5 Authentic Ways to Keep the Holidays Simple | The BridgeMaker

5 Authentic Ways to Keep the Holidays Simple

By on Nov 30, 2011

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. – Hamilton Wright Mabie

The holiday season is often fraught with mixed feelings.

It’s supposed to be a time of the year which we spend with family and friends, accentuating the important things in life. While this sounds great in theory, in reality, most of us spend the holidays being abnormally stressed.

Whether it’s deciding whose house to spend Christmas, what types of presents to buy for which one of your loved ones, or where to go on your holiday vacation, you are likely far from relaxed enough to grasp this elusive “holiday cheer.”

But there is another way. It is possible to enjoy the holidays, as long as you make a commitment to keep it simple. Here are a five authentic ways:

  1. Don’t feel obliged to give gifts to everyone.
    Perhaps the largest contributing factor to stress during the holidays is the amount of shopping that everyone feels compelled to do. Fighting the crowds at your local mall for gifts that won’t likely be remembered a few months hence is never any fun.

    All that time, money, and energy spent can leave you feeling drained. Instead of buying little gifts from stores for everyone you know, buy gifts for the closest people in your life—your best friends and your immediate family. Once you cut down your gift list, you’ll immediately feel a sense of calm and serenity.

  2. Compromise with family for holiday get-togethers and parties.
    The holidays are also a time when friends and family want to get together to celebrate. But again, what should be a series of enjoyable evenings spent with friends and family turns into a hectic mess when everyone is clamoring for your time and attention.

    Instead of fighting with your family when coordinating parties, compromise with them. Agree to spend Christmas with your in-laws, and spend Christmas Eve with your own parents. Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations.

  3. Make some time for yourself.
    During the holidays, you’ll likely have several days off from work. This presents a much-needed window of opportunity in which you can have some time to yourself to unwind and decompress.

    Usually what ends up happening is that we trade the stress inherent in work for the stress inherent in making everyone else happy. Treat yourself to a day in which you focus only on your own needs. Go to the spa, take a long walk, and spend a night or two in reading an enjoyable book or watching a fun movie.

  4. Delegate tasks to others; don’t try to take on everything yourself.
    Even if you cut down on shopping and you learn to balance your holiday events schedule, there’s still a lot to tackle during the holidays. Most of us feel an urgent need to do everything ourselves, but allowing others to help you out will certainly simplify the process. For ever task on your to-do list, try to “outsource” or request help for at least half of those items.
  5. Focus on gratitude and love.
    As noted earlier, the holidays are about realizing what is important in your life. Sometime along the way, the holidays started revolving around spending money. If you consciously stop yourself, take a step back, and express gratitude for all the wonderful people in your life, you’ll reclaim the holiday’s rightful place—a space in which we can pause our hectic lives and renew our commitment to love.
  • Raquel

    Well said Mariana! I would like to share something that I started doing a couple of years ago with Christmas cards. I stopped sending them out to everyone I knew or received cards from. Instead I made a few simple cards and chose instead to send them to the people that I met who were really down and needed a little cheer. I work in a public office and at least 2 or 3 phone calls a week were from stressed out, lonely people. I began to send them cards. Helping a sad person have a smile was such a simple thing for me to do. I have done it every holiday season since the first time. I believe that we as people need to feel connected sometimes. During the holidays we become stressed and disconnected and out of sorts. Stopping the craziness and really focusing on cheering someone up, simplified my holidays. I cut my gift list about 2 years ago and if there is someone that I want to do something for, I bake cookies from my kitchen. I am setting the example for my son that Christmas really should be simple and fun and not crazy time. You wrote a great article Mariana.

  • Great reminder Mariana! Thanks for your contribution to The Bridgemaker. I have learned #1 and 2 all right but I really needed to read and consider the others, especially the part about taking much-needed time for ourselves. Wow. That one hit home. 🙂

  • Hi Mariana,
    Always focus on ‘gratitude & Love’…..it’s a great place to be…..and don’t forget to share the care. Thankyou &
    be good to yourself

  • Dia

    Hi Mariana and Alex,

    Yep, for some people the holidays is stressful especially buying gifts. The key is planning and managing our time. Delegating is very helpful as well as there will be someone to help us. Thanks for sharing these tips on keeping it simple during the holidays.