Why Not . . . Simplify The Holidays?
Wednesday December 1, 2010

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The holidays are officially upon us and whether you are celebrating Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or anything in between, it is a time to be savored. And in order to make the most of this time, the need for simplicity has never been more pressing.
Simplifying the holidays will create a season of fulfillment, laughter, beautiful memories and the ability to continue to smile after it is all said and done. Here are a few ways to successful pare down, but also thoroughly enjoy this time of year.
Through A Child’s Eyes

Christmas, cookies and milk for Santa, stockings, and sleigh rides in the snow. As a child I can vividly remember the excitement I felt as December 25th drew near.  This feeling is something to keep in mind as an adult, but to be used in a different context.  Christmas should be about the children, and believe it or not, most children don’t require the most expensive gift to be happy.  Think back to when you were a child and what gifts or moments you can still remember. Keeping this in mind, try to make Christmas something the children will remember and have the adults be the providers not the receivers. The children’s joy should be gift enough.

Oh So Memorable
To entirely get away from giving gifts is very difficult for most of us, but what I have discovered is that the most memorable gifts to receive are experiences, not things.  The moments and memories that are created due to purchasing your loved one tickets to fly to their favorite city, or tickets to a sold-out concert of their dreams will be something that will be cherished much longer than a tangible item in a box. And if it is a gift for your significant other, why not plan a weekend away – book the flight, hotel and dinner at an exclusive restaurant. Now that is something a necktie can’t top.
Less Is More

The holiday season brings with it multitudes of opportunities to celebrate with family, friends, co-workers and throughout the local community. And if you’re not careful, you can quickly overbook yourself and run yourself ragged, thus, exhausting yourself.  Take the time to prioritize those events, activities and traditions that need to be included in order to make your holiday season is one you will always remember and won’t feel guilty about when you politely say no.

Holiday Party

Many people throw holiday soirees during this time of year and, as with any party, you as the host also want to have a good time.  In order to simplify, but ensure a fantastic affair, stick to one specialty cocktail drink instead of stocking an entire bar.  Not only will you cut down on your mixed drink know-how, but your budget will breathe a sigh of relief as well.  Another idea to try is to limit the type of food that you will have to prepare and serve.  Why not have a dessert party? a cheese and wine party? a tapas party? This way the menu is simple, but you can pull out your best three to five dishes. And don’t be hesitant to make half and buy half, after all, your guests want to have a good time, and if the host is relaxed and enjoying herself, your company will too.

Creative Wrapping

In an effort to stay eco-friendly and at the same time wrap beautiful presents for those on your list, head to your local craft store and pick out silk ribbons of all different widths and colors.  Wrap your gifts in newspaper, old maps or brown paper bags (inside facing out) and tie one of the beautiful ribbons around the gift.  The appearance will be very retro and classic without wasting more paper than you already had in your house, and the ribbons can be used year after year.

Keep It Personal

When it comes to sending out your holiday cards, there is nothing more memorable than reading a dear friend’s handwritten words directed solely to you.  Realizing that someone took the time to convey their thoughts on paper and include more than just the phrase Happy Holidays is a priceless gift in its own right. The typed two page letter that is sent out to all one or two hundred of your supposedly closest friends feels more as though bragging is taking place, and quite honestly, if you wanted to share such intimate details with everyone, there are eleven other months during the year to pick up the phone or write an email. For what it’s worth, keeping it personal during the holidays takes thought, time and consideration and each one is very valuable and even more memorable. While you may be only able to send out a fraction of the number of cards you used to send out, those who receive your handwritten cards will cherish it much more.

Shift Your Focus

As an adult, I can honestly say that the holidays are something I cherish for the feeling it creates within me and around me.  The gifts, the things, the presents, don’t bring the exhilaration they once did.  I believe this to be a mature realization, after all, if we can’t make the lives we want for ourselves as adults, what makes us believe someone else will know what we desire?  This time of year should revolve around giving, helping others who are less fortunate and building those up around us.  In order to do this, it doesn’t have to come by way of giving things, it can be accomplished by giving one’s time, energy, or ideas.  By creating positive memories and moments for others and with others, society as a whole shines a bit brighter, one’s spirits are lifted and the impossible is believed in a little bit more.  This season focus on those you can help in whatever way you can.

I hope that at least one of these ideas are something you too can incorporate into your holiday season and that it brings with it an even greater opportunity to focus on those things that truly matter.
My wish to you, my readers, is that this holiday season be the most memorable one you’ve been able to celebrate so far, and no matter how you choose to celebrate, I hope it is exactly as you had hoped.  Happy Holidays!

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8 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Simplify The Holidays?

  1. Thank you for putting so much work into your posts, that was such a great read.
    How I would love to sit out in the snow like the girl in the Tiffany ad – look at those heels – I’m in LL Bean boots!

  2. 1 i want those striped socks PRONTO! and 2 all great tips! – i LOVE holiday parties – i always try and keep my gift wrapping creative (i enjoy doing it) – i have to admit i like having the WOW factor gifts to give – this year tho i’m not doing so much (b/c of the house) – but i WILL have a memorable Christmas – i plan on so much fun and laughter filling my house – and TONS of homemade trets for everyone to eat!!!

  3. I wish I had your writing skills. I feel the same exact way and never in a million years could I write the way I feel. You said everything I feel and funny will be doing a similar post. Somehow I feel the holidays have gotten too commercial and people forget what it means to really give a gift. I mean a real gift filled with thought, love and creativity. Like design I think people either have it or don’t – some may agree or disagree. I do agree on the entertaining and I learned it the hard way. I’m thinking of hosting an open house on a Sunday night 5-9 PM with champagne and appetizers. People don’t really have Christmas parties here bummer! I miss that about New England. Anyway, I want to cozy up with that guy drinking hot cocoa in the snow HEE HEE! Thanks for your posts. They always inspire me.

  4. Shannon I so agree; I can not stand the crazy shopping mania that goes on. What has happened. wonderful post!

    2012 Artists Series and Giveaway from The House of Edward!

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