6 Strategies to Simplify the Season

With the holidays in full swing there's sure to be some stress involved, and not just with meal planning.  While our focus is always centered on helping you get your family sitting down to a meal together, we want to help in any area we can. Here are our seven favorite tips and tricks for getting the most peace of mind out of this season.

 

1. Pare down on the holiday cheer:  Holiday decor is magical and adds so much joy to the festivities.  It can also overwhelm your home and your psyche if there isn't some strategic planning involved.  The older I get I truly believe that less is more.  Focus on the key pieces of your holiday decorations that help you feel the love.  There's a balance between highlighting the gifts of holidays past, as in every little hand made ornament and picture that has come your way, and feeling like a Christmas bomb has exploded in your living room, and your kitchen, and your front window, you get the idea.  Consider featuring some of the kid's school projects and pictures in a holiday scrapbook.  Find the essential pieces that really help you feel the holiday spirit and consider donating any wreaths, blankets, garland or the like that don't make the cut.

2. Declutter before the clutter: No matter how simple you keep the decorating, this season is sure to bring new additions to your home in the form of toys, treats and goodies.  Not to mention added foot traffic of holiday guests and visitors. As wonderful as these things are, they can make the stress level go way up.  Take a walk through your home and find any items you no longer need or that you can store away until after the holiday magic has cleared out.  My favorite tip I learned when staging homes for sale was to get rid of anything smaller than a football.  While you may have items you can't part with that don't fit this idea, you can use it as a guideline for the holiday season and go from there.

3. Stock up on kitchen essentials: While this is a year round goal, it is especially important when the hustle and bustle of the season can keep you from making that extra run to the grocery store.  Keep items on hand that you will need to throw together a meal in a hurry or a treat for unexpected visitors.

4. Avoid going into extra debt: We've all seen that expensive gift and thought of the perfect person to buy it for.  Holiday pressure can have us forgetting the budget and splurging on that item just to leave us with buyer's remorse- and extra debt after the wrapping has been torn off.  Muster your will power and remind yourself you aren't doing anyone any favors by overspending and adding stress to the family budget.  

5. More traditions is not... more: Do you have any family traditions that have lost their steam or simply don't seem as magical as they once did? Don't feel guilty about lightening the list or swapping out old traditions for new.  As my kids are getting older I'm realizing that some of the things we did to celebrate together when they were tiny are now more obligatory that awesome.  It's okay to change as your family does.  The point is to spend quality time together and we still have the memories and the pictures of holidays past to remember the fun times we've shared.  That doesn't mean you have to give up everything you usually do.  My teenagers will still be putting on their matching jammies and getting a book on Christmas Eve.  Mom gets the final say sometimes.

6. Simplify the cooking: Whether hosting or attending a gathering, keep your contribution simple.  Focus on one or two key recipes and make plenty.  Guests will be happy to contribute- just make sure you communicate well on what you are making and what they can bring.  If you are taking a dish make sure it transports well and take any serving utensils you will need. Don't rely on the host to have extras.  

 

Most important and above all- breathe.  Take it in, craziness and all and remember to enjoy the simple things.  Much love and happy holidays from our kitchen to yours.

Krista Numbers

Krista is the founder of Simplify Supper. She is passionate about making family dinner a priority and strives to provide simple solutions to make it happen.

Feb 02, 2014
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