Do you find this time of year stressful? I used to, but over the last few years we have made a few changes and now Christmas is a simple and stress-free time instead. I know that some people love Christmas and can't imagine reducing the fuss and the festivities at all, and that's fine if you really do enjoy it, but if you are feeling stressed at this time of year, maybe consider simplifying your Christmas plans to give yourself a break. Here's a few ideas:
Reduce or stop presents
Sometimes people ask me if I've done all my Christmas shopping. I always say "yes" these days because we have stopped worrying about presents. It was easier than you think. We just told all family that we would not be giving presents and we didn't expect presents, so please don't stress about getting anything for us.
Now the lead up to Christmas does not involve jamming into shopping centres trying to find presents for everyone. We are buying less useless "stuff" and not wasting money of things that people don't really want. Overall its a nice feeling.
We do still give presents at different times of the year, if we see something we thought people would like, and its often secondhand, handmade or homegrown. If we are seeing any of our nephews or nieces on Christmas day we will give them a small present because they are not old enough to understand that we don't give presents, but apart from them all the adults have been fine with the arrangement.
Reduce or stop decorating
Since I moved out of my parents' house I have never bothered with Christmas decorations. Occasionally a flatmate has owned some and I have no objections to having them around, but I personally don't want to be involved with having to put them up, taken them down or store them anywhere. I see plenty of decorations at work and in public spaces, so I am happy to keep our house Christmas-decoration free.
Share the cooking
Christmas day, or even Christmas parties leading up to the main event, do not have to involve just one person cooking everything (and usually too much). Its so much more fun to ask everyone to bring something. A small amount of good quality food is better than a feast of junk food. And I am happy to buy prawns on another occasion when they are not 10 times the normal price!
Don't travel on Christmas Day
Some years we don't go anywhere, we just enjoy a peaceful day at home and honestly, these are some of the nicest Christmases. I find that driving on Christmas day or even Christmas Eve (and then home again on Boxing Day) can be awful. It always seems like half of Australia is on the road and you get stuck behind one caravan after another. We don't do this every year, but occasionally its nice to have a complete break from going anywhere! (Or is that just the introvert's dream Christmas!?)
Figure out what Christmas means to you
By now you're probably thinking that I hate Christmas, but that's not true! I just don't like all the consumer parts of Christmas! For me the best part about Christmas is spending time with family. I don't care about presents, decorations or fancy food, I want to have a simple lunch with family. When I was a kid we always had lunch at my grandparents' house and there was always cousins and second-cousins everywhere, it was a beautiful day all about family. That is what I remember and treasure about Christmas, not the presents or the decorations.
These days we usually spend a few days at Woodgate Beach with Pete's parents and any other family that can make it. It is a beautiful location for a break and great company.
Do you try to keep Christmas simple? Any tips or ideas?
If you need more inspiration, see my Simple Frugal Christmas Pinterest board below. I have been collecting ideas for simple handmade decorations, gifts, good food and generally buying less at Christmas: