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The holiday season is just around the corner! With all of the traditions, baking, visiting, decorating and gift shopping, it can be enough to take the joy right out of it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s “How to Simplify Christmas Planning”!
To keep things simple at our homestead, I choose to decorate (for the most part) with naturally occurring elements. Items like pinecones, fruit, spices and small pine tree branches can go a long way to make your home look festive!
Simple changes like adding festive candles to your existing candle sticks or hurricane lamps are gentle on the budget but easy to do! Think about what you have access to, or better yet, take a walk around your neighborhood or property. Grab a basket and some pruning shears to take with you and just collect what catches your eye!
One of my favorite parts of decorating from nature is that I don’t have to store what’s left after the holidays. Most of it will go directly into the compost pile!
Here’s some inspiration for you!
French Country Cottage has some beautiful and practical ideas for decorating with fruit this holiday season!
Howto-simplify.com decorates for the holidays with simple but elegant, natural elements!
Thecottagemarket.com shows us how to decorate naturally, but with a vintage flair!
Planning for Food
I have to be honest here….food is the most stressful part of Christmas for me.
Having 9 children (two with spouses), I find it overwhelming at times to make sure that everyone sees their favorite foods on the holiday table.
Keeping the menu simple is critical for me, as well as the ability to prepare ahead of time!
My philosophy is to prepare a fewer dishes, but make them wonderful with high quality ingredients!
Check out these great ideas, but don’t try to do them all. My point is to give you options to choose from, but just choose a few: the ones that will consolidate all the different taste preferences in your family.
Look for dishes that allow you to “make ahead”, to reduce stress.
I absolutely LOVE make-ahead casseroles for Christmas morning, and this one by mybakingaddiction.com looks scrumptious!
Instrupix.com has several “too pretty to eat” appetizer ideas for when company comes over!
Passionforsavings.com has some amazing appetizer ideas for your holiday celebration! The children can help put these together!
Talk about one stop planning! Noshingwiththenolands.com has 30 awesome main courses to choose from for Christmas dinner!
Prudentpennypincher.com has 100 delicious side dish options for you to choose from as you plan Christmas dinner!
Princesspinkygirl.com reveals SO MANY simple, Christmas dessert ideas, you must check them out!
Mumsmakelists.com shares “Easy Crockpot Christmas Candy Ideas” and all I can say is “Where is my crockpot!!!???”
Planning a few activities, so that your family will have warm memories of the holiday season, doesn’t have to be daunting. Choose what works for you and your family’s schedule and interests, but do it. There’s some really good stuff here, check these posts out!
Clarkscondensed.com has some amazing and thoughtful ideas about activities that inspire memories! LOVE!
Premeditated Leftovers has some wonderfully frugal and vintage Christmas ideas for your family!
Simple as That writes a very interesting post about how her and her family left it all and went to live in the Caribbean, an amazing story!
Planning Gift Giving & Budgeting
Yep, you knew we would get here, right? Money.
Some years are better than others, that’s just life. Our income fluctuates and so holiday spending can vary from year to year. However, once I finally set up a separate checking account and had deposits from our primary account made every two weeks, Christmas shopping became much more pleasant.
I really encourage you to do this!
Whatever the amount, just set aside something consistently. We all have the same 52 weeks to prepare for Christmas! Even if you just set aside $5 a week (and I’ll bet you could set aside a little more), you would have $260!
In terms of gift-giving, I am all about doing what works for you.
I always resented the pressure of participating in gift exchanges at work, or giving gifts to people who I really don’t want to spend money on. It’s ok to say NO. When things are tight, I’m sorry folks, but the needs of my family come first. There, I’ve given you permission to say “NO”, you can blame it all on me.
Yours truly has a post about gift-giving from your kitchen, people always love receiving something homemade! Check out “15 Home Canned Christmas Gift Ideas“!
Onebeautifulhomeblog.com has a great post called “What to Do When Santa’s Broke” and it’s chock-full of creative ideas!
Frugal Rules has some suggestions for how to have a Minimalist Christmas.
Crazylittleprojects.com has some sweet Christmas Gift ideas for under $10! Nothing lame here!
Enjoy your holiday season, and remember to keep it simple!