Simplify Strategically and Stress Less this Season

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

That’s the sound of my Christmas holiday. It was (and remains to be) very relaxing and a great opportunity to recharge. I’ve been intentional over the last decade to implement a less is more approach to many areas of my life. For many years, we opted for less house. That meant less space, yes, but also less cleaning required, less to maintain, and less space to collect “stuff”. Fewer cars meant less parking hassles, less in garage rent, and less opportunity to become a ticket magnet.

This holiday was no exception.

 

 

It’s been easier for me in recent years to resist the urge to overdo holiday madness as a single person and then married with no children for nearly 10 years. I’ve never had a tree or other holiday knick-knacks (I was either too transient or didn’t have enough storage space). My gift giving circle was fairly small and being in IT, I generally worked in very male dominated organizations. Not a lot of grab bags with my co-workers (unless I was the organizer). So, I’ve gotten off pretty easy as festivities go.

This is the first year we have a child old enough to kind of appreciate the pomp and circumstance. Sort of – he’ll be 3 soon, so it’s still new yet.

We still resisted the urge to overdo and I think the experience was just a rich without all the window dressing. We were very strategic about simplifying to avoid stress and still enjoyed the season immensely.


Decorations

I appreciate a well lit house, I do. I just am not that girl. Not yet anyway. We’ve at least decided our storage capacity can accommodate a tree and the related ornamental accoutrements. However, we postponed said purchases one more year to catch the items on sale post-Christmas and avoid any unfortunate run-ins (pun intended) with our crawling-soon-to-be-toddler.

Purchasing decorations off season is a great way to stock up without shelling out extra cash. It does require a bit of pre-planning and adequate storage space. I can be a bit of a procrastinator on non-urgent matters (okay, sometimes urgent ones too). So I’ll have to make sure I don’t let this time pass without taking full advantage.


Gift Buying

We did all of our (limited) gift buying online. I didn’t set foot in one brick and mortar store – except my favorite kiddie consignment store because they aren’t yet online. That was really winter items, not Christmas shopping at all.

We’ve even sent and received gift cards online from and to out of town relatives to make things simpler. It was nice to create a plan for gifts and then check off that task in a couple of clicks.

I tried to explain the meaning of exchanging presents to my 2-year old. While the conversation was probably in vain, I plan to be intentional about playing up the meaning behind Christmas moving forward. This year was a simple explanation and Christmas story reading time from his children’s bible.

 

Fellowship

I only attended three holiday related parties; one of which I hosted after reading a very cute idea for a Hot Cocoa bar and other inexpensive ideas for new holiday traditions. Another was an Alternative Gift Giving experience that I love and highly recommend.

Limiting the number of events on my dance card was less intentional then it was a matter of capacity. However, I’m glad we got in enough quality time. For those we missed, we still have another week of vacation time…so no worries. We’ll make the rounds as time and energy permit.

 

Holiday Meal

We’re still making improvements on our new-ish townhouse as described in A Short Sale Short Story. One improvement still in the queue is a functioning oven. To compensate, I picked up a roasted, whole chicken from the grocery store and made three (fantastic-if-I-do-say-so-myself) sides. The meal was budget friendly, satisfying, slightly reminiscent of the masterful home-cooked spreads of my youth, and did not require 24 hours of prep time to create. We ate and I still had energy left over to play with the kids. 

I’m definitely going to recreate this holiday meal plan again – working oven or not.

 

Giving Back

Giving is something that’s always been a part my world. We give financially to our local church. We volunteer our talents to support worthwhile ministries – with children in tow. Since Christmas is a special time of year, I’d like to incorporate a special time of giving. Realizing how much time and energy we save by simplifying our approach to celebrating helped me realize how much time I have to contribute to the wider community.

Next year, I’ll be looking for additional volunteer opportunities that a 2 and almost 4 year old can participate in (I know they’re pretty young still). You all hold me accountable!

I hope you enjoyed your celebration this time of the year. Since implementing a less is more approach, I find I have a more “better” time with friends and family.

Do you incorporate any special giving/volunteer time during the holidays? If so, please share below.

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