Sometimes it seems like the holiday season is one endless to-do list. While I love to-do lists as much as the next gal, sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the moment rather than worrying about what the next 15 moments should look like. Today, I’m sharing with you five steps I’m taking towards enjoying a simpler holiday season this year.
1. Purchase Gifts Early
I always begin Christmas shopping as soon as possible. This year, I actually began the day after Christmas LAST YEAR with all of the post-Christmas sales. Click here to read more about how and why I shop early.
I’m happy to report that my Christmas shopping is DONE! And, as an added bonus, all of the gifts are already wrapped. I’m so happy to have this checked off of my to-do list for the holiday season.
2. Tried & True Recipes & Meal Planning
If you’re like us, you host multiple holiday meals at your home. The one thing I’ve learned over the years is to only prepare dishes you know. This is not the time to try out that recipe you tore from that magazine two years ago. Trust me: I know.
When it comes to holiday meal prep, I’ve learned that simpler is better. When planning your menu, stick to dishes you’ve cooked before (whether they’re special holiday dishes or everyday staples.) If there’s a new dish you’ve been saving for Christmas, try it out a few weeks in advance. You’ll either love it and add it to your meal, or you’ll be glad you didn’t try to prepare it on a special (and busy) day.
I’ve also learned it’s best to plan your meals well in advance. I like to write out all of the events we have scheduled and then plan dishes accordingly. Having it all planned out ensures that I have all the serving dishes I need on hand for each event and that I don’t forget grocery store ingredients. I add the menu plans and grocery store list to my Christmas binder.
3. Easy Decor
I never stress about decorating my house for the holidays. I have two bins of Christmas decor in addition to what we need to decorate our Christmas tree stored in the attic. I use the same decorations each year, and I use all of our decorations each year. I love our Christmas decorations, but I’m not overwhelmed with more than I can handle; simple is best.
Plus, having all black and white Christmas decor, keeps me from over-shopping on extra things I don’t need each year. Finding black and white during a time of red and green is difficult, which makes the items I have even more special since they’re usually one of a kind.
4. Make Clean Up Easy
Let’s face it: hosting holiday parties can be messy from all the food preparing, eating and gift unwrapping. Here’s a few ways I make clean up a breeze:
- Ask guest to bring dishes. Hosting a potluck party cuts down on the number of pots and pans you’re left to clean.
- Use paper products. Simply throwing away paper plates at the end of a meal is way better than standing at the sink for hours cleaning up plates. We use paper plates, cups and napkins for large get-togethers. However, real utensils are always appreciated by guests.
- Keep large trash bags handy for unwrapping gifts. While I’m sure my cat would love endless piles of gift wrap, I’m happier trashing it as soon as possible.
5. Accept That There Will Be Stress
While the holidays are great fun, you must accept that you will experience some stress at some point. I know that we’ll hit the roads at 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve and not return home until 1 or 2 a.m. Christmas morning. I will inevitably forget something, and we will probably be late to at least one event. But, that’s ok.
One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote an article about this very thing: It’s OK if Your Holidays Aren’t Totally Stress Free and Simple.
The holidays are NOT about being perfect, they’re a time to celebrate the love of Christ and family, and that’s precisely what I intend to do this year. How do you keep your holidays simple?