It's not even Thanksgiving yet and I want you to read this post about Christmas now. Because as soon as Thanksgiving hits it will be one big blur of activities and decorating and things you HAVE TO DO AND YOU HAVE TO DO THEM NOW. So stop, don't decorate yet. Declutter and simplify Christmas before your Christmas even begins.
Because you know this is what it will look like even if you DO simplify:
1.) Focus On What is Important
Yeah yeah, you think you know where I'm going with this. You're close, but not quite. 🙂
Whether you're religious or not, it's easy to get away from the true meaning of this season. What is the holiday about for you? Is it about Santa or is it about Jesus? It's okay to have both, but when one takes over the focus, it's time to re-evaluate. Is it about spending time with those you love? Is it about being at home and being warm? What does this season mean for you?
Think long and hard about it and commit to FOCUSING. Only do stuff (or a majority of stuff) that supports that focus. Take out the fluff. I take out that darn Elf on a Shelf, but if it is a tradition to you, un-complicate it. If running around to stores makes you nuts, go all at once or buy stuff online. If you want to spend time with family, quit cleaning and just have people over for darn sake! Simplify and get back to your true focus.
2.) Clean Up First
You are about to infuse your home with tree branches, lights, lots of artwork, and maybe even doo dads and collectibles. But even before that, bins and boxes and bags of Christmas-y cheer.
STOP RIGHT THERE.
Before you put up decorations, do the little stupid cleaning you've been putting off. And declutter a bit. I promise you, you don't need all of that stuff. Here are some reasons you need to declutter NOW rather than after the holidays:
- You're going to be getting gifts.
- Your kids are going to be getting gifts.
- You need a spot for all that stuff.
- You shouldn't be burdened by a gift, you should be excited about it.
- Even if you don't want to admit it, you're going to find pre and post Christmas sales and buy stuff.
- You could use some money: sell things on local sites.
- You need to help people: donate items to help those in need.
- Or better yet, sell stuff and then give that money to charity.
- Just admit it, we could all stand to do some decluttering.
- Decorating a dirty house is like putting lipstick on a pig.
- You will enjoy your house more.
- Your family will enjoy your house more if you spend less time cleaning it.
- It will make your Christmas decorations much more prettier.
There you go, I gave you reasons. Now just go do a little bit here and there and you'll feel much better. 🙂
3.) Go Through Home Decor As You Take It Down
You are taking out your stuff and putting it away so you can put up Christmas-y stuff in its place. Now would be a pretty good time to decide what you'd like to replace, right?
Evaluate what is still your style and what you still like. Keep in mind that after the holidays, you will probably be craving a more simple home! If you like it but it can be replaced and isn't worth storing, it's time to move on.
Sell big furniture items and decor on local sites, then use the money for presents or to help the needy. Host a decor swap or have friends go "garage sailing" through your home, it's much easier than taking the time to donate. Or just donate and contribute to the thrift store circle of life.
And then when your Christmas is all done, re-evaluate again. Use those gift cards to treat yourself to new throw pillow covers and find a friend who wants your old favorites.
4.) Go Through Christmas Decor As You Take It Out
There's no reason you need 42 bins of Christmas stuff. And there's no reason to save the stuff you don't like and don't even put up!
Go through the bins and put up items right away. If you don't put it up, figure out why. Do you need to hang something or find a spot? Do you just not like it as much as you did? Do you feel bad because grandma gave it to you? (Grandma didn't give it to you to make you feel bad, so don't make Grandma a bad guy and feel like you have to keep it.)
Take action. Either find a place, give it to a family member who would appreciate it more, but don't put it back in the bin. I don't care if you thought you would finish that craft project or DIY gift and didn't, don't hassle yourself with that either! Give yourself a time limit and if it doesn't happen, it goes. If you are really struggling, put it in the bin and resolve to give yourself until the end of the season, then STICK TO IT! 🙂
5.) Make Lists
This is pretty simple but also something I've overlooked in the past. Make a few different lists:
- A list for gift giving. Write each person's name, what you are getting them, and check when they are done. Comes in handy whenever you are out and about.
- A list for your kids. I always forget the little things, write it all down so you know what you have.
- A list for stockings. St. Nicholas comes to our house on December 6th, make a list of things you think he should put in the stockings.
- A list for activities you'd like to do. Call this your Christmas or Winter bucket list, and actually go out and do them! Include certain family members you'd like to see. Don't get distracted by last minute things you don't need to do.
- A list of foods or cookies you want to try.
- I feel like I'm missing something, so insert your own list here.
I use Excel to make mine or just a scrap piece of paper. I keep it in a special spot like my coat pocket or in my wallet.
6.) Simplify Gift Giving
Don't go nuts and don't give cluttery gifts just to give something. Spend less money and put in more thought. Make a list so you're not buying double. Try to be more conscious about what you're giving and maybe even check out this non-clutter gift guide.
7.) Set December Aside
Hustle to get as much as you can done now, and resolve to really enjoy the month. And if it doesn't get done? Oh well, it will be okay. This season comes and goes so fast, try to enjoy it. Have hot chocolate and a fire in the fireplace for no reason. Stay up late to watch White Christmas. Snuggle. Get some mom alone time. Don't busy yourself, just try to enjoy the season as it happens.
But along with all the warm and fuzzy feelings comes a whole group of people (cough: stores) trying to make you feel like you need to DO MORE and BUY MORE. Try to ignore all of that. Turn off the TV and the commercials.
When you feel the stress bugs creeping in, calm down and take a deep breath, and get back to what matters: your family.
What do you do to simplify your holiday season?
Any tips I missed and need to include? Tell us in the comments!