How to Simplify the Holiday Season

The holiday season is suppose to bring joy, peace, and gratitude for our family, our homes, and our friends. This is the ideal situation.

But for most people the reality is far from the ideal. With the economy the way it is many are struggling just to keep a roof over their head. Others are living in a chaotic mess both figuratively and literally.

So how do we find joy, peace, and gratitude in our lives? One way is to step back and take a good look at our surroundings and learn to simplify. There are areas of your life you can’t change at the moment but there are plenty that you can change. Many are small changes you can do that will help you move closer to the true meaning of this holiday season.

Here are some suggestions.

Holiday Decorations:

Do you look forward to unpacking boxes and boxes and boxes of decorations or are you feeling overwhelmed and dreading it? If you love it, then go for it! But if you are dreading all the work and time then take a few moments to think about why you do something you don’t enjoy.

Maybe this is the year to only take out a few favorite decorations and leave the rest packed up. Would the lack of massive decorations kill the spirit of the holiday for you? Probably not. Fewer decorations (and work) just may help your home look and feel more peaceful.

Presents: clip_image001

When it comes to the economy some are feeling it worse than others. However, we all want the most for our money. But this time of year we sometimes forget that it is the thought that counts and not how much we spend or how many gifts we give or receive.

You can reduce the stress (and clutter) by cutting back on your gift giving to family and friends. At the same time you may want to give more to those less fortunate.

Many local charities have a list of items that some of the neediest families in your home town need. Some charities have you pick a family (anonymously) and purchase some or all the things on their list. This could be the groceries needed for a holiday dinner or clothes such as a robe or slippers or even a winter coat. Get your children involved in the shopping and help them realize how important it is to help others. This helps you and your family put gratitude back into the season.

Holiday Meals:

We all have special foods we expect each year. It’s also fun to try new recipes. If you do all the planning, preparing, and cooking for the big family celebrations it may be time to let others help out.

Have different family members or friends who come to your home also bring a part of the meal. Don’t be afraid to ask. Most people would be honored if asked to bring a special dish. When everyone contributes to the meal they each get a chance to be complimented on their dish. They are no longer just a guest but part of the inner circle.

When everyone helps out it takes a lot of work and stress off of the main hostess. This helps put joy back in the season for everyone, not just the guests.

Small changes can add up. Don’t try to do it all, buy it all, or cook it all. This is the time where less really can be more – more joy, more peace, more gratitude.

Please share any ideas you may have in the comment section. Thanks.