Keep It Simple

Tis the  season of excess……spending, eating, drinking, entertaining, etc. Here are  some quick tips to a more simplified holiday experience.

  1. Buy gifts that are filled with care and not price. Maybe you buy a candle  for your sister because the scent reminded you of the summers you spent with  grandma. Maybe you buy a fuzzy pair of socks for your niece that loved her  “softy” growing up and still loves soft things. Don’t be tempted to buy someone  an expensive gift because you are “expected” to. Wrap a gift with sentiment and  it will exceed the recipients expectations.
  2. Ditch the list. Nothing is worse than having your loved one give you a list  of things that they want. If that is the case, just give them cash and have them  buy their own gift. My 16 year old son reminded me of this when I asked him what  he wanted for Christmas and he said “mom, you should know me well enough to know  what I want” Right, I do know him well enough! Checking things off a list is not  the reason for the season.
  3. Only go to parties you want to go to. It is OK to say that you have other  commitments if you don’t. Not everyone wants to go to holiday parties. They  could have good reasons, social anxiety, struggle with sobriety, they don’t have  money to buy a new outfit that they think they need or weight issues. Be OK with  not going and if you are having a party, be OK when some of your invited guests  can’t be there.
  4. Only give parties you want to give. My husband and I have been known to  throw large parties. I love doing it and he is the good sport who goes along  with it. But the older I get, the more time I want to spend with people I  actually love to be around. Too often when you have a party you feel the need to  invite more people than you really want there. So instead of having the annual  shindig that people expect you to have, skip it for a more intimate party…..or  skip it all together.
  5. Travel only if you want to. We didn’t travel last year and it was heaven. We  have three boys that are very involved in activities. So when there is a 4 day  period where we have no commitments, we enjoy staying home. When our kids were  younger it was easier to travel. Now that they are busy, they love staying home  too. My family is always welcome at our house, but for now I am staying put and  I am OK with that.
  6. Find time to relax. For me that is sitting alone in my house while the kids  are in school and reading a book or taking a bath. This rarely happens but when  it does, it is heaven. I think I need to follow my own advice and schedule  the time now.
  7. Give back the way you want to give back. I remember the year I was asked to  make royal icing for my son’s class making gingerbread houses. I was handed a  recipe by the teacher and told to make 4 batches. Really, who has meringue  powder? But what I discovered was that our local bakery sells the icing and the  $10 I spent was well worth my time. So when you are asked to do something, do it  because you want to, not because it is expected of you. If you can pay for the  icing instead of make it (the cost was about the same, plus I added no more gray  hair). Plus, I could help out the class but not kill myself with separating egg  whites. If you want to give but can’t afford to, think of the cost of your time.  Ring a bell, volunteer to wrap gifts, volunteer at a local shelter to help in  the kitchen. These are all gifts of time that many organizations need to  survive. Your time is worth something that often can not be measured in dollars  and cents.


To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at

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1 Response

  1. Lisa

    Such great ideas and reminders about what the holiday season is all about!

    Much peace, love, and happiness to you and yours! <3

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