Simplifying Christmas

Most of us start out intending to savor this beautiful season of Jesus and twinkle lights. Then, somewhere between December 1st and 24th our best intentions get hijacked by the pressure to package Christmas perfectly.

Many people, myself included, seem to be stuck in this quandary of how to retain both our joy and our sanity at Christmas time. We will try to do more, be more, and ensure that everyone around us is filled and overflowing with the stuff of Christmas dreams. Then, we’ll collapse, spent, exhausted and empty. Angry, frustrated and bitter even.

Jesus didn’t intend for us to celebrate His birth by killing ourselves.

I’m drawing a line in the sand this Christmas and choosing to focus on what matters most—Jesus, my people, and the things I truly love. I’m sticking to simple.

simple-christmas2-jpg

Over the past year I’ve written about living less distracted, choosing stillness, and finding balance. I hear the Holy Spirit nudging me that now, more than ever, I must practice what I preach and live what I proclaim. If I can’t do it in the season when Jesus is front and center, then friends, I’m in trouble.

I won’t usher in another season of perfectly orchestrated chaos. I simply love Jesus too much to rush passed Him.

For the love of God, I’m simplifying Christmas!

{Tweet that!}

Your “simple” might look entirely different from mine. Perhaps you find immense joy in paper crafting Christmas cards, baking dozens of cookies for your neighbors, and making homemade ornaments. If that’s what you love, go on and do it!

I’m not built that way. Those things trigger every perfectionist tendency streaming through my DNA and inevitably leave me in a puddle of anxiety and stress. If you feel the same way, then maybe it’s time to simplify.

Here are a some ways I’m choosing more simple and less crazy this Christmas:

  • No Christmas cards: They just take too much time and money. Instead, I’ll use Red Stamp to create a FREE digital card that I can text, email or even print a few if I need to.
  • Subtle decorating: I love a festive home at Christmas, but this year rather than haul out every box of decor, I hand-selected my most special items to display. Not only do I love the understated feel, but come New Years, I won’t be overwhelmed to undo it all.
  • Online shopping: Because traffic, long lines, and other crazed Christmas shoppers don’t feel AT ALL simple. But don’t wait til Christmas Eve!
  • Time with friends: I’m purposing to schedule visits with the people I truly cherish. Time together is a precious gift—and I’ll suggest it’s the only one we give.
  • Giving that gives back: I love the stories behind the artisan crafted jewelry of Noonday Collection and the dignified work it provides. Girl Set Free is another non-profit close to my heart that pairs fashion and freedom in the most beautiful way. If you’re an Amazon fan, use their Amazon Smile website and a proceed of all your purchases goes to your favorite charity. This giving changes lives.
  • Family and faith: My family and I will be reading through my dear friend, Lisa Appelo’s, Countdown to Christmas Advent Devotional. It’s 15 days which means if we miss a night or two, I’m not feeling the pressure to catch up or fail.
  • Simply saying “no”: I’m saying no in the right places—to choices that rob me of time, to things that aren’t necessary or essential, to distractions that take my focus off of Jesus, my people, and what I truly love—because they matter most.

I want this season to be sweet and meaningful, not crazed and chaotic. There will still be scratch made cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, surprises under a decorated tree, and family gathered together. But this year, they won’t get lost in the hustle, and I’ll truly enjoy them for the simple pleasures they are. 


You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Purposeful Faith (#RaRaLinkup)Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

30 thoughts on “Simplifying Christmas

  1. Friend, I missed this, and boy do I need it! I am trying to scale back on social and ministry commitments while my son is here, just got in last night. Also letting go of social media a bit. My Turkish daughter is just here next weekend, so that’s also made me think about making my December 24th celebration SMALLER (less people, simpler food), so we can enjoy her. I realize I need some time to just BE, just savor life and God. I might take a little prayer retreat one morning next week if I can manage. Blessings to you, sweet friend. I love what you’re doing on your blog. :)

  2. Good for you, Tiffany. Yes, Jesus is too important to rush past. Though our Christmas season is already simplified, I can still easily rush past Jesus with chaotic, negative thoughts or worries jumbling around trying to discourage me. Thank you for this encouragement to be more open to stillness and pondering Jesus’ love. Advent blessings and hugs to you!

  3. Oh Tiffany– I’m right there with ya girl! The “packaging Christmas perfectly” is the perfect way to describe our feelings for this season sometimes! I’m going slow this year- no tree yet- barely a gift bought! And I’m savoring the Greatest Gift Advent devotional by Ann Voskamp- so good!! May you have a Merry {simple} Christmas!! ♥

    1. I love that, Heather – going slow. It really is freeing, isn’t it?! And anything by Ann is amazing. We have done her Jesse Tree Advent devotional for many years, but are switching it up this year. Merriest Christmas wishes to you too, friend.

  4. Tiffany, I love your approach to Christmas this year. My season is a little crazier than normal due to my husband’a job right now. I’m saying no to doing things when someone else can do them. I’m trying to have time with Jesus each day. And I’m trying to be the mom I need to be for my boys. Patient, gracious.

    I’ll be honest, I needed to set more margins in place . . . Which I see now. So, I’m simplifying where I can and making the most of the rest. 😀 May your Christmas be a sweet time with your family!

    1. I can definitely see how losing an extra set of hands makes things extra busy. I love that you’re saying no in places others can help – that’s huge! I have a really hard time saying no. In fact, I just had to do it this morning and I’m spinning a bit from the guilt. But, I’ll get over it. ;) Wishing you a beautiful Christmas too, friend – and yours will likely be white!!

  5. Hi Tiffany,
    Such a pretty graphic you created and so much insight in your words to inspire us to enjoy the season more simply. Doing just one of your recommended ways to simplify makes a huge difference in giving ourselves the space we need to take a breather and consider the true gift of this season. I was glad to read, though, that you’ll still be making your from-scratch cinnamon rolls! Perhaps you would share the recipe?! :) xoxo

    1. I love that you love the graphic, Valerie – that one was done with blurry eyes around 1am, so I’m happy it turned out! HA! And you know what – it would be fun to share that cinnamon roll recipe here on the blog – a little Christmas treat. Thank you for that idea!!! I’ll plan that for next week. My husband and son can do with me cutting back on everything – but cinnamon rolls from scratch are a long standing tradition! xoxo

  6. This sounds wonderful, Tiffany. I haven’t sent out cards for a few years, and I’m doing more gift cards and online shopping this year. I decorate the because I enjoy that, but I’ve definitely let go of my need to micromanage the tree trimming in recent years; now I let the girls handle most of that. :-) It’s so interesting how some people find certain elements of Christmas draining, while others find them relaxing. I love how you put it: “Your ‘simple’ might look entirely different from mine.” No need for more comparisons here, that’s for sure! I hope you are having a peace-filled week, my friend!

    1. Everyone has their thing, right?! And I truly admire the folks who can bake and craft hours on end without having a meltdown. Their special touches are the stuff of great ideas and just a testimony to how we are each unique. Wishing you a peaceful and lovely Christmas, friend. xoxo

  7. Thanks for sharing these practical ways to do a simple Christmas! I am definitely going to look into Red Stamp. I just kept feeling like this year would be different with cards, so I didn’t buy any. ;)

  8. Cheers to online shopping and focus on the simplicity of the advent message as we approach the beauty of the big celebration. I love your message Tiffany. Visiting from my in box (as always) and from #tellhisstory :)

  9. I totally agree. I’ve been doing less the last few years. This year will have to be simpler still as I’ll be caring for my mother this year. Thanks for a reminder to focus on what really matters.

    1. Praying extra measures of endurance and strength for you, Donna, as you care for mom. I know that can be quite taxing, but what a precious gift of care. Simple just gives you more time to focus on what and who truly matters. Thank you for visiting today.

  10. Hi, friend! I happen to be linking up beside you at Jennifer’s link-up today. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on simplifying Christmas. Our minimizing journey has led us to such a peaceful place, and you know, it hit me this Christmas that, for the first Christmas EVER, I feel NO pressure this year. Last year was so peaceful, too, but it seems even more so this year. There is little that we can control in this life, but one thing we can control is our refusal to buy into consumerism and the mindset of the world around us. It is SO freeing to stop caring what anyone else thinks and focus our lives on pleasing God, only God. I look back and see how far He has brought us and how He is continually more closely aligning us with HIS mind and fine-tuning our focus on what is eternal and away from what is not. Jesus lived a simple life, and the closer we get to Him, the more we see that, crave it, and pursue it with passion. God bless you this Christmas, Tiffany!

    1. I just love that you can account for the fruit of your choice to simplify – and NO pressure, that is such a great testament to the value of choosing less. I too already feel such a freedom in releasing that pressure and choosing carefully what I give my attention too. And yes, I wholeheartedly agree – tasting and seeing the goodness of God only makes us crave it more! Thank you for encouraging me today, Cheryl. I’m so glad you joined the conversation AND that we are neighbors. Blessings, friend.

  11. Yes, yes. This has been the message my soul has needed over and over again, and I think I might finally be grasping it this year. Maybe. :) Thanks for being part of God speaking directly to my heart today. Love you. xoxo

    1. Oh, good – glad we can be in the grasping together. I know, its hard to not run off and get tied up in overwhelming things sometimes, but I’m trying to pause and really think those choices through in light of the big picture. Love you back, friend. Here’s to a simple and sweet Christmas.

  12. Go Tiffany! Simplicity is a blessing. There’s always that fine line between changing our hearts and changing our circumstances. Celebrating Christmas to God’s glory is a walk on that fine line, I find. Some of it’s refocusing in our hearts and some is simplifying our activities. I’ll admit I’m the person who finds paper-card-crafting relaxing. But shopping in busy stores with ALL the stuff everywhere, as well as over-booking activities, leaves me distracted and weary. So I’m shopping online and celebrating in smaller groups at fewer events too. Just prayed for you to enjoy the celebration peacefully this year : ) Thanks for sharing this wisdom!

    1. Well bless your paper crafting heart! ;) I love that your find relaxation there – that’s a good reason to do it. Yes, I’m finding smaller groups and fewer events just makes that fine line so much simpler to walk. Christmas blessings to you, friend.

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