Simplify Your Holiday Season

We all know the feeling. That day-after-Thanksgiving it’s time to GO and GET and DO and stuff ALL the memory making opportunities into 4 weeks. Do the right crafts, check all the right lists, and are you stressed out just reading this?

If you’re anything like me, Christmas is my absolutely favorite time of year. There is a bit of magic in the air and every year I count down till I can go full Christmas mode in a socially acceptable manner. And whether your holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a bit of your own flavor, we can all agree that this season tends to be crazy. But does it have to be?

As I write this article, I have a 6 year old in 1st grade and an almost 4 year old that isn’t in school just yet. Life. is. Crazy. It’s beautiful. And it’s crazy. A few years ago, at the height of the pandemic, my husband and I took the opportunity to reassess how we were living our lives and how we can focus on what really matters to us. We have made a Rule of Life and it’s an incredibly helpful guide for us as a family to make decisions based on our top priorities together. 


So let’s talk about how this applies to the holidays. 

5 Ways to Simplify and Slow Down this Holiday Season

1. Remember saying yes also means saying no.

For us, we always consider that saying yes to something is saying no to something else. So if we pack out the month of December with outings and to-do lists, what are we saying no to? Are we saying no to rest? Are we saying no to quality time with our kids? 

2. Make a non-negotiable list at the beginning of the season.

It might seem like I’m boo-hooing on lists based on what I said above, but what I really mean is that too many lists filled with what doesn’t matter is the problem. I LOVE a good list. At the beginning of the season I like to make a list of maybe 5-10 things max that we want to make sure we do throughout December. Whether that’s a few of our traditions, or adding new ones. These are a few things that I’d be really disappointed to miss. Here’s what mine looks like:

  • Make our homemade eggnog
  • Look at Christmas lights
  • Visit the Hotel Del for a Christmas date and dinner
  • Charlie Brown Christmas on Christmas Eve
  • Annual Christmas Party

*An Honest Note* Sometimes even these things don’t happen! This year, I’m dealing with some chronic pain that’s making it difficult to stand or walk. For me, the idea of hosting our annual Christmas party was so overwhelming because I can’t stand long enough to cook dinner and wash dishes for 30+ people. I had to make the sad decision to forego my favorite Christmas party for my personal well being. This is just to encourage you that even with lists and planning and simplifying, sometimes disappointment creeps in anyway. And that’s ok! And that leads me into…

3. Get comfortable with saying no. 

Between my husband and I, the holiday party invitations start to add up. He has two organizations he’s a part of. That’s two Christmas parties. A few different friends like to host their own parties. Since my husband also works at a church, there are multiple responsibilities in the Christmas season that are unavoidable. So, we have to get nice and cozy with the word no. And with a little help from my best friend, therapy, get through the FOMO. 

4. Slow down and just sit in gratitude. 

Gratitude takes a lot of practice. For some of us, it may not come naturally and that’s ok. But the more we set aside time to allow ourselves moments of gratitude, the more our minds will be filled with all the good things we’re surrounded with. Even when life is crazy and difficult and sh*t feels like it’s hitting every fan, something as simple as a warm cup of coffee, or a crisp winter morning can be something that shifts our focus and changes our entire day. So whether you enjoy meditating, prayer, putting in your air pods so you can’t hear your kids screaming – whatever your preferred mode of tuning out is – take even 5 minutes to breathe, refocus, and get thankful for the things around you. All the extra “to-dos” and pressure won’t seem as important. 

5. Simplify gift giving. 

Our family implemented a 3 gift rule when our kids were born and let me tell you: it’s a game changer. Our girls have learned that Jesus got 3 gifts, so they get 3 gifts. And while it may seem disappointing, the beauty is that we get to give 3 really good gifts AND our house isn’t torn apart with toys everywhere and a bunch of added stuff that they will move on from in a week. (NO judgment to the families who love doing lots of gifts. It just doesn’t work for us.) It also gives us an opportunity to talk about how it’s not about getting gifts, it’s about giving, sharing, and spending time together. 

Another way of simplifying is to shop small and local. Going online to search for the perfect gift for kids is a deep dark pit of options. Pick a day (if you haven’t already) to go to a few local stores to see what their options are. And unless your child has expressed something VERY specific that’s only available through larger retailers, you might be surprised at the fun things you can find! Other ways to simplify gift giving would include writing thoughtful notes or gift cards for meaningful experiences or dinners. 

6. BONUS: Wear all the babies!

It’s true that I don’t have little infants anymore that are content to be strapped to my back for every outing. But I HAVE had my youngest (who is almost 4) in our sister brand’s, Baby Tula, Toddler Carrier for a few outings. We LOVE it.  I can’t tell you how often I wish I could strap them both to my back and keep them safe and secure (and not touching breakable items at stores) while we’re doing all the holiday things. I also bring my Metro+ everywhere so when my little one isn’t in the mood to be carried, she is strapped in and cozy to minimize the overwhelm I feel when taking my kids anywhere. For my 6 year old I bought this fun handle to hook onto the Metro+ so she can hang on and stay close.

Shop Metro+ Stroller

Shop Ergobaby Carriers

This is by no means a conclusive list, but it’s a start! And doing these 5 things has really transformed our family during the holiday season, I hope it helps you too!

Shop our Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

Vittoria Allen

Vittoria is a writer based in San Diego. A lover of good food, slow living, and a good novel, she shares her life with her husband and two daughters trying to squeeze out the beauty in every moment.