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For Holiday Success – Keep It Simple Sister!

Holiday Snow

I get weary of trying to buy a million Christmas presents this time of year.  And decorating the house?  Oh, don’t get me started . . . as a mom, a business woman, a wife, a “taxi-driver” (to and from soccer games and piano lessons) . . . I just don’t have time to go all out.  But I come bearing GOOD NEWS – there is a simplicity movement afoot.  I am all for simplifying the holidays, while keeping it meaningful and fun.

I say, “Keep it simple sister” because most of the time it is the moms, the women, the wives who bother with decorating and buying gifts for the relatives and colleagues.  This article is going to be chock full of tips (10 to be exact) on how to keep it simple, yet successful – this holiday season.  Let this be my gift to you – Simplify your holiday and see how meaningful it becomes as a result.

Here are the 10 Tips:

1.  Remember the reason for the season.  Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ greatest gift to us was his love, his compassion, his mercy and grace.  If everyone who celebrated Christmas put their focus upon sharing love, compassion, mercy and grace – that would be a seriously successful holiday!  If you celebrate Hanukkah – the emphasis is upon staying in faith and seeing miraculous events unfold.  If we all kept the faith in miracles and had attitudes of expecting good things to come, that would be a seriously successful holiday.

2. Decorate in a way that is simple – no need for every square inch of your house to be lit up or covered in holiday nick nacks.  Place a few meaningful objects in places where you will see them and remember the significance of them, but don’t feel obligated to decorate the same way everyone else does.  If you don’t want to mess with a Christmas tree – don’t!  Maybe you could give your house a festive feel with a few well-placed sprigs of pine branches or a wreath that brings the scent and color of Christmas. 

I must admit, I do not know enough about decorating for Hanukkah to give specific advice here, but again, give yourself permission to keep the decorating simple yet meaningful.

3. Instead of shopping and spending truckloads of money on objects (or gift cards) your friends and family may or may not even want, try gifting them with your acts of service and kindness.

4. If you simply must buy gifts for some of your loved ones, then get organized.  Make a list of who you are shopping for, what you’ve heard them say about their needs/wants and then list one or two gift ideas for them.  Take your list wherever you go so you can shop while out and about.

5. Hand-write a lovely card explaining one or two specific chores, favors, errands you will do for the receiver.

6. Go caroling.  I miss the days when we would round up a group of friends or family and sing carols on the doorsteps of neighbors or in nursing homes.  Singing brings good cheer, creates a sense of community and blesses those on the receiving end of the singing.

7. When you begin to plan for your holiday meals, choose one or two main dishes and then only 3 side dishes (you really don’t need more than this).  List your meal ingredients – and keep your list with you so you can purchase food items as you see sale prices.

8. If you are going to have a very large gathering of people for a meal, make it a potluck.  Everyone loves a potluck and it will save you time, energy, and money.

9. If you have children, read the various Christmas stories to your kids each night for the 12 days preceding Christmas.

10. Instead of baking calorie-laden foods, make a delicious trail mix and serve it in old fashioned Mason jars or decorative tins. 

The bottom line for keeping it simple, focus less on stuff, more on people and creativity and above all, remember the spiritual and moral messages of Christmas and Hanukkah. 
Happy Holidays!

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