Inside: Use these tips to enjoy a simple Christmas this year. Cut back on the unnecessary and embrace the holiday season.

The holiday season is something that many of us look forward to each year. It’s a time to celebrate, make memories with our families, and enjoy that Christmas magic.

But let’s be honest.

The holiday season can also be completely overwhelming.

Think about it. There’s a lot going on. You decorate the house, buy gifts for everyone on your list, prep food for the holiday potluck, block time for your niece’s Christmas choir presentation, squeeze in family vacations – and more.

All while working, paying your bills, and maintaining all of life’s normal obligations. 

By the time the new year rolls around, it’s easy to end up more stressed out and anxious than you were when it started.

If this sounds familiar, consider taking a different approach to the holiday season this year. Embrace the mentality of less is more and embrace the idea of a simple Christmas

simple Christmas

Why a Simple Christmas Can Be a Better Christmas

To some, the thought of a simpler Christmas might sound… boring. 

To be fair, if you grew up thinking that Christmas is this incredibly over-the-top celebration – that expectation can carry on well into adulthood. 

If your calendar isn’t filled with every event imaginable, are you really celebrating?

If you don’t buy your child every single gift on their holiday wishlist, are you really making their Christmas morning a magical experience?

What if you don’t cover your house top-to-bottom with red and green decor, does it really feel like Christmas? 

But you can absolutely embrace the concept of a simple Christmas and get just as much out of the holiday season as those who take a more over-the-top approach.

You just have to be intentional and remind yourself that you’re focusing on the things that truly matter to you and your family – not the things that the media says are important.

But by shifting your mindset away from the chaos that has characterized your holiday seasons in years past and, instead, focusing your energy on the things that matter most, you’ll find a simple Christmas is easier to achieve than you ever thought – and more fulfilling than you could’ve imagined. 

family reading a book

Easy Ways to Enjoy a Simpler Christmas This Year

If you’re used to an overwhelming holiday experience, figuring out how to enjoy a simple Christmas might be harder than it should be. But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Keep these ideas in mind as you plan your simple Christmas, and you might be surprised to see how easy – and fulfilling – keeping it simple can be. 

1. Focus on meaningful experiences, not things.

One way to truly enjoy a simple Christmas is to focus your efforts this holiday season on making memories – with yourself, and with those you love. 

By prioritizing meaningful experiences instead of stuff, you can truly keep the season simple while still enjoying yourself and making it special for those around you.

Not sure what that looks like? Here are a few ideas:

  • Fill a thermos with hot cocoa and drive – or walk – around your neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights.
  • Cozy up in front of the fireplace and read Christmas books with your kids, or enjoy some reflective journaling by yourself.
  • Put on a holiday playlist and bake something sweet, then gift it to a neighbor or friend.
  • Volunteer your time and give back to your community. 
  • Pop some popcorn and watch a Christmas movie marathon.

Looking for more ideas? Check out this post on simple and frugal family holiday traditions.

Some of my favorite childhood holiday memories involve cutting down our Christmas tree, baking cookies with my mom to give to neighbors, and searching for our presents on Christmas morning.

simpler Christmas

2. Set your intentions for the holiday season.

An easy way to set the right tone for your simple Christmas is to spend some time thinking about your intentions for the season.

What is it that you hope to achieve? What are your goals? How do you want to feel? What is most important to you? What do you want to focus on?

Those things could be…

  • Making meaningful memories with friends and family.
  • Taking time to slow down and reflect on your growth from last year.
  • Spreading kindness and joy.
  • Stress less and stay present. 

By setting your intentions at the start of the season and using them to guide your actions over the following weeks, you might be less tempted to stray from your simple Christmas goals – and more at peace with the holidays.

Focusing on the heart and meaning of Christmas will help you to be more purposeful this holiday season.

Fill out the form at the end of this post to get your free Simplify the Holidays planner to write down your priorities for the holidays this year.

simple Christmas

3. Set a Christmas budget – and stick to it.

It’s easy to let shopping and spending get slightly out of control when the holiday season rolls around – and it’s easy to see why.

The holiday season has become synonymous with gift-giving, and it can be hard to resist the endless deals and sales, as well as the pressure to buy everyone on your list the perfect gift.

For a simple Christmas – and a holiday season that doesn’t wreak havoc on your bank account – recognize that temptation before you go into the season and get ahead of it. 

Instead, have open conversations with family members ahead of time about gifts and expectations. To have a simpler Christmas, you may opt to forego exchanging gifts with some people this year and enjoy an experience together instead.

Or you may choose to do a gift exchange where you each buy for only one extended family member. There are a lot of creative options to simplify gift-giving this holiday season.

Next, make your shopping list and set your holiday budget before the holiday season is in full swing. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this post with clutter-free gift ideas for all ages.

Decide who you’re shopping for and how much you’d like to spend, and come up with some gifts they might appreciate.

And don’t let yourself be swayed by the endless ads, sales, and discounts if you want to avoid holiday debt this year.

Christmas party

4. Keep social obligations at a minimum.  

The holiday season is widely considered a time to gather with friends and family and celebrate the end of another year. 

But all those celebratory dinners, potlucks, holiday parties, concerts, pageants, and performances can get overwhelming and leave you utterly exhausted as you approach the end of the year.

If you want to enjoy a simpler Christmas, don’t overcommit yourself. Instead, be intentional about what obligations you agree to – and don’t feel bad declining an invitation.

Attend the events that feel meaningful and bring you joy, and skip the ones that feel more like a chore than a celebration.

Part of practicing self-care during the holiday season is being intentional with your time and commitments. It’s far too easy to have your schedule jam-packed in the month of December.

By purposefully protecting your time you can enjoy a simple Christmas this year.

holiday decorations

5. Don’t go overboard with holiday decor.

When Christmas rolls around, it’s easy to go all-out when it comes to decorating your home.

We haul out boxes and boxes of lights, ornaments, garlands, displays and figurines, wreaths, candles, and more – and we cover every spare square inch of space, inside and out, with red-and-green everything.

Not only does it take a ton of time and energy to put all of that stuff out, but you’ve got to clean it all up at the end of the season. 

If it truly brings you joy, then, by all means, decorate to your heart’s content. But if you’re looking to enjoy a simple Christmas this year, consider simplifying holiday decor.

By dialing the decorations back and sticking to a simpler holiday aesthetic you can focus on the pieces that bring you the most joy.

Put your favorite pieces on display and leave the others in storage – or pass them on to someone in need who could use a little holiday cheer. 

How do you keep Christmas simple? Leave a comment and let me know!

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  1. Minimal decorations: the tree and nativity scene on the island and Christmas linens on the table and in the restroom. That’s pretty much it these days. Christmas music is always playing, bake cookies with my granddaughter while watching Christmas movies, making hot cocoa kits and share them with neighbors. I much prefer the experiences rather than gifts. It’s all about family, not stuff.

  2. I shop during the year so that come Christmas time we can enjoy it and I’m not stressed about the stores. We bake cookies, make homemade ornaments and cherish the time we have together. We keep it simple

  3. I simplify by setting goals when I’ll have things done: cookies made; gifts purchased; cards mailed; watercolor card made for X number of people. I have so many Christmas decorations & my home is now small, so I lean towards a different theme each year rather than try to use them all. I’ve learned to save the snowmen for January decor which sometimes stay out through February. This year, knowing I don’t plan to display my bells, I have volunteered them for display at our local library to ‘ring in the New Year’. My very favorite gift to give is the one nobody expects & a different person is recipient each year – I love the years I can pull it off without them knowing from where it came!!!

  4. I stopped putting up a tree about 15 years ago. No one else helped me n I asked for help so I stopped doing it. I put simple battery operated candles in the windows a wreath on the front door and that’s it. We have a nice dinner but don’t exchange gifts. We have what we need. We might go out to dinner. We do not have family over like we use to and no one else picked up the task once I stopped doing it. It took a little getting use to but I like it this way. Maybe if am ever a Grandmother it might be different but for now am enjoying the simple holidays.

  5. Since my husband passed away, I have simplified my Christmas a lot. I knew it would require help from family to maintain the level of decorating and celebrating we did together, and my goal was to remain as independent as possible. I gave away or tossed all of the outside decorations, gave away the large artificial tree that was heavy and required putting lights on it. I bought a 3-foot tree with lights, and decorated it with cardinals, doves, and a few special family ornaments. Antique ornaments and special ones are either being saved for now or have been given away. The Christmas family gathering is still happening, but only a mid-afternoon affair with snacks and cookies. I give checks as gifts in decorated envelopes or containers. No wrapping, returns, or shopping. This year I gave away an additional three bins of decorations, and I thought I had done a good job going through things before! This year has been the easiest year yet, and I expect to even do less in the future. I do hope that by making the Christmas family gathering easier it will be taken over by other family. That will make me happy.

    1. I start Christmas shopping for my family and friends the 1st of November and finish all shopping by cyber Monday. I decorate the tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Several years ago, I cut back on putting so many decorations on the tree that took hours to do and now I have fewer decorations yet a simple elegant tree that take less time to decorate. I place a wreath on the door and poinsettias on each side of the front door. The second weekend in December I mail and deliver all Christmas presents to family and friends. My husband and I have a small Christmas dinner with immediate family and several friends. We keep dinner simple by having one entree, two vegetables, one side along with a cake and pie. This avoid having a crowded packed refrigerator and alot of leftovers. We serve dinner at noon, spend family time watching old movies, go for a walk on the beach nearby, a little later we eat dessert and relax while listening to Christmas music. Our Christmas celebration is over by 6 pm. Also, about five years ago I stopped sending Christmas card instead I send New Year’s card. For me, it’s easier and less stress trying to mail while shopping and preparing for the holiday. It’s more personable and doesn’t feel like another holiday chore.

  6. Needs change all the time. So does the cost of living crisis dicatate how we now do Christmas. It took a crisis to help us evaluate life differently and make changes for the better that can be positively exciting like an adventure. Planning and adopting new custom’s that can still be precious and special to families. MONEY is in short supply for most families and heating the home and putting food on the table become priorities for most of us struggling from day to day. WE can still do Christmas on a smaller scale and still have fun. Life is what you make it and even if you have little you can still enjoy the festive season. Giving of one’s self in many different ways. It’s all in the attitude. Merry Xmas everyone.

  7. I buy things throughout the year, especially from charity shops and pound land. Put all the presents in a cupboard, then its altogether. Also, you have presents for peoples birthday.
    Also, buy cards, wrapping paper from cheap stores.

  8. As money is very tight in January, if you have a load of loose change saved up, put them into the coin changer and get either the money or even a voucher for the January shop.

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