How to Simplify the Season

Nov 29, 2017 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

Enjoy this special blog post by guest blogger Kristi Clover, creator of the Simply Joyful podcast.


Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year. There is just something about all the traditions and merriment that makes this season so endearing. There’s an excitement in the air that seems to make even the Scroogiest people a little happier.

However, it’s easy to get caught up in all the buzz and busyness that Christmas can bring. Often we try to cram as much as we possibly can into December. The real meaning of Christmas can get lost in the hurry. The last thing I want my kids to remember about our family Christmases is that mom was a stressed-out, crazy woman.

Christmas doesn’t have to be derailed when a little bit of strategic planning can keep us on track. Simplifying our Christmas season has been one of the greatest choices I’ve made for our family through the years. Don’t get me wrong—we still have plenty of special traditions that we pencil in to our schedules. Yet, our Christmas is filled with more peace and enjoyment when I am intentional about what we allow into our lives at this time of year.


Here are four ways to simplify this Christmas:

1) Prioritize your traditions. If you were to write down all of your traditions for every holiday, I guarantee you that your list of traditions for Christmas is probably double the size of the other holidays. Personally, I try to move some of our seasonal traditions around to other holidays. Who says that you can’t build gingerbread houses for Valentine’s Day with candy hearts or take cookies to friends and neighbors at Easter? You don’t have to do every tradition you have for Christmas every year. Pick only the best traditions to do this year with your family’s help. You can always select different activities to do next year.

2) Declutter your calendar. We’ve had some years when there seemed to be a party or event both days of every weekend in December—all the way through to New Year’s Eve. As much as I love being social and enjoying all the delicious food that I know will be served, I’ve found that my sanity is best preserved when I pick only a few things that we’ll commit to each season. It’s not easy, but an over-cluttered calendar is not conducive to building family unity during the holidays. So, say “no” to as much as possible in order to say “yes” to the very best this Christmas.

3) Plan your meals. With all of the extra busyness this month, it helps to have a game plan for feeding your family. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re trying to get other things done is all of the hungry bellies in your house asking you what’s for dinner. Whether it’s your big Christmas dinner or just your typical family meals throughout the holidays, creating weekly meal plans are helpful. Holidays sometimes mean that you are feeding extra mouths, too. I try to look at my calendar as I’m making my meal plan so that I know what nights we’ll be out and what nights we’ll need something quick and easy for dinner. I actually have a free resource for your holiday meal planning you’re welcome to check out here.

4) Remember the reason for the season. Our family loves counting down to Christmas. Yes, my kids love the chocolate, store-bought Advent calendars that I buy for them each year. However, my favorite thing is the family devotions that we do for Advent. There is no better way to keep our eyes on the real “reason for the season” than by reading about the Christmas story each day leading up to Christmas. Some years we use a tradition called Jesse Tree to follow the story from creation to Jesus’s birth. It’s a special time for us all to come together and focus on the greatest Gift ever given.


My hope is that your Christmases will be filled with wonderful memories that last for years to come. Memories of fun and togetherness, not hustle and bustle. May all the Charles Dickens’ characters in your family find this Christmas extra special.

Merry Christmas!…and “may God bless us, every one!”
∼ Kristi Clover


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