Hi Everyone! Happy American Thanksgiving! With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share a few tips on how to have a simpler holiday season. Sometimes we can miss out on the meaning of the season when we are rushing around trying to do everything. I prefer a 'slow' holiday. This is how I achieve it.
1.) Plan ahead. If you need to save up for your Christmas purchases, start early. If you have people on your list that you can pick things up for throughout the year, do it. Sit down with your family and discuss your expectations for the holiday season before saying yes to anything. A little planning goes a long way. We need to be intentional about our holiday season and how we want to spend it.
For example, our baby is due 3 days before Christmas. I did my Christmas shopping for my daughter in August. We stick to basic gifts and I already knew what we wanted to give her so I went ahead and got that part of my shopping done. We also made a "no plans" rule for December because we can't be sure of when Baby will arrive or how I will be feeling. Our families are both aware of this and are very understanding. I said no to Miss. E performing in her Christmas concert as it falls just a few days before my due date. I also said no to my staff Christmas party. All of this planning ahead will help to keep our holiday season quiet, which we may need more than we know!
2.) Cut back. This is a tough one. I know. We like to go all out at Christmas time, but in doing so we often break the bank and burn ourselves out. For a lot of our family and friends, this past year was a nice step in the right direction for economic recovery. Our local economy is slowly turning around and people are working again. It has by no means been a lucrative year for most people that I know. There is no shame in cutting back. In my family, we have cut out all gift giving between the adults and we focus on buying only for the kids. We have decided with friends to only gift on birthdays, rather than at Christmas. We also spend less on the gifts that we do purchase. Giving is a wonderful thing, but only if you aren't putting yourself at financial peril to do so.
I have also cut back on commitments this year. Our situation is a little different than most people's so my cut backs have been far more severe than they would be normally. We switch the holidays between my family and my husband's family every year. I always mind my calendar to make sure that we are still carving out time to just be at home and get our housework done. I make sure not to schedule anything on work nights so that everyone has enough sleep. If we say yes we truly weigh the consequences and what we may have to give up in order to commit.
3.) Give back. This time of year can be really tough on the less fortunate. It means a lot when we can give back to those around us. This can be done financially or through volunteering. I like to support my local food bank, especially since it's usage is up and donations are down. Homeless shelters are vital at this time of year to help shield people from the frigid elements. If you are able to help financially, please consider doing so. If you are able to help an organization with the gift of your time, please do that. Christ calls us to take care of one another. Let's make sure we heed the call at this special time of year.
What are your tips for having a simple holiday season?