Simplifying the Holiday Season

Here we go…another holiday season is upon us!

I love the holidays, mostly because I love celebrating good things. I love spending time together with family. I love how holidays remind us of how much we have.

What I don’t love is the clutter surrounding the holidays. I don’t love the shopping, the frenzy, the overeating, the spending, the exhaustion. 
Did you know there is now an official holiday sponsored by corporations in celebration of consumerism? Read about how Black Friday at Walmart is now starting two hours earlier this year. Yes, another two hours for people to stampede over their fellow humans just to get a discounted waffle iron. Ick!
This year, I want to experience a holiday season that is marked by joy, peace, celebration, and reflection. I want to enjoy making traditions and memories with our family. I want to rejoice in God’s goodness and generosity. I want to treat others with compassion. 
Here is how I am simplifying the holiday season this year:
  1. Choose people over things.
  2. Choose being present over being busy. 
  3. Choose contentment over consumption. 
More specifically, here are some ways I’m simplifying the holidays:
  • Talk about gratefulness during our family dinner time.
  • Borrow library books about the various holidays to read with my kids.
  • Create an advent activities calendar to countdown till Christmas.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Put together a gift-filled shoe box for Operation Christmas Child, and follow our box around the world.
  • Ask for experiential Christmas gifts, like swim lessons for our three-year-old.
  • Refrain from Black Friday, and observe Buy Nothing Day on November 23rd. 
  • Keep a simple schedule. 
  • Give to Compassion International.
  • Get a small Christmas tree.
  • Find creative ways to decorate without store-bought decorations.
  • Find creative ways to wrap gifts without wrapping paper.
As I simplify the holidays this year, I invite you to join me. I’d love to hear about any ways you keep the holidays simple, and focused on what matters to you.

2 thoughts on “Simplifying the Holiday Season

  1. This is great, Larissa. My mom, sister, and I made a decision last year to simply not buy gifts for one another (guess who broke that rule…. the dude). Our reasoning was very much the same as yours. I have to say, as much as I missed the free toys and (even more so) the anticipation of watching someone you care about tear the wrapping paper off of something you have given them…. I didn't really miss the gift exchange that much. Family time was much more deliberate, conversational, relaxing, and, in a word, simple.


  2. Brett, that sounds like a great family time 🙂 Our families do creative gift exchanges together – we each have one person to give a “real” gift to, and give stocking stuffers (homemade or inexpensive items) to the rest of the family. It has been a nice compromise between those of us who would prefer to eliminate the gift-giving and those who love the gift-giving.


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