A special welcome today to K-Love Listeners joining in on today’s Living With Less discussion!

Today on a K-Love interview I talked about five changes we can make to simplify Christmas.

I want to share those changes with you and then hear about some of the changes you are making or are thinking about making to simplify your Christmas season.

Change Your Expectations: Our own expectations often create our own stress.  If we lower our expectations, we can usually lower our stress.  For instance, I love baking cut-out Christmas cookies and decorating them as a family.  When my kids were little I would set aside one day for baking and decorating and I would ALWAYS find myself stressed.  One December I decided to bake the cookies in the evening after the kids were in bed.  The next day we gathered around the table with bowls of different colored icing, colored sprinkles, and candies and decorated the cookies together.  I lowered my expectations of doing the whole process together and exchanged it for a simpler process of decorating together.  It was much less stressful and just as much fun!

Change gift-giving: You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to gift giving. You don’t even have to keep up with your extended family. You need to do what works with your budget and the time you have. (For more ideas on simplified “giving with less” check out our “gifts from the heart” discussion two weeks ago.)

Change your answer from yes to no: You don’t have to attend every holiday party you’re invited to. You don’t have to participate in every cookie exchange. You don’t have to put up every decoration you own. Say no and free yourself from the stress of overcommitment and over-achievement.

Change your To-Do list: Make a list of everything that’s rolling around in your head that you need to do before Christmas. Now make a star by the things you absolutely have to do. Put an X by anything you could choose to let go of. Now make a new, simplified “to do” list. If it’s helpful, you can make a “I’m choosing not to do” list of all those items with an X on them. This will help you remember the choice you made to simplify and stay true to a less stressful holiday.

Change the song: Every time you hear the Christmas song, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” change the words in your head to “Let it go, let it go, let it go…”  This is a great, practical way to keep your Christmas simple and focused on what’s most important: family, friends, and celebrating Jesus’ birthday!”

What about you?  What changes are you making this year to simplify your Christmas?

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