Creating a Life Free From Chaos

7 Ways to Simplify Christmas This Year

7 Ways to Simplify Christmas This YearThe holiday season is upon us! Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to get in the spirit of Christmas! The holidays are a lot more fun and a lot less stressful with a little planning and the intention to keep things simple. Here are seven ideas for simplifying Christmas and enjoying this month of celebration.

Create a holiday notebook

Photocopy your favorite holiday recipes and keep them together in a notebook, so you don’t have to scramble each year looking for those special family dishes. You can also keep a copy of your gift list in your notebook, as well as to-do lists, directions to holiday parties, and your plans for cookie swaps and homemade gift-making.

Christmas Simplicity Tip: Photocopy your favorite holiday recipes and keep them together in a notebook so you don't scramble for them later. Click To Tweet

Create a gift spreadsheet

One of my lifesavers is a spreadsheet I use every year to track and organize my gifts. I create a new worksheet each year (all in the same document), and I list who I want to get gifts for down the left side. I have columns across the top for my budget, what to give, whether I’ve bought/ordered/made it, how much it actually cost, whether it’s been wrapped or shipped, and a space to write notes to myself. The budget and actual cost columns add themselves up automatically using the SUM function, so I can always glance down and see how I’m doing. I’ve been doing this since 2003, so I can look back and see what I got someone for the last several years, ensuring I don’t duplicate myself! You can download my spreadsheet right here!

Keep your calendar current

While it’s always good to keep your calendar up to date, it’s even more important during the busy holiday season. Special events, holiday parties, cookie swaps, kids’ parties — it all adds up fast. Record upcoming events as they come in so you don’t double book yourself. If requested, make sure you RSVP as well!

You can also use your calendar to track your gift giving. Mark your calendar now for your gift purchasing deadline and your mailing deadline, if you have to ship gifts. Planning ahead saves you from costly last-minute binge-buying and excessive postage fees, and it ensures your gifts arrive on time.

Christmas Simplicity Tip: Jot down upcoming events in your calendar as they come in so you don't double book yourself. You can also use your calendar to track gift orders and shipping dates! Click To Tweet

Online shopping for the win

If you do any of your shopping online or by catalog, it’s time to get going. Keep in mind shipping time and charges, and give yourself some leeway in case your items are canceled or on backorder. Keep track of what you ordered in your gift spreadsheet and mark off items as they arrive.

Wrap as you go

Instead of saving all the gift wrapping until the last minute, set aside a few evenings here and there to wrap some gifts. Keep your wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper, scissors, tape, ribbons, and gift tags organized together in a box or other container so you can find what you need easily.

Christmas Simplicity Tip: Instead of saving all the gift wrapping until the last minute, set aside a few evenings here and there to wrap some gifts. Click To Tweet

Stock your supplies for entertaining

Stock up on easy entertaining supplies for last-minute guests. Tidy up your guest room, keep the bathroom clean and stocked, and fill your pantry with easy appetizers like chips and salsa, crackers and summer sausage, hot cocoa and ciders. There are also some yummy snacks and appetizers that can be kept in your freezer and heated up as needed.

Enjoy yourself

Simplify the holidays where you can, organize the rest, and vow to have fun with friends and family this year.

For more ideas for an easygoing holiday, check out my book, Simply Christmas, with 101 ways to simplify the holidays. 

7 Ways to Simplify Christmas This Year

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One Reply

  1. Great tips, and I love the recipe notebook idea in particular!

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