It’s that time of year – lots of activities, events, and to-dos. Instead of trying to do everything, be intentional this year and slow down and savor the season and enjoy it fully instead of moving through it at break-neck speed. I hate getting to December 26th and wondering where the last two months disappeared to. I have a handful of ways that I simplify things during the holidays and while I haven’t done all of them forever, I’ve added them little by little and feel like we have a simple and sweet December because of some planning and intention.

  1. ORDER + SEND CARDS EARLY – we used to take family pictures around Thanksgiving for our Christmas cards. Most years I would wait until it was snowing and then try to get everyone out in the snow to get the ‘perfect’ picture. A couple years ago I scheduled to have our pictures taken in early October and I’ve never looked back. I place our order early, have them shipped to us asap and try to have them all set to mail out by December 1st. I use Minted for the cards – I have our address book saved to their website and have the addresses printed too. I used to make all the cards by hand and hand-letter, draw, assemble everything. I loved doing this but it definitely added a degree of complexity and stress to the card sending process.
  2. KEEP DECORATIONS TO A MINIMUM – less is more when it comes to decorating. I love decorating for Christmas but after a few weeks it starts to feel like too much. By putting up favorites and keeping the decor simple, it’s easier to put up and simple to take down and put away. Think of adding decoration simply and with meaning. Tuck them in with your decor and look for ways to add decor that will last through winter and not just December 26th.
  3. ADD SOFT LAYERS – decorative throw blankets, pillows, linens, and greens all give a cozy look and feel to your home. I love using these simple additions to make the house feel warm and cozy. Keep the color scheme neutral and you can keep the decor up into late winter.
  4. MENU PLAN – I always menu plan but in December it really comes in handy. I do more cook once, eat twice meals and I make ahead quite a few meals for the freezer. I have lots of posts on menu planning – go here to see them.
  5. ADD COZY SPOTS – we have a bin of Christmas books that gets stored every year with the Christmas decorations. I put the books in a basket by the tree to encourage the kids to sit by the tree and read books. It works – every day I find them under or near the tree reading.
  6. BE SELECTIVE ABOUT ACTIVITIES – choose just the favorites and necessities for the holiday season. As tempting as it is to do everything, keep it simple and pare things down to the favorites. Love your town’s tree lighting ceremony? Keep that and a couple other musts. Say maybe to some and no to others. Grab this free prioritizing to do list to make it even easier. It’s okay to simplify!
  7. ENGAGE THE SENSES – sight, taste, smell, sound, touch – by engaging your senses you’re going to enhance the experience of the season and keep those memories alive. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ways to enhance the season through this series – stay tuned.
  8. SLOW DOWN – if it has you running around, it’s probably not going to simplify things. Relax and enjoy the season for what it is, don’t try to fill it up more than is necessary.
  9. KEEP GIFTS SIMPLE – shop early, buy less, and keep gifts meaningful. I try to have most of my shopping done by Cyber Monday – this helps me get the best prices and gives me a good goal. I don’t add ribbon to presents and I color code wrapping paper for different places we’re going.

What’s your best tip for simplifying the holidays? If you can’t implement all these ideas this year, file this post and ideas away for next year!

This post is part of a series all about slowing down and savoring the season, SIMPLY COZY. Go here to see all the posts.