a less fuss christmas

advent-less-fuss

In this modern day, there really is no way to have a stress-less holiday season. Between school holiday parties, traveling, gift buying, meal planning, and even decorating–it can all become…a lot.

Even so, I completely reject the idea that the holidays should be stressful. There is a large area of wonderful between stress-less and stressful–and that’s where our family aims to land. The less fuss Christmas.

Here are a few things I do to keep things “less fuss”:

1. I decorate for our family’s enjoyment…not for our seasonal guests. If I’m stressing, I’m not enjoying…so I don’t do it if it’s stressful. And, let it be known, the things that are stressful vary from year to year. For the past two year, outdoor lights have been beyond our capability–and we all lived and have great memories of Christmas. I say ditch the decorating that stresses you out.

2. I do 100% of my holiday shopping online. 100%. I only set foot in the mall if I want to “enjoy the spirit”…not to mark things off my gift list.

3. Our kids get 4 gifts each. Something the want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I’m not saying that doesn’t sometimes bum my oldest son out–he is highly attuned to the marketing of Christmas–but it is best for our family. They receive gifts from family and friends–and our own tree doesn’t need to be bursting to contain the gifts we give on Christmas morning.

4. We try to keep the meaning of the season as the main thing. We anxiously await the celebration of when Jesus came as a vulnerable new baby…and that colors our hopes for the whole season. It’s been a hope of mine for years to eventually have a pregnancy that was in it’s waning days through Christmas–and I’ve actually received my wish! It’s fun to approach the Advent season with the anticipation of our own baby’s birth…it helps me in a small personal way “put skin on” the wait and the joy and the aching.

Our Advent calendar comes from Naptime Diaries this year.

It is my hope that as our boys get older we’ll figure out a way to tangibly serve others as our primary celebration through the holiday season. We’re not there yet, and I’m not sure what it will look like when we do get to that point. Any ideas? What does your family do to keep things “less fuss”? Do you just simplify or do you find a way to make others the focus?

also, a note: the annual Tiny Shop will be opening on Black Friday and will remain open until the stock sells out. this year’s inventory is very limited!

and for the latest stop on The No Brainer Blog eBook tour, head over to Shop Lemon Drop  and Dear Abby Leigh for a No Brainer Blog/Dress for the Day collaboration!

 

20 Comments

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Sue Jeffers

    I’m not certain how it will all turn out but here are a few things I’m planning this year: 1. I’ve already decorated outside. I hung ornaments on a tree and across the front of the porch. No lights and I’m not sure how I “compete” with the neighbors’ decor, but it brings me pleasure every time I come and go and see them. Also, the tree is already in place with lights and garland. Surely some ornaments will find their way on soon; if not, it’s still beautiful. 2. I buy ALMOST all gifts at my LOCALLY-OWNED, SMALL BUSINESS Christian Bookstore. What better way to honor Christ’s birth than by buying Christian gifts. 3. This year I am planning on doing one act of kindness each day of December. It will include leaving small gifts for neighbors, hand-written notes to “forgotten” people, a small plate of goodies for the employees of a business that blesses me, etc. I hope it works!

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Sue Jeffers

    I’m not certain how it will all turn out but here are a few things I’m planning this year: 1. I’ve already decorated outside. I hung ornaments on a tree and across the front of the porch. No lights and I’m not sure how I “compete” with the neighbors’ decor, but it brings me pleasure every time I come and go and see them. Also, the tree is already in place with lights and garland. Surely some ornaments will find their way on soon; if not, it’s still beautiful. 2. I buy ALMOST all gifts at my LOCALLY-OWNED, SMALL BUSINESS Christian Bookstore. What better way to honor Christ’s birth than by buying Christian gifts. 3. This year I am planning on doing one act of kindness each day of December. It will include leaving small gifts for neighbors, hand-written notes to “forgotten” people, a small plate of goodies for the employees of a business that blesses me, etc. I hope it works!

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Stacey

    We have done a version of the 4 gifts at our house. We have typically bought 3 gifts each for our girls, and then usually a “surprise” gift from daddy. We also draw names for them as sisters.

    I have focused only on a couple of places in our home for decorating the past few years. The tree, the kitchen (cause I need a little happy in there), the door, and each of our girls get a mini tree in their rooms. So Christmas does not end up all over our house, unless the toddler decides to relocate it. :)

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    deva at deva by definition

    I am not sure if we will be doing any decorating this year. We have a 6-month old kitten who has never seen our tree before (which is tiny and sits on our buffet). If we do it will be gorgeous and enjoyed by us both, and if we don’t, we will enjoy the decorations our neighbors put up!

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Natalie

    I wonder how to teach service too around this time of year! I desperately want my boys to learn this season is about giving. One idea I hope to try, it to bake cookies for firefighters (since they are obvious heros around here:). As they grow up, I hope for larger ways to make service accessible. I LOVE the idea of four gifts. Right now, with a one year old and 3 yr old, that seems more than enough (and they won’t notice if it’s less). Seems like a great tradition to grow up with. BUT, what if they something to ‘wear’ is also something they “need”? Do you still get 4 items? Love this blog!

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Lauren Casper

    I just got my advent calendar from Jessi’s shop in the mail last week! I couldn’t wait to rip the package open — it’s just as wonderful as I had anticipated! :)

    We only buy one small gift for immediate family (parents and siblings) and one small gift for our two kids (in my defense they are only 2 yrs and 6 months… no way they have any clue right now!) Decorating is done the day after Thanksgiving. We put on the Christmas music, make hot chocolate and cookies, and go to town. It’s a family day and loads of fun. After the kids are in bed my husband and I pop popcorn to eat/string for the tree and watch “Holiday Inn.” It’s my favorite tradition of the whole year.

    I love the tip to buy 100% online! I’m definitely going to try that this year!

  • When ours were little, they only got TWO gifts at home, plus a few stocking things — one thing from Mommy and Daddy and one thing from the S-man. They got things from other relatives, too, and it was all more than plenty. Best to keep expectations small — then appreciation is large.

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Katherine

    Do you request that your boys only receive 4 things in total, including gifts from all other family members as well?

    I love this idea and have had it rolling around in the back of my head for a while, but I don’t think I could get my in-laws on board. So I usually end up keeping a portion of their gifts hidden away and I might bring them out a few months later, when it is time to rotate the toys. At 4 and 2, they are so happen with just one or two new things. More than that and they sort of just get dazed and ignore a bunch of stuff.

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Erika Spitler

    Love #3 – the idea of 4 gifts each keeps it very practical & fun while keeping the focus off the getting and receiving.

  • Reply November 21, 2012

    Krysten

    I’m with you, the holidays should be enjoyed, not stressful. I do what I do to make myself and my loved ones happy, not for anyone else. It’s so much better that way!

  • Reply November 24, 2012

    lindsey kubly

    #2 – So with you. Malls stress me out, unless I’m just having fun window-shopping (on a weekday). Now – online shopping + getting packages delivered in the mail. That is fun!

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Sara

    I love your 4 gifts rhyme! We do something similar, but I have never listed it out like that. We like to find a gift that encourages each child’s creativity—art supplies, building toys, tools—whatever they area they are gifted in.
    We never do outdoor Christmas lights and I keep decorating to a minimum on years when I am pregnant (which has been more often than not…). As much as I would love to decorate like the magazines…you are right…less stress is much better for the family.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Mikah

    I so appreciate this post, but I especially love number 4. God has taught me so much through parenthood; what a beautiful way to use your beautiful blessing to bring greater personal meaning to the Greatest Gift. My husband and I are celebrating our first Christmas with a little one this year, and we are so excited!

  • Reply November 29, 2012

    Kristin Stewart

    My hubby and I try to be frugal with each other on Christmas. We get an envelope with $50 cash and that is to be used for a $20 gift and $30 dollars of stocking stuffers. The envelope of cash ensures you don’t overspend.
    My daughter is only going to be 10 months this Christmas but a girlfriend has a neat idea with her kids I’d like to adopt as mine gets older. They get 3 gifts – gold, frankenscense and myrhh – the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus. One is something to wear, one is something they want, and one is something to bring them closer to God (cd, book, etc). I can’t remember which is which but I really liked that idea.
    We also draw names with my husbands large family and only buy 1 gift each so that narrows it down alot as well.

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Jelli

    Great post! I’m stopping in from a link at Project Afterbelly. We keep our gifts simple too. We gift our little girl 3 things, generally one handmade item from mama, one book, and one random gift we think she’ll love. Husband and do the same for ourselves, giving one another 3 small gifts at our Jesus birthday party celebration each year. We don’t go all out on decorating, because I don’t want to store a huge box of season decor that only gets used 2 months/year, it’s not really what the season is all about, and we move around often. Cheers to celebrating Christ’s birth this year. Enjoy it!

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