Keeping the holidays simple...

If you spend any time on FB or around other people you will constantly hear things like, "It's so hectic right now" or "I can't seem to get it together for Christmas" or my personal fav "Craptasticly Stressed".   The thing is, we are the ones who are making it this way.  We create our own ideas of what the holiday should look like.  Pinterest and endless holiday blogger home tours are of no help either.  Who doesn't spend a little time peruseing the internet only to find themselves in the middle of a craft store to pick up just a few more baubles for the house or just one more gift for one of the kids?

I've done it.  I used to do it- every.  damn.  year.

Until I decided not to.

We did the over the top decorating.  The excessive gift buying (I say excessive, but compared to some folks I've seen I realize that we have always done gift giving on the conservative side), holiday baking extravaganza, gingerbread house contests, holiday card mailing, and chasing every cliche holiday photo op with our kids.  That stuff is exhausting, and honestly, not the memories that stick out in one's mind after the years go by.

I remember one Christmas as a little kid.  I had a go-kart that my sister and I drove all the time on the empty lot next to our house.  All I wanted that year was a set of orange road cones.  My dad waited until we were asleep and then arranged the cones in a line from our bed to the tree.  I don't remember anything else I got that year, because honestly- the cones were all I wanted.  Sure, I listed a bunch of other stuff, but the cones were the golden goose egg for me.

Here is what I do to keep our holidays stress and debt free...

  • Gifts.  What's the number one thing on your list?  There.  Just that one thing- that is your gift.  We buy one thing for each of our kids.  The one thing they really, really want.  Simple, and it will be remembererd because it's not competitng with fifty other gifts.  The other thing we give them is books.  Books are the one thing I will buy all year long.  We don't buy our children anything else toy wise all year- but the books, yes to those.  

  • Stockings.  Years ago when Travis lost his job we had near to no money for the holidays.  So I started stuffing stockings with shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant and socks- things they needed.  They never missed having toys in there and opened those stockings with as much gusto and excitement as if it had been filled with candy.  This year we are not doing stockings.  The kids are all grown up enough to know there is no Santa, so I decided to put the extra money into more books ;)

  • Baking.  If you follow me on IG you know about my cookie dipping disaster this morning.  It was picture perfect- Sara and I in the kitchen with aprons on, Christmas music in the background, and then the chocolate glooped up in a cement hard mess that wasn't suitable for dipping anything into. Am I stressed about it?  Nope.  We laughed.  I still need to find something sweet for the kid's homeschool co-op teachers- but thankfully we live next door to a bakery, so problem solved.  

  • Family Christmas pictures- yeah.  I have teens, and would have better luck getting a dozen kittens to sit for a picture.  Thankfully, they are all together in one place every now and then and I can grab a quick picture.  This year's picture was from Halloween, and I had posted it to IG.   I grabbed it, put it on a Tiny Prints card and PRESTO!  Holiday cards.  I only purchased 25 of them- if someone sent me a card, I sent one back.   Ta da.  

  • Decorating.  This year every decoration we have came out of a box that I keep our stockings and vintage postcards in.  Since everything else is in storage, we just went with what we had along with some fresh greenery from the store.  Simple and I can clean it up in no time when the holiday is over. I may do a bit more next year, but for this year I am really enjoying the simplicity of it.  

So that's it.  My simple holiday guidelines.  Enjoy each other, focus on friendships and family.   Less stuff, and more simple.


  1. Good for you! I did try this year not to buy one ore Xmas decoration! It's so hard to pass up some of the newer items.


Thanks so much for popping in. I appreciate all of your lovely comments...Tricia