Everyone celebrates Christmas differently, that’s for sure! In the past several years, we’ve learned how to simplify Christmas and (dare I say it?) make the season much more peaceful for our family.
Today I’m sharing five of the things we’ve done that have been working for us.
1. Simplifying Christmas decorations.
Like many people, we have boxes and boxes of not only interior Christmas decorations but exterior Christmas lights. While the minimalist-loving side of me would love to pare it down to 0-1 boxes, we’re not there yet.
What we have done is purged many of the generic ornaments and decorations we used to have. We’ve kept only those that are meaningful. We donated the purged items (which were in perfectly good condition) to a charity as well as a specific family in need.
This year, it was our simplest Christmas decorating time yet. We got the tree, advent calendar, and nativity set out for our daughters. We put out a few small wintery decorations on our simple mantel. That was it.
Verdict? We’re loving the clean, simple look around the house. It reflects the truth that our primary focus is elsewhere.
2. Getting the kids involved.
We look at this as much more than just letting the kids be “involved” in Christmas by unwrapping their gifts or decorating Christmas cookies. Instead, we let our daughters actually take on some of the “responsibility” of Christmas.
We let them do things like not only set up the nativity scene, but choose where they want to set it up.
I let them decorate the tree however they want to, with whatever ornaments and other items they like. I sit back with my cup of tea and chill.
We let our children choose the Christmas treats we make—whether it’s cookies or gingerbread or freezing cold chocolate ice cream!
They absolutely love it, they feel completely involved, and they’ll hopefully grow up with memories of all that fun they had doing it while their daddy and mama cheered them on.
I decided that—for me—I would absolutely rather have all that than a perfect-looking tree. Hands down.
3. Chillaxing about traditions.
If you’re wondering how to simplify Christmas, this one is key. Nothing complicates things more than insisting certain things be done in a particular way in very specific timing.
While we have some fun traditions we’ve created as a family, there’s nothing we absolutely HAVE to do.
There’s no pressure in our home to do anything specific or to do it in a certain way during the Christmas season. If it happens, it happens.
4. Keeping the focus.
We’ve worked hard to try to keep our kids focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas and not on the fact that gift giving is a smaller part of that.
I’m not saying our kids don’t care about the gifts, but they certainly hear and see their parents focus on other things during this season. THAT is what I believe the lasting lesson will be—what they see us modeling right in front of their little eyes.
5. Choosing the attitude.
Speaking of modeling, I knew I wanted my kids growing up with a genuine sense of peace during the Christmas season. But even if you don’t have children, this applies!
The world around us every year is swirling and stressed and rushed, and I wanted our home and our lives to be an unmovable pillar of peace and calm and stillness amidst those winds.
This means I’ve concentrated on doing whatever I can to keep Christmas peaceful—such as getting any Christmas shopping done by November and avoiding stores as much as humanly possible during the month after Thanksgiving. (Not to mention the natural peacefulness that comes from doing numbers 1-4 above!)
This is not an exhaustive list; it’s just a start.
Everyone chooses to do Christmas differently, and that’s alright. I’d never say everyone needs to do it like our family does.
What I am saying is that there are some of us who do it this way, and if you’ve been feeling your heart pull you more in the direction of wanting more simple and calm during the Christmas season, don’t be afraid to follow it!
You will not be alone.
Change can be a wonderful thing and it’s okay to grow and morph the way you celebrate Christmas each year.
Peace to you.