A Simpler Christmas

I had a realization a couple weeks ago when I got the Christmas bins out of storage and started to decorate. Pulling out those large plastic containers used to bring me nothing but complete JOY.

But this year, a wave of something else came over me. Overwhelmed, I looked at alllll these bins, and didn’t even know where to begin. Sure, I loved opening each one and seeing our treasured decorations, and this time of year is my absolute favorite, but it just felt like such a task. I was drowning in stuff. There was almost this sense of dread washing over me?! Dread! At Christmastime??

It was then that it hit me.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

It shouldn’t be this way.

I know it’s not uncommon this time of year to let the chaos and busyness and need to get it all done take over. We must make the magic! We must make the house perfect and festive and every surface must be decorated! 

But guess what?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I say it every year – I’m going to do less, and get everything done by December 1, so I can savor this month.  I want my focus to be on the real reason for this beautiful season. And sometimes all those checklists and ALL. THE. STUFF. gets in the way.

I looked at those bins. And I thought, what really makes this house feel Christmasy and cozy to me? Fifteen bins of STUFF?? No.

1. A Nativity

2. Greens (The tree, garland, wreaths, mini faux trees)

3. Lights (candles in the windows, candles lit on tables, twinkle lights)

4. Cozy blankets and plaid pillows

5. Our Christmas mugs (it’s something I grew up with and always got so excited when my mom got them out)

I included those things, and gave away everything else. Our fifteen bins shrunk down to just a few. Our house feels so festive, and we aren’t even missing the rest. It’s amazing how far some twinkle lights and rope of greens can go. Even a bowl of red apples can feel festive this time of year;)


I let go of the need for perfection. I let go of the pressure to do everything different every year – I’m a decorating blogger! I’ve got to give clever ideas all season long! Right??

Not this year. This year, my clever idea is this: give yourself grace this season. Your family wants a happy you, not a frazzled, stressed out version.

This year I want to sit with my family at night with all the lights turned off except for the tree. Read a Christmas book together. They’re getting older, but still love it. Heck, even at 39, I love listening to my dad read Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Yes, we do this every year, but this year I don’t want my mind racing towards the next item on my to-do list.

I want to bake the cookies with patience and joy in my heart, and not snap at the kids if they’re making a mess because I’m exhausted. It’s not ‘making magic’ or ‘happy holiday memories’ if Mom is cranky.

I want to prepare for Jesus’ birth and start my day with an Advent devotional and hot cup of coffee.

See, one thing I’ve learned time and time again from my kids is that we don’t always remember the things, but the feelings. Whatever vibe we’re giving off, they remember THAT. So I’m letting go of all the must dos and must gets and must everythings so that I can be present and peaceful with them.

I feel zero stress about this year. Donating the excess decorations and getting a head start on decorating thanks to Thanksgiving being early has been very helpful. I haven’t met my goal of having my shopping done by December 1, but I’ve gotten most of it done. I hosted my Christian Moms group this week and we discussed ways to focus on what really matters this season, and not getting so wrapped up (ha! sorry about the pun) in the things that rob us of that. It was just what I needed to kick off December. I think we need to schedule meeting the last week of November every single year!

Those five things. I stuck to them with my decorating (and a few simple tabletop items that I love) and I really do believe when I pull out the bins next year, I won’t feel that overwhelming feeling. I’ll look at the few bins sitting there and think, THIS is manageable. THIS is enjoyable. THIS does not feel like a dreadful task. I’ll turn on my Christmas music and get it done and feel happy and ready for this beautiful season that awaits.


If you’re feeling frazzled this season, I encourage you to scale it down – and not feel guilty about it.

Remember: grace.

You don’t need to do all the things or decorate from top to bottom. Pick and choose. And when you do, you’ll get a front row to see to watch the magic happen.





  1. Beautifully written. I’ve had these feelings the last few years. but haven’t taken the steps. I agree with your top 5, they’re mine too. You’ve given me incentive to donate or give away things that don’t have special meaning. Thank you! I hope you and your family have a wonderful, peaceful Christmas season.

  2. Jill Caspari Valeri says:

    You would probably enjoy reading “The Cozy Minimalist “. Myquillan is all about achieving that cozy feeling with fewer things and prioritizing experiences and people.

    • YES! I love her – have been wanting to read this, I read her last book and adored it:) “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” is one of my favorite lines!

  3. YES! I’ve hit that same place to simplify and concentrate on my family and memories rather than the stuff. I kept it simple this year and have several bins to donate this weekend! It feels great! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

  4. This, and so many others reasons, are why I adore you!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! (and the dog) 😉

  5. I felt the same way this year. Thank you for sharing your heart and your ideas with all of us. You are a blessing and I’m so glad to have found your blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family! I just love seeing Charlie in your pics, he’s the cutest!

  6. I LOVE this post! It speaks right to my heart and I am doing the exact same thing with all my extra decorations, it feels so good to be down to just a few Christmas bins in the basement:-) One question, are your greens real or did you go with something from Michael’s/Hobby Lobby? Enjoy this month and have a Merry Christmas!

    • I’m so glad! They are real from Home Depot – just bought one of those ropes, and the one rope did the family room and kitchen. Merry Christmas!

  7. As always, you guide us in a charming, beautifully written, heartfelt way and I am blessed to know you and all the wonderful people around you. God Bless Us Everyone!

    • Those who know YOU are the blessed ones!! The most beautiful soul! Merry Christmas to you and yours – thank you for these lovely words!

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