“Simplifying Christmas,” Ensign, Dec. 2003, 65
At Christmastime do you make a long list of to-do items? For many of us, the answer is a resounding yes. But we would rather enjoy a relaxed holiday season, focusing instead on the birth of the Savior. Eliminating some of our “must do’s” can help. Consider making the following adjustments to your busy Christmastime routine:
Simplify correspondence. Avoid the holiday rush by mailing your cards early in December or after the New Year to avoid post office crowds. Or, instead, send cards for Thanksgiving or other occasions throughout the year.
Shop early. To find a good selection of presents when crowds are minimal, bargain shop year-round, or at least start early. For convenience, consider mail-order and Internet purchases.
Trim gift giving for family and close friends. For large families, drawing names and asking for “wish lists” make Christmas shopping easier. Cash or gift certificates, magazine subscriptions, or “tradition” presents (repeat items given yearly) based on the recipient’s hobbies or favorite foods are also appreciated. Or rather than exchanging presents, let family and friends know that you are donating what money you would have spent on them to charity.
Simplify gifts for ward members and neighbors. Where I live, neighbors like to exchange small, inexpensive gifts. I often purchase ingredients in bulk and work with family members to quickly assemble our neighborhood gifts.
Prepare and shop for food ahead of time. If you prefer to serve homemade treats during the holidays, prepare and freeze them ahead of time. Otherwise, stock up on holiday goodies that are shelf-stable.
Scale back decorating plans. Consider displaying half your holiday decorations one year and half the next. You will not only enjoy more free time but also add variety to your holiday decor each season.
As you prepare for this special time of year, try to simplify at least a few of your seasonal projects. Then relax and enjoy the beauty of this sacred season.
Kerry Griffin Smith, Bountiful Seventh Ward, Bountiful Utah South Stake