Trim the Hectic from Your Holiday Schedule and Double Up On Joyful Tidings

Photo Credit: Simplify Raleigh

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, from Hallmark Channel Holiday movies to hot chocolate, the holidays can be full of love and good cheer. We look forward to it all year and then as the season rolls around it is sometimes just too much of a good thing. We find ourselves stressed, harried, and somewhat lacking in the holiday spirit department. Too many parties, school concerts, cookie exchanges, gift exchanges, visitors, visiting and don’t even get me started on the shopping!

As a home organizer I know that simplifying your environment can help you to simplify your life – but what if I told you- you could also simplify the holidays by decluttering your schedule?

1: Get Selective – Keep What Brings You Joy and Let Go of the Rest…

Have a family meeting before the holidays and decide which events and traditions you love and want to continue. Let each family member pick two activities to make part of your holiday celebration this year and revisit the list annually. Learn to say no without the guilt, just like clothes that don’t fit and those ugly I-can’t believe-they-ever-sold-these-at-Pottery Barn lamps, some holiday traditions no longer fit into our busy lives. Scheduling less – will help you enjoy the activities you do so much more!

2: Simplify – Hack Your Way to Stress-Free Entertaining!

You’ve looked at your joy meter and you still want to host a holiday gathering at your house, but this can add unwanted stress in this busiest time of year – what to do?

  • Outsource: See if you can’t outsource some of the work, perhaps cater the food, or hit up your local discount store for frozen apps and party platters.
  • Change the format of your event: Make it a potluck so you will host and the guests will bring the food!
  • Change the timing to make things easier: Host a dessert and cocktails evening after dinner hours so guests will come already having eaten. Or schedule entertaining in between mealtimes to take your buffet from table-straining- portions to light bites.

Photo Credit: Simplify Raleigh

3: Embrace the Illogical and Schedule in Downtime…

One of our favorite holiday traditions is to don our pajamas and drive around looking at holiday lights. It’s festive, but it’s also simple, easy and accomplished in a warm car while wearing comfy clothes! As you schedule other parts of your holiday make sure to schedule in a day or two or 12 for there to be nothing on the agenda, chill days! If we aren’t careful all of December can become full – so pick your chill days and put them on the calendar to make sure no one schedules anything during this time.

4:  Budget, Budget, Budget

Part of holiday stress comes from the budget straining proportions of it all, the food, the gifts, the travel, oh my! As you sit down to evaluate your schedule and budget your time over the holidays be sure to pay attention to the finances too. Set a budget for the season and consider the costs as you decide which holiday traditions and events you want to pursue. Keeping the budget in check will go a long way to relieving holiday stress and it may even help you to make some of the tough decisions about activities to pare down.

Like every other part of life, being intentional about the holidays: planning beforehand, simplifying where you can and being sure to budget in downtime, can help you to get the most out of what the season has to offer! Please let me know how it goes and share your ideas for simplifying your holiday schedule and reclaiming joy!

Alison Bentley is a mom of two, the owner and operator of Simplify Raleigh.

Alison Bentley is a mom of two, the owner and operator of Simplify Raleigh, a home organizing and life simplifying business, and a KonMari Consultant. You can follow her on Instagram (@simplifyraleigh)or Facebook (@SimplifyRaleigh) or find her at

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