Tips to Simplify Christmas without Losing the Magic is a paid collaborative post. I absolutely adore the holiday season, but not the stress of it all, so over the last few years we have worked hard at simplifying Christmas without losing the magic and the best bit is each year gets even better. So follow our tips on how to simplify Christmas and you will thank me not just now but next year too.
One of the things I love about the festive season is the Christmas traditions that we do year after year and yes I am one of those people that has a schedule and a Christmas to-do list! I try and do all the hard work before December starts so I can really enjoy any downtime and cherish celebrating. Not doing things last minute takes away most of the anxiety for me. We still decorate in late December and have lots of family traditions. Sometimes you have to pick and choose the traditions that work for your family in order to simplify Christmas and as mum it is so easy to get overwhelmed.
How to Simplify Christmas
I know that sending Christmas Cards might be old hat, but I adore sending and receiving them and they do take up a large part of my time. However, a little extra investment this year, means that in all the coming years your cards will be super simple to send. I also like to send e-cards to people that I work with and then give a donation to charity for what I would have spent on physical cards. I send my ecards using Gmass Gmail mail merge.
We make most of the Christmas cards that we send. I have a real passion for homemade and crafting. However, as the GoogleMail mail merges, I have a mail merge set up for all my addresses, so I can print them onto labels and stick them onto the envelopes. It took me a little longer than writing the envelopes the first year I did it, but then in subsequent years saved so much time. I still handwrite each card, however, you could always get a personalised stamp from Stamptastic.
We only give to immediate family members, not any extended family. When we had children we made an agreement with my Brother and BIL that we wouldn’t buy for each other, just the children in the family. This really simplified Christmas for us and it also meant that we could concentrate on getting the perfect gift for each recipient. We also buy a Christmas gift for Grandparents. Now as my Nieces are older they really just want gift cards or cold hard cash!
The husbeast participates in a secret Santa gift exchange with his coworkers but it has a strict price limit and comes with no obligation to partake.
As we buy fewer gifts I can concentrate on gift wrapping and make our own wrapping paper. When it comes to what to buy, the boys have always been encouraged to write a Christmas letter (following our rules) to Father Christmas with a wish list of ideas for gifts. If you are looking for gift ideas then I have some fantastic gift guides is you are looking for inspiration. I do have a family gift spreadsheet with the costs on, just so I can make sure the budget is kept too.
Keep A Family Calendar
For me December is all about Advent and the lead-up to Christmas but it needs to be as stress-free as possible at home, especially when you have younger children as the Christmas season at school is filled with activities and commitments such as The Nativity, Carol Concerts and Kids School Holiday Party.
I used to share the responsibility for this with other members of the family. You really do not have to do it all yourself.
For us, if there ever was a time to take shortcuts with food then it is Christmas Day, who wants to spend the day in the kitchen when there is so much fun and family time to be had? If you can get your groceries delivered then go for it. In our home, the husband cooks and does the food shopping and I make sure that there is plenty of room in the freezer for him. If you are having guests over then p[lan the menu early and get everyone to contribute to the food.
Did you know that Hello Fresh does a Christmas Box? I didn’t, but think it is a great idea. If the boys weren’t so fond of leftovers we would even consider eating out. You do not have to have a traditional Christmas dinner, this day is all about your family, so if you want lasagne or a BBQ, then go for it.
We have learned to simplify the decorations by making sure they are packed away correctly. There is nothing worse than tangled Christmas lights and broken baubles. I think that simplicity is perfect when it comes to decorating. We always use the same decorations and never worry about colour coordinating or changing them each year.
In fact one year we just used a simple potted Christmas tree and then added homemade decorations we made over December. I love the scandi way of bringing lots of greenery into their home at this time of year.
We always used to have a good clear out in November and gift any unused toys to the charity shop. I do love a good pre-Christmas declutter,
Sometimes family traditions just add to the stress and pressure of December. Elf on the Shelf can be one of those things. You need to do what works for you and know that if you start something then in can be hard to stop. My best friend makes a gingerbread house each December and her kids adore decorating it, but she also would be happy to buy one if it made her life easier. She makes a mean gingerbread, so we do swaps. I make the peppermint bark and she makes the Christmas cookies.
This year I have created a self-care advent calendar to help ensure that we all focus on ourselves a little during this busy time and help simplify Christmas.