The holidays are tough to simplify, as all of us found out during our respective Simple Year projects. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. For today’s throwback post, we have Tracy’s “resolutions” on how to simplify her family’s holiday season. Original post HERE. — Trisha
Today it occurred to me that New Year’s resolutions are improperly timed. Resolutions are more necessary at this time of year. Then, when the new year arrives, you didn’t eat too much or spend too much or drink too much.
My resolutions, though, are geared towards keeping the holiday simple. I’ve worked so hard to get rid of things throughout this year, and I don’t want to reverse my progress by buying things we don’t need or want. I feel a little behind the holiday 8-ball because for the first time, much of my free time was spent getting ready for Thanksgiving. It’s not unusual for me to have started shopping by now, but with one exception I haven’t bought anything.
- Stay away from holiday craft fairs. Even though I prefer to buy from entrepreneurs and artists, I don’t need anything. Whenever I got to events like these, I walk out with things for myself, mostly cute holiday decor that I can’t resist. I have a small list of people to buy for, and I’m planning to focus on practical gifts. Though I see great things at craft fairs, they’re often not useful or practical.
- Stay out of the mall. I don’t think I’ll be able to totally avoid it, but I want to be more strategic when I do have to go. I have a bad habit of buying for myself when I shop for others, which is a habit I need to break. Because I have a relatively small list, I want to try and get whatever I need in one trip. I really, really hate crowds so I don’t want to prolong the gift buying tasks.
- Decorate, then donate. Back in May I did a big purge of all my Christmas decorations, and also reorganized everything. I’m hoping to get the bins out within the next week or so, and I’ve resolved to donate anything I don’t use.
- Make decisions quickly. We live in a world with an overwhelming number of choices. This leads to a lot of time which doesn’t get used well. I bought a Groupon for Christmas cards, and the site has approximately 500 Christmas card designs. In previous years I’ve spent hours choosing the perfect card, even
- Know when it’s good enough. I always want to make Christmas perfect for Emma, which means I often go overboard and buy too much. She’s given me a modest list, and so far I’ve resisted the temptation to go looking for other things she might want. Because she doesn’t watch the typical kids’ tv shows, she doesn’t see all the ads for the assorted toys and games so she’s only into Barbie and American Girl. Earlier this year I decided to use the want/need/wear/read approach, to limit the number of gifts she gets.
- Look for unique gifts. I got one big gift for Emma so far. She has wanted to see Matilda on Broadway for a very long time, and last week I found a good deal on tickets. I spent a few extra dollars to get regular tickets so I’ll make a nice little package for her to open. I also like the idea of subscription boxes, especially for kids. Emma got Little Passports for a long time, which she looked forward to every month. Many subscription boxes can be ordered in 3 or 6 month packages and because there are so many possibilities, I think I’ll be able to find good ones for my niece and nephew.
Emma elected to hang out with her friend over going shopping today, which was a relief. It was really warm here, so I spent much of it working in the garage and yard. The garage completely overwhelms me. One of my big goals was to be able to get my car in the garage, but I don’t know if I’m going to finish. Minimizing the amount of time I spend on holiday-related tasks will free up time to keep working in the garage. But now I’m racing against Mother Nature, because it’s going to get colder and snow is a definite possibility going into December.