General Organizing | Holidays | Living Simply

Tips To Make the Holidays Simpler

Dec 03

About Me

I’m a West Coast girl turned small town, Midwest Mom. I love the outdoors, cooking, writing, and spending time with my family. I am dedicated to keeping my life as simple as possible.

With a B.A. degree in Psychology, I have several years experience working with families and seniors. I believe in a holistic view to organizing. Clearing our minds of the clutter and chaos in our lives is just as important as clearing our physical clutter. By taking a holistic approach to organizing, we can make lasting change.

I am a high energy person, and love to see a messy room transform into an organized space. My need for order and simplicity stems from my ADHD disability as a way to compensate for my short attention span. So my gifts and my challenges are all ironically tied together to create who I am, and I am miraculously able to help others as a result of this coping method that I have developed for myself.

It is my deepest hope that you will find resources here that will bring you closer to living a simpler, more intentional, and more peaceful life. 


With the holidays quickly approaching, it is the perfect time to consider how we can shop, live and entertain more simply with less stress. 

Between the shopping, the baking, the card-sending, the parties, the decorating, and more, the holidays can go from merry and magical to chaotic and crazy quite fast. And if you are hosting, there is cooking, grocery shopping and house cleaning to think about too.

The following are some suggestions for making the holidays simpler and for keeping your priorities in check in regard to what really matters: 

Consider Keeping Decorations Simple

If you love to decorate for the holidays, have the time to do it, and enjoy the process, then go ahead and decorate to your heart’s desire.  

But if it causes you stress because it takes more time than what you have, consider scaling back and keeping your décor simple. Resist the temptation to compete with the neighbors or impress your guests with over-the-top decorating.  

You also don’t have to use every single item you used last year. Consider displaying only your favorites. Exclude things that have lost their shine over the years and consider donating them.

Our homes can be beautiful and festive with a limited selection of simple but elegant décor. And it is actually possible to go overboard with indoor decorations to the point that your home starts to look cluttered. So once again, more is not always better.

Focus instead on creating meaningful memories with family and friends. Your guests want this more than they will want to be impressed by how much you have decorated your home.  

Holiday Family Memories

Let Go of Idealistic Expectations 

Don’t let perfectionism get the best of you. It is so easy to get carried away and put unrealistic demands on yourself to ensure that everything is perfect. 

Use caution not to get carried away with too many Pinterest ideas. This can take you into exhausting territory if you are inspired to take on too many activities and projects. The ideas are unlimited, but your time is not. 

Let go and decide that it is ok if everything does not meet the perfect picture of Christmas that you have envisioned.  This is especially challenging for us perfectionists.

Trim Your To-Do List

Take a look at your to-do list and decide which items are most important. See what you can either simplify or just remove from the list altogether. Also, consider if there are any tasks that you can delegate to other family members. 

What corners can you cut to make things easier for yourself?

Can you bake/cook some things from scratch but then purchase others to lighten the load? My sister-in-law used to do this, she would buy part of the meal and make some of it by scratch and nobody cared because it was all delicious.  

Consider using paper plates instead of china to cut down on work on Christmas day. If you don’t like to send out holiday cards, either stop doing them or cut down on how many you send.  

If your calendar is chock full of holiday activities, events, and parties to go to, can you limit which ones you decide to attend? Choose the ones that are the most important and/or appealing and skip the others.   

Evaluate Your Traditions 

Family traditions are a good thing, and my children still look forward to them even as they are growing into adults. But it is okay not to continue them if they cause more work and stress than they are worth. 

See if there are any that might be either simplified or stopped completely. Are there any that are not appreciated like they used to be in the past?

Do not keep up with traditions that you don’t enjoy simply out of guilt. If your children are young, be careful not to introduce traditions that will be difficult to follow through with year after year. Simple traditions can be just as special as those that require a lot of work.

Simplify Shopping & Gift Buying

I am a big fan of purchasing gift cards. For one thing, I love to receive them myself. Not only are they clutter-free, but they are easy to buy and nearly always appreciated by the receiver.  Gift certificates for experiences like movie tickets are also easy to order and won’t add to household clutter.

Yes, they are a bit less personal, but unless you happen to have the perfect give in mind for someone, they are usually a better alternative to racking your brain over what to buy someone who seemingly already has everything.

Limit the number of gifts you buy for family members; it is not hard to go overboard with this. Ever find yourself buying more gifts than you planned because you accidentally bought one too many for one of your kids and now you have to even up the gifts? Me too.

Be sure to keep all of your already purchased gifts together in the same spot (like a closet shelf designated for gifts) so that you can easily find them and stay on top of what you have purchased.

This way you are less likely to forget what you have, and buy too much.

If you have a large family, consider drawing names for gift exchanging if you don’t already do so.

Let Others Lighten the Load  

Accept help from others when they offer, and resist being the martyr by trying to go it all yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. 

Can you give yourself a break and pay someone for services like cleaning your house before hosting a holiday party? 

Allow your guests to bring dishes that you don’t want to mess with, etc. If you usually provide most of the meal, consider going potluck style instead. 

And one more thing…do this guilt-free.

Focus More on Memories and Meaningfulness

Focus less on everything else. By keeping your priorities in check, you will automatically be turning your attention to the things that really matter and away from the more superfluous things that overall matter less. 

The time spent with family and friends, the memories we make and the meaningfulness of the holiday itself is more important than cooking a laborious, elaborate meal and fussing over a crazy amount of holiday decorations.

Take Time to Declutter

If time permits, go through your home and declutter and donate the stuff your family no longer uses, because more stuff will soon be arriving on Christmas morning. Have your children do the same thing with their toys and other belongings. 

It is better to do this early, because your schedule will likely get busier as the holidays get nearer.

By doing this, you will avoid the frustration of feeling overwhelmed with the amount of stuff in your home after the holidays have come and gone.  

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