10 Ways to Simplify Christmas

Make Your Holidays Stress-free with these 10 Easy, Inexpensive Tips

Simplifying Christmas doesn't have to be boring or expensive. These ideas will help you simplify the season and enjoy a relaxed holiday with your family.

Simplifying Christmas involves reducing, recycling, and reusing - which often gives you more time and energy to do what you really want to do!

Buying Christmas gifts and serving dinner are two of the most stressful parts of this season; here's how to simplify Christmas gifts and Christmas dinner.

Simplifying Christmas Gifts
Finding the "perfect gift" can take hours, money, and energy. Try these tips for simplifying Christmas gift buying.

Go "White Elephant." A white elephant gift exchange encourages reusing and recycling - but it's not about getting rid of your old junk. It's a great way to simplify Christmas: you give something that you already own, such as a family heirloom or a glossy coffee table book you've enjoyed for ages. You could give someone an item they admired when they visited. A white elephant gift exchange can involve a 15-member family or just your partner or closest friend. It's also a fantastic party game: pile all the gifts in the center of the group and guests can take turns choosing an unwrapped gift or "steal" one that someone has already opened.

Wrap gifts with paper already at home. Glossy magazine pages, colorful newspapers, old calendars, and children's art make great, simple Christmas gift wrap. Use cloth or paper bags that your gift recipient can use for trips to the grocery store or library. Simplify Christmas by reducing what you buy and use.

Wrap gifts with another gift. Stuff gift cards in soft fluffy socks or slippers, or wrap a cookbook in an apron. It's a good way to simplify Christmas, and it's still fun!

Buy all the adults on your list the same tasteful, simple Christmas gift. Local organic wine or beer, tickets to the movies or theatre, specialty coffee shop gift certificates are practical ways to simplify Christmas. Buy six or a dozen instead of shopping for everyone individually.

Simplifying Christmas Dinner
Entertaining anytime can be stressful; these ideas will simplify the Christmas season and help you relax.

Prepare veggies early. Wash, slice, dice and chop your carrots and green beans a day or two before Christmas dinner. Store in plastic baggies until you need them. Simplifying Christmas takes a litte advance planning and organization!
Make side dishes days before your Christmas dinner, and freeze or refrigerate until the big day. To simplify Christmas Day, simply reheat your premade dishes.

Buy an organic precooked turkey or gourmet gravy. Much of the stress and anxiety surrounding Christmas revolves around the turkey and gravy. To simplify Christmas dinner, buy the "big ticket" items already made and just heat them up.

Set the table early. To reduce frantic last minute searches for extra napkins or knives, set your dinner table a day or two in advance. That way, you have time to find missing pieces and simplify Christmas dinner.

Delegate tasks. Recruit your partner, kids, family members, and even guests to help simplify Christmas dinner! When everyone is responsible for one or two things, they feel involved and valued - and you feel less stressed. Delegate according to age, ability, and talent. Simplifying Christmas can require short-term effort, but the long-term benefits are excellent!

Let your guests shine. Invite guests to bring their favorite vegetable dishes, desserts, egg nog drinks, bottles of wine, table centerpieces, candles, or Christmas traditions. The more you include people in the planning, organization and execution, the more simple your Christmas will be. Tell guests that you want to simplify Christmas.