The holiday season can be hectic, and at times, even stressful. If you want to take some of the stress out of your holiday and replace it with joy, here are 18 simple ideas and tips for gift giving, meaningful traditions, and caring for yourself.
Simple and Stress-Free Gifts
Holiday gift giving and shopping doesn’t have to be time consuming or stressful. Here are some simple, and clutter-free gift ideas:
1. Give Experiences: Rather than spending time shopping in the busy stores this holiday season, give the gift of experiences. Consider gift certificates for dinners, wine tastings, dance lessons, movie passes, or make your own certificates to spend time with someone in the new year.
2. Handwritten Notes and Phone Calls: Take time to reconnect with out-of-state friends and family members. A short phone call or a handwritten note is a great way to let people know you’re thinking about them and is often more meaningful than the “stuff” you could give.
3. Share Your Skills: Are you handy with tools or have other great services you provide? Give someone a gift certificate to use in the new year. Some ideas include certificates for: babysitting, home repairs, lawn mowing, washing dishes, dog walking, legal or accounting services, or graphic design. You don’t have to go shopping and your recipient will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
4. Favorite Recipes: Share a collection of your favorite tried-and-true recipes with a note about when you like to make the dish, the history if it’s a family recipe, along with other tips and secrets. Who wouldn’t love that?
5. Holiday Flowers: Buy a big bouquet of festive flowers, break it into smaller bouquets and share them with your friends and neighbors to brighten up their homes.
6. A Great Book: Share your favorite book or one you know your recipient will love. Write a handwritten note in the front cover.
7. A List: Yes, a list! Write a list of all the things you appreciate about someone. The list will make their day and they can use it as a pick-me-up when they’re having a bad day.
Simple But Meaningful Traditions
Adopting simple and meaningful traditions gives you something to look forward to each year without adding stress. Here are some of my favorite simple traditions:
8. Mistletoe: For the first time this year, I hung mistletoe in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen. This is a simple tradition but reminds me to kiss my husband when he walks through the doorway.
9. Holiday Movies: Make time to watch at least one or two fun holiday movies with your friends and family. This is a great way to relax and feel the holiday spirit while doing something low-key and fun.
10. Hot Chocolate: Everyone loves hot chocolate and making it a holiday ritual with candy canes and festive marshmallows is a simple way to celebrate. You can even sip it in front of the fireplace or Christmas tree.
11. Christmas Books: Read your favorite Christmas book or story to a child. Sharing the wonder of the holidays with a child is a great way to plug into your own child-like enthusiasm about the holidays. Plus, you’re creating wonderful memories for the child.
12. Singing Christmas Carols: Whether it’s by yourself, with your family, or at a nursing home or homeless shelter, feel the joy of Christmas by singing your favorite Christmas carols. When my daughter was young, her girl scout troop would always sing Christmas carols at the local nursing home and it provided holiday joy to everyone involved.
13. Stringing Popcorn and Cranberries: Make old fashioned garland for your tree by stringing popcorn and cranberries with your family. This festive tradition is relaxing and can make for a fun evening if you pair it with holiday music and fun snacks.
14. Christmas Lights: Spend time driving or walking around your community to enjoy all of the festive lights and decorations. In Portland, we have Peacock Lane, an entire street of homes that are fully decorated for the holiday season. The street is also full of carolers and people dressed in holiday costumes.
Take Care of Yourself
When you feel good and care for yourself, you are better able to give and care for others. Take some time out and consider:
15. Meditating or Sitting Quietly for 15 Minutes: A short break of quiet can do wonders and allows you to be more engaged and present in the moment.
16. Nurture Yourself: Practice good self care, get enough sleep, eat your veggies, and make time to nurture yourself. Need some ideas? Here are 50 Ways to Nurture Yourself.
17. Simplify: Simplify your plans, your schedule, your holiday meal, and your gift giving. Look for ways to remove the things from your life that aren’t adding real value, connection, or love. When you simplify, you have more time and energy for the things that are really important.
18. Practice Gratitude: An attitude of gratitude can transform your life and your holiday season. Take a few minutes each day to write down all the people and things you are grateful for this year. Notice the little things that make your life better as well and feel gratitude.
How do you create more joy in your holiday season? Let’s discuss in the comments below.