Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out: Tips for a Simplified Holiday Season

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Don’t let this season stress you out; enjoy it instead! Photo on Foter.com

For many, the December holidays can be very stressful.  Between the shopping, wrapping, cooking, decorating, and events with family, school functions for children, church obligations, and office parties; sometimes we really forget to breathe.  I have decided this year enough is enough- I intend to enjoy my holidays, not stress over them.  My goal is to simplify my holiday by prioritizing, planning, and budgeting so that I can make the season both happy for my family, and guilt-free for the New Year.  To that end I will be sharing in a four part series my tips and plans for a stress-free holiday.

First up: My Tips for Low-cost/ No Cost Holiday Decorating:

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Bring out the decorations! Photo by Kelmon on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Where will the tree go?  In my house, one of the biggest decisions I have to make each year is where to position Christmas tree(s).   Since most of our rooms are not overly large, this takes some work.  One option is to rearrange furniture to accommodate a tree. If this is not practical, consider putting up one or several smaller tabletop trees.  They can even be placed in multiple rooms to spread the joy around your home.

How will I decorate the tree this year?   In the past I have sometimes been ambitious and tried to keep all the ornaments on a tree to a certain theme or color scheme.  This can be a lot of fun if you have the time and money to sort and purchase the needed ornaments.  Otherwise, a tree can be just as merry by mixing and matching the decorations I’ve accumulated over the years in new combinations.

P.S.  If you have small children or curious pets, consider corralling small wrapped packages in a decorative basket or similar container until Christmas morning so they won’t be scattered/ misplaced/opened prematurely.  A basket full of colorful wrapped boxes can look very attractive, too.

What about budget?  Ask yourself; do I really need to spend a lot of money on decorations, or can I just use what I already have, maybe adding in a few new pieces?  My husband and I have acquired a pretty large collection of holiday decorations.  I may or may not even pull them all out in a given year.  It all depends on how much time and energy I have, and how much entertaining we plan to do.

How can I remake decorations look new without spending a lot of money?  Here is a relatively easy solution to make a centerpiece, wreath, or tree look new- get some floral picks.  Last year I refurbished a wreath that had decorated our front door since my daughter was small by cutting some of the ornaments out and replacing them with new “picks” I bought at Hobby Lobby.  Consider doing the same with a favorite centerpiece, or adding silk florals, berries, etc., to a decorated tree as “filler.”

What do I do about my furniture?  I took an existing solid-colored slip cover from storage and used it to update a floral sofa for Christmas.  The solid color is much easier to “dress” with seasonal pillows and throws, without spending a lot of time or money.  I also;

  • Draped garland over the window frames in the living room over existing treatments gave them a festive look, and
  • Swapped out the everyday serving tray on my coffee table for a shiny gold one for a very simple holiday update.

How do I keep my displays from looking cluttered?  Instead of adding holiday decorations to existing décor, swap out your everyday knickknacks for seasonal ones.  Simply store everyday items in in closets, laundry rooms, basements, or wherever you have available space, so they can be returned to the spotlight after season is over.

How do I decorate often-ignored spaces? Do you have red, green, or holiday themed towels? Use them!  Seasonal towels can be found everywhere this time of year, often for only a few dollars.  Put them in the kitchen, the powder room, wherever you need a little extra Christmas cheer.

What if I have extra money in my budget?  If you have money to spend on decorations, that’s great!  Invest it either floral arrangements like poinsettias or evergreens, that will enhance your existing décor and smell great, or on pieces that will be timeless and you will enjoy using year after year.

However you decorate, and whatever else you do this season, make sure that the result is something that makes you happy.  I sincerely believe that this is the season of joy and giving, peace and acceptance.  It is not the season of stress, worry, overspending, or guilt.  I hope these tips can help make your holiday brighter.  Please check in next week when I address the next item on my de-stress list-gift giving.

Happy Holidays,

Amy

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