It is so easy to go overboard during the holidays, especially when it comes to gift giving and making commitments that we don’t really want to do. We spend so much time, energy and money looking for the perfect gifts that we are often left feeling exhausted and stressed. Christmas is a time that you should relax and spend with your loved ones. Here are some tips to help you relax and have a merry, minimalistic Christmas.
Give less presents
I have been known to go overboard on gift giving for my kids. I want to get them everything that they want and ask for, then we’re left with a house full of toys that they only play with for maybe a few weeks. Starting last year, we followed a new rule, it even has a cute rhyme to help you remember:
Something you want, something you need, something you wear and something to read.
The “want” gift gives you the chance to really connect with your kids and show them that you’re listening. It gives you a great opportunity to pick out a gift that connects with your child instead of all the hottest toys for the year. You will also be able to avoid gift disappointment because you know that it is something they will really love.
With “something you need” I usually get my kids an educational toy. Right now, they’re young enough that they don’t really need anything other than food and clothes. You can get them new bedding sets and give their room a makeover or buy them that nice pair of shoes that they’ve been begging you for the past three months.
Something you wear is self-explanatory, I buy my kids a nice outfit on top of their pajamas that they get on Christmas Eve. Dress up clothes are also a good suggestion. Hey, you could even get them those new shoes for this category as well if you’re filled up your something you need spot.
Something you read is one of my favorite categories. Reading has always been a huge part of my life and is something that I love to share with my kids. This year I found a personalized book for siblings where they go on different adventures. I have also been guilty of buying more than one book, because books are very loved in our house.
Focus more on experiences rather than presents
If you ask my five-year-old what he got for Christmas last year he would tell you all about his telescope, his grandpa coming to visit and our Disney World trip. We gifted the kids with a trip to Disney World, rather than buying a bunch of gifts. My mom also bought them a membership to the zoo where we lived in North Carolina. The beautiful thing about giving experiences is that they can hold on to those memories for a lifetime.
You don’t have to do things that you don’t want to
One of my favorite holiday traditions is making and decorating cookies, but I found myself dreading all the prep work and time I had to put into baking and decorating every year, so I decided to skip it. I felt a little guilty at first, because I really wanted to share that tradition with my kids, but I realized that we could make a whole new set of traditions and that I can pick back up with the cookie baking in a few years when my kids are older.
If it’s important to you, but you can’t seem to find the time or energy then it’s okay to skip. You don’t have to continue doing things just because they’re tradition. Figure out the traditions that you love that don’t make you exhausted and dread the holiday season. You should give yourself an opportunity to relax and enjoy the holidays; not get stressed out over fulfilling obligations that are causing you more stress than joy.
I hope that some of these ideas help you have a simpler Christmas that you can enjoy with loved ones. I’m still practicing how to have a minimalistic Christmas myself, but these have helped me start to figure it out. I hope you have a happy, relaxed holiday.