Simplifying the Holiday Season
By Naomi Cramer Overton
Several years ago I determined I wouldn’t end up so tired, so empty during the holidays. As I thought about what had worked for me in the past, here’s what made my Christmas wish list for simplifying the holiday season:
- Give some of my gifts early – Starting early in December, I’ll give Advent gifts (using the Advent calendar’s countdown to Christmas) to most of the people on my gift list – leaving me only a few family gifts to give during those final days.
- Wrap my gifts earlier. And I’ll throw a sheet over a pile of toys if it’s late and they’re still not wrapped or put them in a big plastic garbage bag with a bow around the top.
- Find a way – any way – to keep the great news of Jesus in front of us. I won’t worry if I’ve found the “perfect” book to read every night. Or if the older kids laugh at some of the simple stories chosen for our youngest. I won’t give up because we missed our reading tradition for a week. We’ll keep reading and remembering these ideas by talking about them whenever we can.
- Set a budget for my kids’ gifts. Help my children identify what they want most and then buy only those gifts – instead of gathering and stashing trinkets year long. (Even if the budget doesn’t overwhelm me, the sheer number of gifts does).
- Help my kids learn about giving. Help my kids choose gifts for other children, or sing at a nursing home or throw a neighborhood birthday party for Jesus.
- Save time for me and my husband. Spending time with a lot of other people during the holidays is stressful. I’ll reserve times around Christmas just for the two of us – planned or not – to fill or not as we choose, together.
- Get rid of things that no longer fit. Whether it’s extra ornaments or outdated traditions, we’ll remove whatever distracts our family from what we believe is at the heart of this season.