How To Simplify The Holidays


Do you ever get so jazzed up for the holidays only to be overwhelmed with the To Do List the closer it gets? You and me both, mama! In recent years I’ve taken a step back and assessed what truly matters most to me and my family. I’m not talking about extending family. I’m talking about your partner and children. Obviously the holiday season is about showing those around you how much you love them but how can you do this when you’re spread thin?

Holiday Card Ideas

Holiday cards – If you love sending photo cards to friends and family then don’t stop! An easy thing to simplify this is to forgo a staged holiday shoot (they can be so stressful!) and pick photos from throughout the year. I keep all my pictures on Google Photos so I can search with facial recognition for family pics easily. Sure, it’s kind of terrifying that Google knows everything but when it works in my favour, I wont complain! lol

Important Dates to Remember:
Nov 16: choose picture(s)
Nov 22: make list of recipients and addresses 
Nov 22: order cards 
Dec 6: send cards

Gift exchanges – My family uses Giftster (free) all year so it’s easy to give gifts that people want and avoid giving duplicates. We have a set budget per family member that we rarely stray from. We really want to be equal amongst our family members. It’s so easy to see things that one niece would like and spend $75 only to realize that all the other nieces and nephews got gifts totaling $25 because nothing jumped out at you. By having a budget, you make sure you are giving equally and there’s no surprises at the end of the season. Also, if you have a gift in mind for someone, get it early! You can usually find great deals for items online (if you use Amazon, check out CamelCamelCamel to see when the best time to buy is.)

Holiday Baking with Kids, Gingerbread House

Baking – Unless you love baking or you’re including the kids, skip it! You can spend a small fortune and an entire weekend in the kitchen, alone, making more cookies than memories. If it’s a tradition you enjoy or bake for gifts, limit the selection of cookies to 2-3 and keep the recipes simple. You definitely don’t want the kids childhood memories to be a sweaty and angry mom yelling from the kitchen. I get a store bought gingerbread house and we have fun decorating it, playing with it (last year we took a side off and it because a garage for toy cars), and eventually eating it! 

Décor – I love decorating for the holidays but since I live in a small space, I’m limited in how much I can do. I’m always thankful in January that I have a small, pre-lit Christmas tree and all my décor can be put away in less than an hour and a half. It’s so fun to decorate at the beginning of December, but putting everything away can be such a pain in the ass! Also, I never buy tinsel or glittery décor. You find that shit for months! lol

Family Picture Winter

Family time – Time management is a fantastic skill but you don’t want to be over scheduled during the week of Christmas. We look at a calendar in November and see the time we have off from work. Usually it’s only a few days so we make time to see both sets of grandparents and the rest is for us. We usually don’t take too many days off work because they end up getting filled with travelling from house to house with very little downtime and we’re exhausted by January 2nd. We prefer to take a few days off in February and throughout the remainder of the year.   

Questions to ask yourself:
  1. What days do you have off as a family?
  2. What traditions do you want to create/maintain?
  3. What is the most important thing to accomplish this holiday season?
  4. What has been a common stressor in the past?

Read about our fun and easy to maintain traditions that wont drive you mental!
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