do less and enjoy more this holiday season

We love the holidays around here. But after I had kids, I realized that the holidays can be a two-sided trap for parents.

We want to do ALL the things: give our kids sweet gifts, have unforgettable experiences with them, decorate, and more. And yet, we also have our NORMAL everyday responsibilities to continue to perform.

For years is made me crazy. And overwhelmed. And a ridiculously cranky person around the holidays. That definitely wasn’t the type of holiday experience I was going for!

So, I completely changed our holiday experience. Now, we do less. Sure, our holidays may not look exactly like everyone else’s. But you know what? I enjoy relaxing and being present with my kids. It’s not something I was able to experience before. And I wouldn’t give it up for anything now.

If you’d like that feeling too, check out these tips for how we made it happen.

We Prioritized Experiences Over Things

The first thing I did was cut back on gifts. It was often me who was buying them, and I hated being stressed out over holiday shopping all of the time. So, we draw names in one family, I now gift my kids an experience to cut down on what I need to buy, and we stopped doing gifts among a few friends.

This was the BIGGEST change that resulted in 10X more holiday happiness! Seriously, do any of us need so much stuff?

We Made a Realistic Bucket List

First, we got all of the ideas for an epic holiday bucket list. Then, we made our own list. The whole time we asked ourselves how important each activity and tradition was to us. Finally, we cut the list off at 10 items. (The number doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you force yourself to focus on your favorite activities)

Our holiday activities are now based truly on what we want. And it’s ok to leave the rest.

I Stopped Baking

I know this one is a bit controversial. But the truth is, we didn’t need to be eating all of that sugar. And I was tired of feeling sick after the holidays were over. Plus, it freed up time for an activity that we enjoy even more – like driving around to see Christmas lights.

I Cut Down on Our Decorations

Oh, we still put up Christmas lights and plenty of decorations. But did I need 1,000 decorations to put up and then take down one month later? Not really.

I Planned Ahead

And finally, I began doing Christmas shopping, food buying, and other vital steps before the holiday season. It helps tremendously to know that my kids’ stocking stuffers are done before I have to panic. Anything else I get done usually banishes more stress as well.

The 1 Thing I Added In

I did make one addition to the holiday season that wasn’t there before. With more time freed up, I added in family games. Things like Christmas charades, Christmas trivia questions, and board games by the tree now take up more of our time. We can connect on a deeper level and have fun with these, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

In Conclusion

I hope you found these tips to be useful. As a society, I think we need a new mantra for the holidays…

It’s time to DO LESS. Be PRESENT. CONNECT. And actually ENJOY what the season is supposed to be about.

After all, these are your unforgettable memories. The opportunities for them will be gone before you know it. Why would you waste your precious time on anything else?