Embracing Simplicity This Holiday Season


christmasIt’s that time of year again. Moms everywhere are driving themselves crazy trying to create the perfect gifts, the perfect family photo, the perfect holiday party. I’m here to tell you: it’s okay (even desirable!) to be imperfect. By keeping things simple and low-key this holiday season, you can save yourself so much stress and create opportunities to connect with friends, family, and community.

Here are some ideas for simplifying your season:

  • Consider giving gifts of service rather than material things. For example, you can plan dates, offer to lend a skill, or give a bottle of wine with the condition that you enjoy it together.
  • If you just can’t give up giving real, tangible gifts (I can’t) focus on quality over quantity. One meaningful gift (big or small) is all it takes to let someone know you care and so much better than giving something that will turn into clutter just so you feel like you’ve spent enough money on each person (you know you’ve done it).
  • Consider doing a gift exchange with friends or family instead of buying gifts for everybody, or even agree not to exchange gifts at all.
  • Scale down the decor. Do you really need tinsel and greenery over every surface? Every year I put out less and less, and every January I am delighted to find it easier to clean up than I remember.
  • Prioritize. What is really important to you this holiday season? Would you prefer to host a gathering or to send out cards? To bundle up the kids to hit every seasonal event in town or to lay low close to home? Choose what matters most to you and consider letting go of the rest.
  • And above all, focus on what you can control. Your child’s tantrum in the middle of a holiday party? Snide relatives? An uncomfortably tight budget? The only thing you can control is your response. Take a breath and make sure your next move isn’t one you’ll regret.


So what if your family photo isn’t perfect? If the pile of gifts isn’t taller than Everest? If the cards don’t go out or the outdoor lights never go up or the cookies are burned? Put people above perfection and you can’t go wrong.

Which ways are you simplifying this season?

This post is part of our Red Stick Moms Blog CONNECTS series for the 2013 holidays, where we encourage you to connect with your kids, your friends and family, and your community.


Charlotte is mom to two-year-old Jack and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She works part time, sells vintage wares on Etsy, and also maintains a personal blog, Living Well on the Cheap, where she writes about creating a full, rich life and a beautiful home without living beyond her means. Decorating, blogging, and thrifting were the creative outlets that helped her cope with the emotional demands of her career as a social worker, and they still serve her well now that she spends most of her time caring for her son. She and her husband, Nick, both grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, but met at LSU in 2006 and never had the heart to leave Baton Rouge. She is happy to call the Red Stick home and loves connecting with other moms.



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