Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanakkuh, Kwanzaa, Pancha Ganapati, New Year’s Eve… whatever you are celebrating during the November and December holiday season it is a busy time that can be taken over by stress, social engagements, financial worry, and anxiety. This year I want to have a festive family holiday full of joy without stress. I’m sharing 5 ways we can all simplify the holiday season so we can focus on the joy and share it with others. I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers from around the world for our Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a HUGE giveaway with 4 prize packages to take care of everyone on your shopping list plus links to find out how the other bloggers are sharing the joy of the season.
1) Make a list. She’s making a list and checking it twice… Write down all of the ideas for holiday fun, seasonal events, and family traditions. Bust out your calendar and start penciling everything in. This way when the holiday actually gets here you aren’t in a panic because you haven’t visited Santa/put up a tree/taken cookies to neighbors/etc. I started this last year and it was a HUGE help. I wrote down everything I wanted our family to do during the Christmas season and we started crossing them off the list as we did them. Story time with Santa at the mall – check. Driving around with hot cocoa looking at lights – check. Clear expectations simplify your life. If it isn’t Christmas until you’ve watched “It’s a Wonderful Life”, do that first.
2) Spend less. Do you go overboard at the holidays and then pay for it the rest of the year? It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ways we save money on Christmas with our family. We use cash only for all of our holiday purchases (no credit cards). We are now on our 5th cash only Christmas. You can read more about how we do it here.
3) Put down the Elf and forget about the shelf. Not that the Elf on the Shelf isn’t adorable and fun and all of that, it is just that doing something like that daily can add major stress. When you see him pop up on Facebook or Pinterest it can make you (read: me) feel weird mommy guilt feelings about not being a fun mom. I know my own limits and know that taking on something like that will set myself up for failure. I want to enjoy my holidays without worrying about cleaning up after a creepy elf. If you already participate and love the tradition, that’s awesome. There’s just not room in my holiday heart for him.
4) Don’t try to do it all. What is your favorite holiday thing? Are you a baker, a crafter, a social butterfly, or a movie lover? What brings you the most joy during the holidays? Figure out what that thing is and do that, and throw the rest out with the Halloween pumpkins. After you’ve made the list I mentioned above, scratch out a few things to take off pressure. Don’t let busyness ruin a season meant for joy.
5) Bring the focus back to what’s most important. What matters most to you during the holidays? Maybe it is time with family, religious beliefs, or giving back to the community. For our family, we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. We try to keep our focus on Jesus by celebrating Advent together as a family, decorating our Jesse Tree, and teaching our kids about the birth of our Savior. You can read more about how we teach our kids about Jesus daily here, and how we keep our faith in the center of our marriage here. What ever it is that is most important to your family, don’t lose sight of it in the midst of this busy season.
What is most important to YOU during the holiday season?
Sharing the Joy of the Season Post from Festive Family Bloggers
Five Ways to Simplify the Holiday Season from Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Charitable Act: Shoeboxes Filled with Presents from La Cite’ des Vents
Joyful Christmas Crafts for Kids from Handmade Kids Art
Give a Little Bit from Gypsy Road School
Joy Comes from the Inside… But Not of a Package from A Mother Far from Home
Welcome to the Festive Family Holiday Giveaway from Peace but Not Quiet
Sharing Joy & a Giveaway from P is for Preschooler
Share Some Joy this Holiday Season from Are We There Yet?
Thankful Turkey Wreath Tradition from Mom Inspired Life
Christmas Sensory Play Ideas for Kids from Still Playing School
Unique Kits for Kids that Won’t Break the Bank from Lemon Lime Adventures
Holiday Tradition Ideas for Families from Sugar Aunts
Gratitude Stones: A Thanksgiving Nature Craft for Kids from Fireflies and Mudpies
Montessori Monday – Montessori Inspired Thanksgiving Ideas from Living Montessori Now
Finding Joy in the Holidays Even During Difficult Times from ALLterNATIVElearning
Christmas Shadow Puppets Play from Adventure in a Box
Smart Goals for November from Kids Yoga Stories
Family Thankfulness Jar from The Realistic Mama
Gratitude and Thanksgiving Books for Preschoolers from Totschooling
Festive Family Holiday from In the Playroom
Free Nativity Puppets from A Happy & Blessed Home
Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board Festive Family Holiday on Pinterest.
We have put together a really special giveaway to help knock out your holiday shopping for everyone on your list. Special thanks go to our headline sponsors: Minted and Foot Cardigan. There will be four winners – one for each prize package with a grand total of over $1800 in prizes. Use the Rafflecopter code below to enter the giveaway. If you have trouble viewing the entry form on your mobile device, swtich to “classic version” rather than the mobile version of this site or click this link. a Rafflecopter giveaway