5 Ways to Keep Your Holidays Simple

Photo Credit: Keith Scott Morton

I often have a romanticized view of the holidays before they arrive. I picture my house immaculately cleaned, my family in our most beautifully, pressed Christmas outfits, a fire illuminating in the corner next to the glimmering and distinguished fur tree that is adorned beneath with presents wrapped weeks beforehand.

But in reality, those things never happen... to me, at least. I'm usually super uptight and feeling somewhat out-of-control. But, over the last year and a half, I have come to a place where I am beginning to see that less is more and being simple in life, truly is richer.

After recently experiencing the death of my sweet mother-in-law, the preciousness of life has unfolded before me. Material things have lost their appeal. Things I once got irritated over, now seem trivial and silly. Through this loss I'm learning what it means to embrace a simple and more meaningful life, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Here are a few ways I've learned to simplify the holidays.

1. Learn to let go. Let's let go of expectations or what we think we "need" and get ourselves to the point of living with what is really important. Does your child really need the newest toy on the shelves? Do we really need to spend hundreds of dollars on those Christmas outfits, cards and table decor? Let go of thinking material possessions bring happiness and enjoy what is already around you... mostly your relationships.

"Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity."
- Henry David Thoreau -

2. Spend time with people you love, not stores. Whether this means shopping online after your kids are in bed or making homemade gifts together as a family, decide now that family comes first. If you must go out to grab a few things, make a list and stick to it. And if you're a parent, remember that to a child, love is spelled t-i-m-e.
"The only gift is a portion of thyself."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

3. Don't over-do it. Somehow we have found ourselves in a society of complete excess... we are over-committed, over-worked, over-entertained, overweight and so on. We have lost our ability to enjoy and find real peace in the little things in life, you know, the things that really bring meaning to our lives. Be selective in your commitments this holiday season. Slow down and don't buy into the idea that more is better.

"There is more to life than simply increasing its speed."
- Gandhi -

4. Observe Advent. Advent is the 4-week period before Christmas. It is a quiet anticipation, a season of prayer and reformation in our hearts. We tend to be busy in our preparations for Christmas and all the while we are actually missing the most important part: the coming of Christ. To help keep you and your family focused during this special time, consider putting together a Jesse tree like the one here. I also recommend using this devotional to read to your kids.

"The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock
on the heart of every person with singular intensity this Christmas."
- Pope John Paul II -

5. Think outwardly. Another great way to simply embrace Christmas is to think of one thing you (your family) can do share God's love with others who are in need. This can be anything you feel God leading you to do. Whether it is serving dinner at a local soup kitchen, taking cookies to residents in a nursing home, or maybe using part of the money you would use on gifts for your family to give to a relief organization such as Compassion, World Vision, World Concern and Samaritan's Purse.

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
- Mother Teresa -

I truly wish you a holiday season full of joy, peace and simple, yet beautiful things.

No comments:

Post a Comment