Throw Back Thursday: Kandice’s plan to simplify the holidays

This post of Kandice’s first appeared Nov. 4, 2013 — and I think it’s worth a repeat. My favorite of her goals is the very end: “Let Go of the Guilt. I’m not going to feel guilty for not doing whatever I’ve decided not to do this year. I’m giving myself a free pass.” Original post HERE. — Trisha

I truly, honestly can’t believe it is November already. I. Can. Not. But, I’m glad the Halloween madness is over.

And in the spirit of simplification, I’ve been thinking about all of the ways we can simplify our holiday season this year. Because, really, I don’t want to be running around like a crazy person. I want to actually enjoy the season with my family.

So, here are my goals:

Practice Gratitude. Instead of just saying the words on Thanksgiving Day, I’m going to really try to practice gratitude.. Every day. Even when my kids are making that very difficult.

Thanksgiving Decorating. I am not “decorating” for Thanksgiving. We’ll be at my parents’ house and at Stephen’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving. No need to get a million pumpkins that will just rot. And, no, I didn’t get any pumpkins for Halloween either.

Christmas Decorating. I will decorate for Christmas but on a much, much smaller scale. Last year our 8 foot pre-lit Christmas tree died. (Stephen is allergic to the real ones.) Instead of replacing it with an enormous tree, I’m going to get a smaller one that can rest on our dining room table.

We will pull out our favorite ornaments and decorations and donate the rest somewhere. Any thoughts as to where?

Christmas Cards. I seriously, in years past, have sent out nearly 500 Christmas cards in December. Last year I got it down to 200. Not this year. I’ll do actual cards for very close family and friends. Otherwise, I’m opting out and just posting the card on Facebook.

Say No to Endless Holiday Activities. I’m going to throw us all a bone and learn how to politely decline activities that will serve only to make us crazy. Five events in one weekend? No thanks.

I’m going to practice: “I’d love to, but we’re not in a position to participate this year.”

Christmas Gifts. This one will be difficult. Christmas has always been this crazy vortex into which I get sucked every year. This year I’m going to make a reasonable Christmas budget and stick to it. I’m also going to try to get as many items online (so long as there is free shipping) that I can in an effort to stay out of the stores. In Christmases past, it would not be unusual for our kids to receive 15-20 gifts each. Which is really psycho. This year? That number will be much, much less.

Focus on Others Instead of Ourselves. This year I’d love to involve the kids in a project that benefits someone outside of our family. We always adopt two angels from the Salvation Army, which we will continue to do. But I’m thinking of baking cookies and delivering them to the fire station down the street or something similar.

Do you all have any suggestions for these kinds of activities?

Let Go of the Guilt. I’m not going to feel guilty for not doing whatever I’ve decided not to do this year. I’m giving myself a free pass.

Whadya think? What are you planning on doing (or not doing) this holiday season?