Friday, December 5, 2014

A Simpler Christmas: 10 Things We're Choosing To Do and Not To Do This Holiday Season

With all the great ideas out there and all the talented and creative bloggers I follow, I've been bombarded lately with adorable traditions, delicious treats, gorgeous decor, and sweet handmade gifts every time I go online. It's SO easy to pile more and more on our to-do lists. So today I want to encourage you that we don't need to do it all. We need to make the choices that are best for our families, no matter what.

Last week the incredibly sweet Megan over at SortaCrunchy shared this post on her facebook page and it really resonated with me. Take a moment to read it. I'll wait right here.

Ok, you're back! What a great reminder, right? My favorite line:
"If baking cookies and watching your kids sling sprinkles all over the kitchen is going to make you yell today? Then no. Don’t do it. Always choose the relationship with your kids over the Advent activity that makes you scream. Always choose the Simple over the Pinnable."
Reading this just confirms what I had already decided. Some things need to give this year. I have a busy and stubborn three-year-old. I have another child on the way. And I still haven't regained all my pre-pregnancy energy. I have to be really purposeful this year.

I want a Simpler Christmas. So I sat down and thought about what is most important to me, and what isn't, during this Christmas season.

I want to be clear. These are the choices we are making that work best for our family in this season in our lives. My goal is certainly not to be critical of anyone else or their traditions. I'm sure that your list will be different than mine. :)

Ten Things We're Choosing Not To Do This Christmas:


Christmas Card/Letter

I love Christmas Cards, but this isn't the year. Think on the bright side: we won't have to pay for cards or postage and I won't have to take the time to address a pile of cards or take them to the Post Office. I'll save the mass mailing for a birth announcement after our baby girl arrives this spring. :)

Elves (of any kind)

Elf on the Shelf, Kindness Elves, Rascally Reindeer, Christmas Mouse... Whatever it is, I can guarantee I would forget. Or it would just be one more thing to grudgingly check off my to-do list, which is already longer due to the holidays. Kiddo is blissfully ignorant of these cute little traditions and that's perfectly fine with me.

Elaborate Decorations

We will put up the tree, display our nativities, and hang stockings on the mantel. Beyond that, I'm not holding myself to much more.

Lights or Decorations in Our Yard and Porch

A simple wreath on the door will be just fine this year.

DIY Christmas Decorations

I love these! A Christmas DIY would make a great project to display on the blog. Not this year, though. I'm going to focus my craftiness on other areas.

Pictures with Santa

We don't make a big deal about Santa at our house, and I'm not sure Kiddo would be game to sit on his lap. He's still pretty wary of the cow at Chick-Fil-A.

Fancy-Wrapped Presents

Oh, they look so pretty under the tree! But they will also be torn apart and tossed in the trash on Christmas morning. I will use my collection of festive gift bags and Christmas wrap , but our presents will not look like the cover of Martha Stewart Living. Instead of bows, dollar store to/from stickers will be the only things adorning our gifts, and I am ok with that.

Elaborate Christmas Activities for Kiddo

There are so many great ideas on Pinterest - Christmas crafts, science experiments, sensory play, etc.  I probably won't do any of them. This year I bought photo ornament craft kits at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off a few weeks ago. We'll make those and get out the Christmas cookie cutters for the play dough. Beyond that, I'm not expecting much from myself. If we get to more, it will be a fun bonus.

A Real Tree

We already have an artificial tree which does not need to be watered or cared for in any way. Right now, that will work fine for us.

Christmas Eve Service

I love going to the candlelight service at church! Unfortunately, it is usually over well past Kiddo's bedtime and it can be hard to get him to settle down to sleep on late nights. With such a busy Christmas day celebrating with our extended family, it's better to let him get a good night's sleep and enjoy the festivities rather than keep him up and risk a cranky Christmas.

10 Things We're Choosing To Do This Christmas:


We are reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible (I recommend this reading schedule) and then Kiddo will place a star on his Advent Calendar each night after dinner. Since Christ should be the focus of our Christmas, I'm excited to use this simple activity to build our anticipation of Jesus' birth!

Gingerbread Houses

My mom hosts a gingerbread house decorating shindig the weekend of Thanksgiving, so this wasn't too much work for me. Everyone brought some candy and all I had to do was use my mold to make gingerbread pieces for two houses. Kiddo LOVED decorating his gingerbread house and literally decorated it for well over an hour before I made him stop to eat lunch. :)

Black Friday Shopping

This is a fun tradition with my mom, sister, aunt, and cousins. Daddy and Grandpa held down the fort with Kiddo while we spent quality retail time together.

Operation Christmas Child

We just turned in our shoebox before Thanksgiving. I love the opportunity to teach Kiddo about giving to others. We went shopping together to fill a box for a boy aged 2-4 years old. It's still a little hard for him to grasp the concept of packing a gift for someone he doesn't even know who lives so far away, but I think he's starting to get it. I was really proud of him for being willing to give up some of the fun things we picked up for his box.

Christmas Cookies:

I love baking, so I will probably make two of our favorites from scratch. I may do this with Kiddo, or I may make them during naptime by myself. I'm hoping to have my sister over to bake with me one day in the month of December.

Nativity Display

Our Willow Tree nativity will find a prominent spot on the mantel, hopefully this week. Kiddo's Little People Nativity will be out for him to play with during the month of December, which should bring many opportunities to discuss the true meaning of Christmas.

A Christmas Tree

We will set up our artificial tree and hang it with kid-friendly ornaments we already have. It will probably not be anything to blog about. :-)

Simple Decorations

I plan to put up the tree, display our nativity, hang stockings on the mantel, and hang a wreath on the door. Anything else that adorns our home will be a bonus.

Handmade Christmas Gifts

I plan to make a few EASY handmade gifts this year, some of which Kiddo and I can do together. I can't tell you more about them because then the gifts wouldn't be a surprise! :-)

Photo Ornaments

This is something I do every year for our relatives. I mentioned above that I'm even simplifying this project this year by purchasing craft kits from Hobby Lobby for Kiddo to make with my help.

What about you? Have you made a "Not to Do List" this year? If you haven't yet, I'd encourage you to at least review your priorities for the holiday season. It never hurts, and it might just simplify your holidays for the better!

What's on your list? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Less is more, I love the lists! Every year if I try to overdo it, I lose the joy and just cause more stress to myself which defeats the whole purpose of Christmas!

    1. I hear ya, Kelly! It's so easy to over-do and over-fill our schedules this time of year.
      Are you making a list this year? :)


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