A Simple Yet Stylish Christmas

A simple yet stylish Christmas? For many of us, the possibility of having both a simpler yet stylish Christmas can just seem unfathomable. In what is supposed to be one of the most joyous and peace-filled times of the year, too often it proves to be instead extremely busy, and often downright stressful.

We often want to go all out to make everything perfect. We endeavour to take onboard a great deal, in order to make the festive Christmas and New Year have a dreamy and magicial quality to them. This is often carried out at some cost to our health, as well as our pockets.

What if we could bring back a more definite sense of calm and peace to the holiday season? Wouldn't that be great for both our sanity and our pocket?

Here are five tips I am personally embracing, as I aim to have a simpler yet stylish Christmas season this year. I am hope they may perhaps help you also, have a more peaceful and somewhat less stress-filled holiday time this Christmas season.

Tip One: Simplify your Christmas Decor.

In years past I have begun decorating for the Christmas season the day after Halloween. It has literally taken months of preparation to haul out numerous trees, lights and home decor, in order to decorate not just the living area of our home, but also every other room as well. It was often a mammoth feat, filled with anticipation but also rather energy sapping.

This year I am keeping it simple, yet stylish. The dining table will be decorated, there will be a change over of cushions and throws in the living area and a few other incidental festive elements put out and about. However, this year I am aiming to embrace more fully that 'less is more.'

Less means the house will look less cluttered. Less will mean that over the holiday season we will not be busy maintaining too much (no more extra vaccuming or dusting around multiple trees or ornaments for me!). Less will mean the focus will be able to be more on the true meaning of Christmas, rather than chasing after acquiring this, that and the other thing, to meet some higher than required expectations to make it 'feel' like Christmas.

By keeping the house less cluttered, the decor less overwhelming, there is sure to be a greater sense of visual calm evident. After a busy year, it is time to wind down, rather than wind things up. Keeping things in check with regard to Christmas decor will surely help.

Tip Two: Simplify your Calendar.

In years past like many families, we have endeavoured to catch up with extended family and with friends over the main festive week of the Christmas holiday season. Sometimes it gets plain crazy trying to meet up, in all honesty. We can become so keen to catch up with everyone and fulfill everyone's expectation to catch up, that the quality of time actually spent with loved ones is just not quality at all.

Taking time to spend time in a way that is more conducive to resting, is our aim as a household this year. Ahead of time we have let extended family know that we wish to extend to them the greater blessing of peace and calm this year by keeping things much simpler for everyone. There is no need for any of us to feel obligated to catch up and visit over the main part of the Christmas and New Year Holiday this year at all.

Simplifying your engagements, not getting caught up in attending or hosting multiple get togethers,  makes the Christmas Season less about doing things out of a sense of obligation, and it makes it more about keeping things consciously calm and peace-filled.

Too much travelling makes everyone weary. Tensions can also mount up quickly when some relationships are already perhaps somewhat strained, so why add unnecessary tension to what is often an already busy time of year? Practising simplicity in relation to any obligations you choose to take onboard over the Festive Season makes good sense. Keeping things simple is often the greatest act of kindness able to be expressed.

Extra costs associated with additional food, drink and gift needs can add undue stress and strain on already limited family budgets. It is surely a greater blessing for all parties if we honour each other with space and room, for resting and time-out, from what is often deemed to be silly season busyness.

Tip Three: Simplify your Shopping.

From the first day of December it seems that people go into shopping overdrive. A simple stop off at the supermarket can take a greater length of time than usual, because the frenzy of Christmas shopping has begun! A quick visit to the local store can take 20 minutes longer, as we navigate aisles and aisles of Christmas themed decor and other stock, now brought in store specifically to entice us to buy, buy, buy!

Suddenly life can become centred around Christmas Wishlists and worries about how to buy that much wanted gift, that is really out of our price range. We can be trapped quickly into the emotional games that can become attached to the giving and receiving of gifts; their appropriateness, their financial value, their desirability. Why do we do it to ourselves? Why not keep things simpler?

This year we are choosing to make gift giving in our household a lot simpler. There will be no stockings to fill, and there is a ten dollar gift buying budget per person. It offers us each a chance to be creative, innovative and really think through our purchases carefully. It has been an eye opener to have these guidelines in place and to see what great gifts can be bought for this particular set amount. It can be done!

Going all out and blowing a household budget to meet hoped for gift wishlists, is not keeping Christmas simple. Maxing out on a credit card is not conducive to starting a new year well. If you cannot currently actually afford what you wish to give, why tie yourself up in knots over the months and months ahead? It is surely much wiser to keep Christmas gift giving simple and reasonable, on the monetary expense front.

Gifts can be made. Gifts can be kept practical. Gifts can be kept to a reasonable quantity. Simplifying your shopping by looking out for bargains throughout the year can also be a wise way to fulfill your gift giving during the Christmas season. I have found in the past that it can be good to watch out for post-Christmas sales, as it is often after Christmas that the very items you paid big dollars before Christmas, are now offered at a cheaper more budget-friendly price.

Food and drink consumption can be crazy over the Festive Season, let's be honest. This is an area of shopping that can be kept sensible also; why over indulge and live to regret it later? Simplifying what we accumulate for Christmas can only be in our favour on the health and financial front. Why not consider having just chicken and salad, rather than turkey and ham and all the trimmings? Keeping things simple yet stylish can be done on the food front also.

Ahead of time, grocery can be purchased and items tucked away at the back of the pantry or in the freezer. In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, food prices often increase, so why not think ahead and not get caught out? It makes sense to consider your menu well ahead of time and plan to shop accordingly.

Tip Four: Simplify your Expectations.

Expectations can get out of hand before and over the Christmas season. The pre-Christmas brochures can start appearing in the mailbox as early as late October and early November. We can get mailers depicting photographs of beautiful jewellery, perfume and homegoods............ all at allegedly fabulous prices and promoted as the ideal gifts for loved ones.

It can be too easy to get sucked into the sense that if we don't get that piece of jewellery, that gorgeous perfume or new ontrend home decor item, that we have missed out this Christmas. We can be too easily reminded that our household budget is not as big as the Joneses, and we can start to feel a sense of underlying failure about not passing on to our loved ones the very gift we really would like to give to them.

We need to guard our hearts and minds going into the Christmas season. An expensive gift is not necessarily the best and only gift that we can give to show how much we truly love and care about our loved ones. Getting wound up about our failure to provide is not something we need to tie ourselves into for Christmas at all! We need to guard our thoughts and therefore our expectations on the gift giving front. Simplifying our expectations as gift-givers and gift-receivers is a healthier approach to surviving the Christmas season, thought-wise and finance-wise.

Taking the commercialisation of Christmas out of our Christmas experience is a healthy and practical step forward into the Holiday Season. Put a No Junk Mail sticker on your letterbox if you have to. Limit how much time you are watching those commercials on television.

Choose to consciously take Christmas back from those wanting to make a literal profit from you, over the weeks up to the 25th December. Gifts are NOT supposed to be given out of guilt or obligation! Choose to keep it simple and keep it reasonable, for all involved.

Tip Five: Simplify your Vacation.

Are you rushing about making bookings for a post-Christmas vacation? Are you ticking off lists of items needed to go camping or to go travelling? Why not choose to simplify your vacation this year and choose instead to stay home. Rather than joining the seasonal great exodus of people piling their vehicles high with all the latest camping gear and lining up to escape away via the southern motorway, why not choose to do your holiday in your very own backyard?

This year as a household, while my husband is on leave from work, we are planning to stay at home and rest and relax, with all the comforts of home. We are very much looking forward to having time at home and sleeping in our own beds. We are looking forward to not having to book cattery and kennel accommodation for our furry family members. We are all very much looking forward instead to putting our feet up, reading books, playing board games and most importantly, keeping everything both simple and budget-friendly this coming Holiday Season. Yay for simplicity!

Simpifying your vacation experience leaves room for quality and quantity of time. Not having to rush from A to B to C, is something we are all really looking forward to embracing this year. Not having to worry about what may or may not go wrong away from home-base. Not having to do bookings, not having to buy extra items on the consumable or equipment front........... it is looking really appealing to our household this year. Simplifying your vacation can mean you have a more stylish Christmas, because you have less overheads to worry about paying for and less additional add-ons added on.

By embracing these five helpful tips for the coming Christmas and New Year season, I believe our household will have a far calmer and rest-filled Holiday Season. I am looking forward to the coming holiday, as already the benefits of keeping things simpler are paying off. I hope you also may find ways to keep things stress-free for your household, so the true meaning of Christmas does not get lost in too much busyness. Enjoy the holiday, by keeping it real and keeping it functional, for all, this year.

What are some ways you are embracing a simpler yet stylish Christmas this year? Feel free to leave a comment & let me know what you find works best for you and your household. Happy Holidays, Everyone!

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