Simplify Christmas
for more joy and less stress

We've all heard the phrase simplify Christmas but it's easier said than done, isn't it? Many people are enamored with the Christmas days of old, because of the apparent lack of stress, consumerism and spoiled kids . Most of the negative aspects of Christmas today boils down to one thing: commercialism.
We are overwhelmed with commercials on t.v. and decorations at the store telling us exactly what we need to buy our loved ones. We put ourselves in debt to buy the perfect gifts for everyone we care about. And after the orgy of present opening on Christmas morning, are our children grateful little angels? No.

If you have started to dread the holidays for these and other reasons, make a change now to simplify Christmas. Most of us feel swept into the holiday vortex with the many, many expectations and obligations of the season. Take back the control and remember that you can create a better holiday.

1. Figure out what YOU want to do this holiday season
Imagine there were no expectations placed upon you. Not one. You could do only what you choose to do this Christmas and you could eliminate everything that causes you stress. What would you want to do? Have more time for crafts or kids writing thank-you notes? What would you eliminate? Make a list of all the stress-inducing aspects of Christmas and the days leading up to it. Going to the office party? Making homemade cookies for your neighbors? Sending Christmas cards? What is keeping you from cutting out these negative things? What would happen if you just didn't do those things this year? Or some of them anyway...

2. Have a family meeting and talk to your family about their favorite parts of the holiday and what they might like to eliminate to decrease stress.
Maybe your kids don't care as much as you think about baking Christmas cookies. Or making an ornament each year. Maybe they would be devastated if you don't watch Home Alone yet again. Or maybe someone has an idea for a new tradition. You get the idea—find out what is important to them. Their answers might surprise you. Most kids would choose your time over material gifts any day.

3. Once you decide as a family the traditions you want to keep and those you want to eliminate this year, let your extended family know about any changes.
This is the hard part if your changes involve your extended family. Would you rather spend Christmas morning in your own home instead of rushing over to your in-laws? Would you rather they not send so many gifts to your kids? Do your best to gently but firmly clarify your goals to simplify Christmas and do not worry about their expectations of you. Also understand that you can't control their behavior, for example with gift giving, so state your preferences and let it go.

If you have grown unsatisfied and depressed about the prospect of Christmas, change is within your reach. Many people are making the change to simplify Christmas in their homes. If you make some new traditions in order to make peace and maintain your sanity, it might ruffle a few feathers—you know this. Keep in your sights the benefit of a holiday with less stress and obligations.

What causes YOU holiday stress?
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Go to Too Many Gifts from Simplify Christmas