last five weeks.


If you haven’t read, “For the Kids or is It,” it’s a great read as you prepare for the holidays and evaluate what activities you are doing and why?

How will you simplify the holidays?

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