Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Simple Living Holiday Edition: How To De-Stress Christmas


Last year I had a wee little freak-out on Christmas day.

After months of shopping and cooking and card-writing, the actual BIG DAY was a disaster.

Everyone was in a bad mood, especially ME!

I decided that I was going to make some big changes this year and turn the whole holiday around for my family.



Here's my plan for the 2018 HOLIDAY SEASON...


1. Cut out the cards.

Every year I spend a ton of time attempting to find the perfect family photo (you know, all four of us with our eyes open...good luck with that!), and then I have to design a card, order the cards, go to the post office, stamp/address hundreds of envelopes, etc. I hate it. Cards are expensive. They are wasteful. Bottom line: WHO CARES!

They're out.

(Wheeeeee! I FEEL BETTER ALREADY!)



2. Focus on experiences, not gifts.

My kids are not little anymore. Christmas morning is a big deal when your kids are young. All those presents under the tree...their eyes light up. It's magic! And fun.

Then...your kids grow up. They want gift cards and a new iPhone.

Last year there were too many gifts and a lot of complaints, and I'm done with that.

This year, I am replacing the gifts with experiences.

Ideas:

***Attending the Nutcracker Ballet

***Glass-blowing class for the kids to make a tree ornament

***Attending the light show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

***Going to a musical performance

***Winter hike in the woods/Owl Prowl

***Make hand-made wreaths/holiday flower bouquets

***Make (and give away) Christmas cookies!

I think my family will appreciate this. We need to spend time together. That's more important than stuff.



3. New Christmas Eve tradition, inspired by Iceland.

It's called Jolabokaflod. It means Yule Book Flood. Icelanders exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading.

BE STILL MY BOOK-OBSESSED HEART!

Unfortunately, even though my husband and I adore books, my kids are less excited about them.

But, I will not be deterred!

I am going to get my son books about the environment and science and photography (his passions) and my daughter books about style and fashion and art (her passions) and my husband travel journals and books about fly-fishing (his passions), and I'll give "Santa" a list of books I'd like, too.

I think I'll add holiday books to the list as well. It's nice to collect books about Christmas/other holiday traditions.

This is just one more reason to love Iceland!



4. Establish new/old Christmas morning tradition.

When I was young, my family had a fairly formal Christmas morning breakfast. My mom set the table with her Christmas china, and we had a full breakfast and hot chocolate and Christmas candies.

It was super sweet and lovely.

My family has gotten into the unfortunate habit of attacking the tree and gifts first thing.

I don't like it.

So...it's out.

We will be reinstating the "Christmas Breakfast" tradition at our house. The kids can help. I have A LOT of Christmas dishware.

This is a more relaxed way to start the day.

Less about the stuff, more about the experience.



5. Edit the decorations/stuff.

I never saw a Christmas shop I didn't like. 

We have nutcrackers and angels and elves and snowflakes and Santas and lights and big trees and little trees.

And...cripes. It's just all too much!

So, I'm learning to "edit" with my decor. EVERYTHING does not need to be displayed every year.

(Repeat that three times and make a wish!)

Last year I chose a few select things to put out. It looked a lot better, and it was easier to clean up after Christmas.

This tip brought to you by Project Runway. EDIT EDIT EDIT!



How about all of you? What do you do to decrease your stress over the holidays?

Let's chat!

xoxoxo

Nina/Penny

6 comments:

Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com said...

we don't do cards anymore (except a couple of people) and we only do stocking stuffers with family. My husband picked out his own present and already ordered and tried it on (he was on the page on his phone and while I was working said, "This one, this is what I want." I may have rolled my eyes and told him, "just order it then ."

Penny Watson said...

I am a very practical person, I and LOVE the idea of just picking out your own present. Honestly. No waste, you get what you want. It makes a lot of sense! Whenever my family asks me what I want, I tell them I want to do a hike in the woods together. That's my favorite thing!

Julia Barrett said...

Love the suggestions! Especially the Christmas breakfast. That is one thing we always do! Plus I think little Dylan will be the only one getting presents this year. ;)

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

Sounds great! I need to edit my Christmas decorations as well.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Julia! Dylan will make out on xmas morning! Hee hee. What do you have for xmas breakfast? Any good ideas for me?

Penny Watson said...

HMCW--Last year I only put out about 1/3 of my decorations. My husband used the word "tasteful" to describe the house...first time ever! Usually, it's "Wow, we have a lot of STUFF!" I'm learning!