Here are a few things that can help make Christmas simple. Let go of the busyness, the expectations, and the material gifts and find more joy this Christmas by striving for simplicity.

1. Schedule fewer activities.

It’s tempting to try and do everything; you don’t want to miss out or disappoint people. But when we run ourselves ragged something has to give, and it usually ends up being our rest, sleep, energy, and patience. You don’t have to do it all. Be intentional about what goes on the calendar and learn when to say no. There are so many fun things surrounding the holidays, but you don’t have to say yes to all of them. Pick and choose the things that are most important to you and really enjoy the ones you attend.

2. Let go of perfection.

Sometimes the simplest way to reduce stress in the moment is to smile. I’m learning how to laugh at myself and embrace the imperfections in the day. The Christmas cookies don’t need to look perfect. The toddler might grab some ornaments off of the tree. The string of lights might burn out, or something might go wrong while preparing a meal. It happens. Although these things are small they can still cause stress when we’re caught up in the busy time. Stop and smile, find joy in the preparations, and don’t get caught up in perfection when things don’t go as planned. 

3. Give minimalist gifts.

As the shopping season approaches everyone rushes to buy more. We know that stuff won’t make us happy. However, how do we go about changing gift-giving while still expressing love to the people around us? Giving ‘minimalist gifts’ doesn’t necessarily mean a Christmas without presents. It simply involves intentional gift-giving. In fact, a gift can cost nothing and still be very thoughtful. Go out for lunch together, build a snowman, find a hill to go tobogganing, and share some laughs. Perhaps you could give consumables like a favourite dessert, drink, or meal. Or spend time with the people you love and give gifts of experiences together. 

4. Prepare your heart.

This time of year really isn’t about preparing gifts, events, parties, and stuff. The weeks leading up to Christmas are an opportunity to prepare our hearts. Instead of experiencing stress or busyness this season choose to embrace longing, preparing, rejoicing, and hoping. Our hearts can be peaceful and find true joy when we discover the simplicity of Christmas.

5. Discover joy in simplicity.

I’ve been thinking about how Jesus came into the world that first Christmas – as a small infant, born in a stable. Not only did Jesus come into the world in a simple way, but he lived simply. We’re invited to sell what we have, share with the poor, and put Christ above all else.

In my own personal experiences with simplicity I’ve often found joy at the heart of all things simple. And Christmas is no different: the joy of the Christ child in Mary’s arms, in the simple crèche as a simple baby. There is no greater example of humility than God coming to us as a small infant. May I find the joy in true humility and simplicity this Christmas.

May this Christmas be about less stuff and more life.

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