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Efficient Spaces Blog, Holiday Prep

Tips to Simplify the Holidays

Christmas wreath

Do you enjoy the holidays, or do you dread them?

Is this a typical thought for you: “I’m starting to get overwhelmed already, and it’s only Thanksgiving!”

And don’t you love to hate those friends who tell you on November 15 they already have all their Christmas shopping done? It’s not even black Friday, for Pete’s sake!

What can you do about holiday overwhelm?

Learn to KISS.

No, I don’t mean not kissing under the mistletoe, I mean learn to Keep It Simple, Silly!

If you’re a fan of the ‘be calm’ sayings, the holidays are a great time to embrace the ‘be calm’ attitude!

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do everything just because the concerts, Christmas bazaars, in-person shopping, holiday parties and ALL of it is back on the menu!

From my vantage point, each aspect of Christmas can be simplified. And why not? Many other aspects of life have been scaled back. After 2 Christmases in COVID-19 isolation, be careful not to go hog wild!

If you’d like to enjoy the holidays this year instead of being stressed, KISS instead.

Simplify Shopping

Christmas presents for the holidays

After 10 years of being parents, my husband and I finally got wise. We created a simple budget, the same amount for each child’s Christmas gifts. Not only that, but we kept the budget quite low—under $50 each. Then we focused on the experiences as a family instead of the commercial aspect. Hiking into the forest and getting a tree, having a scavenger hunt Christmas day, performing a Nativity play together, and sledding & ice skating are all part of our family holiday traditions that stretch over the school break.

I’m not trying to tell you to keep your holiday budget as low as we did, merely to share the concept that once you set a realistic budget, you will avoid overspending and save time on shopping. Both staying within a budget and saving time will ease your stress at the holidays!

Another way to take the stress out of shopping is to have a list of ideas for each person on your list.

Also, shop as early as you can. I like to get most of my shopping done on black Friday weekend, and to KISS, I utilize online shopping as much as possible.

Simplify Social Engagements

Holiday concerts, parties, church events, luncheons, Holiday Bazaars, plays, and other social engagements all take up your time and can rob you of time and rest if you’re not careful.

I recommend listing all the events or social engagements you could go to and then prioritizing which ones are the most meaningful to you. Prioritizing will help you cut down the events you commit to, which will lead to peace of mind about your schedule if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remember to KISS so you have time for the important people in your life!

Simplify Decorations & Cards

family making Christmas cards

For years, I sent out over 100 cards, and used an automated card service which stressed me out and didn’t save me any time! My holiday wish for you is that you will simplify your card list to save yourself time and stress. Maybe you’ll even decide not to send cards this year, to simplify your life.

If you feel guilty when a card arrives from someone you didn’t send a card to, do what I do, and have some cards handy to fire off to them.

Simplify Food

baking Christmas cookies

To me, food is one of the best parts about Christmas! I make cookies, pies and special dishes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year’s. Food becomes a cherished family tradition.

How to simplify Holiday food prep

  • Make cookie dough the first week of December and freeze it. You can actually create dough balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick together. Genius idea I received from my sister-in-law, April!
  • Make not one, but 2 roasts at the same time. I do this because I serve pecan-encrusted pork roast, which has a time-consuming sauce. I’ll have a second roast to pop in the oven Christmas week.
  • Do anything you can ahead of time, especially dessert prep like baking the pies a day or two ahead of time. And don’t be afraid to use frozen pie crust. I do!
  • For Christmas morning or to save time at Hanukkah, try a casserole like French toast apple sausage bake, which is prepped the night before. Just pop it in the oven in the morning.
  • Enlist dinner guests to bring side-dishes to dinner!

I hope these ideas help you to simplify the holidays. I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but when you KISS, you’ll spend less time being stressed and more time having fun and creating memories!

Follow me on FB or Instagram, where I’ll share the 2 recipes I mentioned between December 13 and December 20!

(Pecan-encrusted pork roast and French toast apple sausage bake.)

holiday prepHolidayssimplify holidays

Jennifer Morin

Professional Organizer Jenny Morin works with companies and individuals to create organization and effective time management. She speaks and trains companies/teams, teaching time management and workplace organization. As an organizer, she serves business owners and homeowners. As a time management coach, she serves anyone willing to change and improve. Based in Southern Oregon: Medford, Grants Pass, and Ashland areas.

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