Make LESS mean MORE this Christmas

A happy holiday season does NOT have to mean an overdone XMAS extravaganza at your house.

Has the essence of Christmas lost its flavour?  

I personally know of 3 families who aren’t “celebrating”, and not because of religious reasons either, it’ll be just another Wednesday with lunch and television… no turkey, no huge meal, no going overboard with the extra food that wouldn’t normally be eaten, no extra alcohol. 

There’s a leaning towards ignoring the commercialism and getting back to the feeling of goodwill to all men, the birth of Christ, the story behind the Nativity and truly reconnecting with family members who have mutual feelings.

I was talking with my team about this just the other day. Not gifting at Christmas is becoming more and more popular as folks struggle to focus more on their families than “things”.

Is it possible that less can mean more?

The signs of Christmas are everywhere. All the shops are full of sparkly, houses are covered in Christmas lights, and the telly and the airwaves are filled with ads featuring the holiday’s hottest new gadgets and special Christmas sales.

You know exactly what I mean overachievers. Every single space decorated and cleaned with a toothbrush, every possible holiday tradition upheld, every corner of your space filled to the gills with Santa and Rudolph and reindeer and stuff, a full spread for holiday dinner with a Turkey and all the trimmings and even more trimmings after that, hand made Mince Pies with all the flair of a master chef… and on and on… and on.

Whoa there! I got tired just typing that.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Simple and understated can mean classy and stress free.

Give up the “over” decorating.

christmas-1867048_960_720Monochromatic decorations can be simple and elegant. Sometimes “too much” is overwhelming for you, the decorator, and your guests, the unwilling victims.

You don’t need twenty strands of twinkle lights when one strand of elegant white lights would do.

When we try to strive for the “Perfect Christmas” things can go horribly wrong and come out garish. Not only will it look like you’re trying too hard, you’ll be exhausted to boot.

There is no prize for the most lights put on a house in your neighborhood. (If there is, unless there’s a financial award, it’s not worth it.)

Simple. Elegant. Warm. Channel these ideas into your decorating mojo and you’ll be on the right track.

Focus more on Being than Doing.

black-familyYou dread heading out to the mall to get the last minute present for your Cousin’s Sister’s Dog’s Aunt’ Teacher that you just HAVE to buy a gift for. Do you? Do you really?

We go to The Nutcracker every year – so what if the kids loathe it? It’s TRADITION.

You feel obligated to attend every single party that you’ve been invited to because… well it’s RUDE not to go.

Let some traditions slide. Try something new. 

Don’t fall for the pressure. The pressure to keep up with everyone else and every thing you see on Pinterest. Perhaps a nice card or handmade ornament would do instead of a gift? You’re not a Scrooge if you limit your list this year. You are NOT required to be every person’s Secret Santa. Promise.

Look at your exaggerated, inflated Christmas to-do list. Stop trying to be all things to all people. It’s not your job. It’s okay to stick with family and close friends. Prioritizing will make your holiday so much happier. Think of it as a Crimbo gift to yourself.

Stop the Holiday House Insanity

christmas-1100723_960_720Remember… you want to TIDY your house for the holidays, not turn it into a showroom. Stop trying to do too much in too little time.

Each chore (above your normal chore list) should take a half-hour, anything else is TOO much.

We watch Christmas specials or remember celebrating with family as children and then put pressure on ourselves to recreate that same experience, but, often, that’s simply not a reality.

Sometimes we think this should be a perfect time when our house will be sparkling and breathtaking and inviting. But when our realities don’t match that, we get frustrated.

The holidays can also be a time where we’re reminded of what we don’t have and it seems that every thing in your house that you want fixed or updated just glares at you as a constant reminder.

Stop that. Stop it right now! Other people don’t notice the ‘flaws’ you see. They want to see you and spend time with you… not inspect the cat claw marks in your furniture that no one can see besides you anyway.

Cook Smart.

It’s that time of year again. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to thinking about what you’re serving for your Holiday feast!

Whether you stick with the traditional holiday fare or have a vegetarian you need to cook for or want to spice it up this year… I found some amazing holiday recipes that will have your guests loving every bite! 

Angie’s Holiday Cooking Tips

The two weeks prior to the holiday double every dinner… then freeze half. Voila! Instant home cooked meals for Holiday visitors. Smart right?

Buy as much pre-made as you can (your guests don’t have to know). Going to wholesale food suppliers or getting things already made from your favorite store saves time and stress. You can even get pre-made cookie cutouts to save you from the floury mess and stress.

You don’t have to have every single little thing to have a great meal. Take notice of what people really like eat in your house and make that. Save Aunt Mildred’s ‘special’ fruitcake for another occasion.

Let the arguments go.

We all have them. The members of our family that like to “discuss” current events. Maybe it’s your cousin Bobby who is frantic about Brexit. Perhaps you have an outspoken Trump supporter in your extended family (I’m sorry if you do.). Maybe you have an uncle who likes to get a bit ‘loud’ after having one too many Hot Toddies.

Whatever the circumstance, don’t allow it in your home. Make the ground rules clear. This is your home and what you say goes. Whether it’s “NO politics” or “NO arguing” or “Agree to respectfully disagree”… you’re the hostess with the mostest and you get to set the rules.

Practice conflict resolution techniques and maintain a positive attitude. Allow all to save face gracefully by learning how to diffuse the situation and you’ll have a less hostile holiday.

Sometimes, less can mean more.

Less stress. Less waste. Less commercialism. More quality time. More engagement. Less focus on material things.

What do you think? Do you think it works like that? Could you go pressie free? Is it possible to decrease the stress and increase the joy just by changing a few things?

I’d love to hear some of your ideas for a less stressful holiday season…  hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Let’s talk about it!