The Holidays. Simplified.

simple Christmas wreath on black door

image source


I wanted to share a little plan I have for the blog this month.  There are so many expectations for the holiday season:  happiness, cheer, beautifully wrapped gifts, Pinterest-perfect cookies.  The list goes on and on.  But, we all know that expectations can often set us up for failure—and even put us in a Christmas slump.  The truth is, this month isn’t always cheery, magical or even happy for everyone.  For some, it’s hard and for all, it’s inevitably busy.  My blog pageviews each December tell me that you barely have time to read a two-minute blog post.  We’re all consumed by the doing and the going that comes along with this time of year.


holidays simplified


So, for the coming month, I’m expanding on the “design simplified” theme of my blog and will be focusing on ways to make this crazy, busy season a little easier so that we might even stop, breathe and  be merry for a minute or two.  You can expect quick posts where I’ll share easy decorating tips, stress-free gift ideas, holiday projects that require very little time, and some really good giveaways.  I’m already breathing easier just thinking about it :)


What’s one thing you’re doing to simplify the season for yourself and your family?


  1. says

    I love this Emily and I totally feel ya. I found myself super frustrated trying to get photos of the kids yesterday because I realized that I had yet to do my X-mas cards!?! Then, I realized that in the grand scheme of things…it’s really not all that important. If I get a good pic and get them done, great, but if not no big deal. Somethings gotta give, right? I’ve got my top important things that I want to do with my family and if my little type A personality stuff does not get done, it will all be ok. ;) Thanks for this post…it is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. ;)

  2. says

    I adore this idea. We made this time a little less crazy-busy by putting up our tree and wrapping all our gifts before Thanksgiving. People may think we’re a little nutty ;) but now we can truly relax and enjoy the Christmas season. SO. WORTH. IT.

  3. says

    I love this idea! I am always trying to make the holiday season a little less stressful for myself (because it’s always the mom that gets stressed!) I’m going to try to get my decorating done today so I can actually relax and enjoy it!

  4. says

    Great idea Emily – I have found as my girls have gotten older it is easier to simplify. I have learned what are the MOST important parts of the celebration and have let go of the rest. For my girls, it’s baking, a little shopping, Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo, driving around to see the lights and lots of time with friends and family. Being a blogger is sometimes hard to keep perspective – so I LOVE that you are doing this!

  5. says

    Buying a smaller, live tree this year. By using less lights and ornaments it will save me tons of time.. After the holidays we will take the tree up to our cabin and plant it. I love the idea of spending $$ on something live…and letting it live…instead of wither and die in my front room!

  6. says

    i’m simpliying by skipping the advent calendar craze. my kids are completely happy popping open the little doors daily on the 1.50 paper option from the grocery store. plus, it saves me from feeling like i have to have a christmas-themed activity each day or a spend money for trinkets.

  7. says

    Oh boy, I’m getting to the point where I need to figure out what I’m really going to do and what I’m going to skip this year – kids things and decor. I do the chocolate advent calendars (my kids are just as happy) and I’m still debating the elf of the shelf. We’ve had one for a long time, but my son was never that into it and I was kind of glad. But we’re getting outside pressure from my in-laws to do it because all the cousins do. “Gwen and Micah don’t DO elf on a shelf.” Oy. :)

  8. says

    I going more simple with my decor this year. Last year I felt like I couldn’t breath. It was everywhere, and exhasting. I’m realizing that the energy I spend putting up and taking down Christmas decor would be much better spent enjoying time with family and friends. Not every nook and cranny needs to “Christmasfied”. I agree with Erin. Less is MORE.

  9. says

    I am with Cheryl! I am also going with a more simple decor. I left a lot of my extra Christmas up in the attic and only brought down my favorites. It’ll be so much easier after Christmas as well! Also, I am doing tons of online shopping. I’ll pay the shipping if it means I do not waste a third of a day going out to the mall and fighting the crowds. Merry Christmas!

  10. says

    Dear Emily, You cannot know how much I appreciate this post. I almost skipped it when I saw “Holidays…” but then I read… “The truth is, this month isn’t always cheery, magical or even happy for everyone. For some, it’s hard….” Thank you for expressing that. In September, my 27 year old son was killed in a car accident. The holiday season brings back a flood of memories & it seems there is no escaping “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. This comment is not to elicit sympathy: Really, it is a sincere wish that we can all slow down, simplify and ‘be’ in the moment. Spending time together, creating memories–is the gift our loved ones, and we, will always treasure.

  11. says

    We’re doing gift draws with our extended families. It has always felt silly to me to be buying gifts for other adults, who are perfectly capable of buying what they want for themselves, just because it’s Christmas. This way we get to enjoy the fun of a gift exchange, have time to put thought into buying something that the recipient will really enjoy (which makes shopping so much more fun) and we don’t have to stress about a long list of gifts to buy (though we still buy gifts for all the nieces and nephews). It’s made a world of difference in simplifying the holidays and I would highly recommend it!

  12. says

    I discovered shopping during the first two weeks of November is a must. There were true bargains and plentiful choices of colors and sizes. I’m planning to do the same next year to see if I’ve hit upon a win-win situation.

  13. says

    Oh I could just hug you. It IS overwhelming to keep up with it all and somehow if you settle, you feel you’re skipping Christmas! I took a much more streamlined (and glitter-free! less mess!) approach to decorating this year……. we are having a “semi homemade”neighbor cookie exchange to check baking off the list, and I’ll be making a point to curl up with tea every chance I get to soak up the season. :)

  14. Claire says

    The biggest thing for us is reclaiming our weekends and carving out family time by declining invites to every single holiday function. We did not go to the holiday party at the Karate dojo, we’re skipping the crafts with Santa, and the weather was lousy for the christmas parade so we stayed home and watched cartoons in our jammies. With three kids it feels like we’re always running, so it feels good to slow down. We will have a holiday open house here with our close friends and neighbors and that will be enough celebrating with the folks that really count!

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