What a Simple Christmas is NOT


A simple Christmas. I’m sure you have an image already in your head of what that looks like. Maybe that sounds like an oxymoron. How can the words simple and Christmas actually go together? Aren’t the holidays supposed to be extravagant and special? Or maybe you think a simple Christmas sounds lame and like something the Grinch would do to just skimp on all the things. Or maybe you think it means homemade gifts and a sad Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

I’d argue that a simple Christmas doesn’t have to be any of those things. In fact, I think a simple Christmas can be quite beautiful and meaningful if you do it right. Growing up, Christmas was one of the best times of the year. My siblings and I loved everything about the season and all of our quirky yet fun family traditions. Now that I am a mom myself, I can look back and see how my parents actually showed us how to celebrate a simple Christmas.

My husband and I have also chosen to embrace celebrating a simple Christmas with our own family. We have decided what matters to us and we don’t feel guilty about what we say no to. We still love celebrating this holiday (and so do our kids!), but we’ve been able to minimize the stress by simplifying the holidays.

As I mentioned earlier, the idea of simplifying Christmas can be hard to picture. I think we can get the wrong idea of what simplicity means. So let me help tell you some things that I don’t think have to define celebrating a simple Christmas.

What a Simple Christmas is NOT | Duluth Moms Blog

Budgeting Away the Fun

Maybe you are great at budgeting, maybe you aren’t. Either way, budgeting is a very important part of keeping Christmas simple. Decide on what you want to (and are able to) spend and be specific. Think of all of the extra things that come up during the holiday season, outfits, gifts, food, decorations, events, traveling expenses, and more. When you set up a budget for Christmas it isn’t so that you just don’t spend money, instead it helps ensure you spend your money wisely. If buying more expensive presents is something you want to do, you might have to cut back in other ways. If traveling far to see family is important you’ll also have to adjust your budget for that. A budget is just there to help keep your spending in line. While budgeting might be stressful upfront (especially if you have never done one) it actually helps eliminate the stress of overspending at the holidays.

Saying No to Everything

Another helpful principle in keeping Christmas simple is prioritizing. But prioritizing doesn’t just mean saying no to everything. It might mean cutting out some unnecessary things or events, but not all of them. Decide as a family what matters to you this time of year and be realistic. It might be tempting to think you can make it to every holiday party, extended family dinner, or community event, but is it realistic? These things aren’t bad, but they also ALL aren’t necessary. Pick ahead of time what you are going to say yes to and then don’t feel bad when you inevitably will have to say no to something. This time of year should be more enjoyable than stressful, so make decisions to help that happen.

Stingy Giving

Giving and receiving gifts during the holidays is fun! I’m not saying you have to go super cheap on your gift giving or stop it altogether in order to simplify your life. You can still give great gifts while embracing simplicity. It might mean less gifts or even less expensive, but you can still give meaningful, thoughtful gifts on a budget. My husband loves giving gifts, and he is really good at giving meaningful gifts to our family and friends. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have an excessive quantity of gifts, but that the gifts we give are heartfelt.

There are so many ways to simplify this area of Christmas. Buying gifts ahead of time is one stress reliever and avoids the last minute rush. Giving practical gifts also helps. Or could your extended family do a name exchange for gifts? Is there some type of gift you could make for someone this year? Could you give an experience gift? Or offer to babysit for a mom friend so she can have some alone time or a date night? Gifts don’t have to break the bank to be special. Be creative.

Cutting out Tradition

As I mentioned in the topics above, a simple Christmas might mean cutting back, but it doesn’t mean cutting out. Examine why you do the traditions you do each year. Some of them are probably more meaningful to you than others. I know I have been to some holiday meals where a certain dish HAS to be made. It might not be enjoyed by a single person in attendance, but its tradition. Is there something like that in your holiday season that you could cut out? Maybe it’s not a food item, maybe it’s an experience or an event. It’s okay to cut out something to be able to focus on the traditions that matter most.

What a Simple Christmas is NOT | Duluth Moms Blog

Christmas is a special time of year. One to be enjoyed and celebrated. Sometimes, especially as moms, we can get stuck trying to make everything amazing that we end up just enduring the season. It’s easy to see the holidays as a time of excess and stress. The culture (or our children) may seem to be yelling, “More, more, more!” But I truly believe a simple Christmas is possible and leads to a much more enjoyable celebration season.