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10 Ways to Simplify Christmas Parties and Gift Giving

how to make holiday parties less stressful

If you don’t simplify Christmas, you won’t enjoy your holiday party, dinner, or even the gift giving! (image by dtweney, flickr)

An hour ago on his radio show, Steven Quinn talked about how stressful Christmas has become. With these best tips for simplifying Christmas dinners, parties, and gift giving, your holidays won’t be something to dread.

These ideas will help you simplify the holiday season and make Christmas easy.

One of my favorite Christmas gift tips is a white elephant gift exchange because  it encourages reusing and recycling – but it’s not about getting rid of your old junk. It’s a great way to simplify Christmas: you give something that you already own, such as a family heirloom or a glossy coffee table book you’ve enjoyed for ages. You could give someone an item they admired when they visited. A white elephant gift exchange can involve your family members, or your work colleagues. It’s a fantastic Christmas party game: pile all the gifts in the center of the group and guests can take turns choosing an unwrapped gift or “steal” one that someone has already opened.

Here are a few more ideas for making Christmas less stressful and easier…

10 Ways to Simplify Christmas Parties and Gift Giving

Prioritize the most important holiday parties. On his radio show, Steven Quinn interviewed a professional organizer – I think her name was Linda Chew – about how to make Christmas less stressful. One of her tips was to only go to parties that you really want to go to. Don’t accept invitations that stress you out, or that involve people you don’t want to see.

Learn how to deal with holiday guilt. It’s easy to suggest that you decline invitations to Christmas parties that you don’t want to go to, but actually declining them is difficult. Sometimes you have to go to certain holiday parties because of work or family obligations. But how many of those “have to’s” and “should go’s” are real, and how many are self-imposed by your guilty self? If you really want to simply Christmas, you need to sort out which is which.

Wrap gifts with paper already at home. Glossy magazine pages, colorful newspapers, old calendars, and children’s art make great, simple Christmas gift wrap. Use cloth or paper bags that your gift recipient can use for trips to the grocery store or library. Simplify Christmas by reducing what you buy and use. Or, stuff gift cards in soft fluffy socks or slippers, or wrap a cookbook in an apron. It’s a good way to simplify Christmas, and it’s fun!

If you’re stressed because you ran out of Christmas gift wrapping paper, here are Creative Ways to Wrap Christmas Gifts. Simple and easy.

Buy all the adults on your list the same tasteful, simple Christmas gift. Local organic wine or beer, tickets to the movies or theatre, specialty coffee shop gift certificates are practical ways to simplify Christmas. Buy six or a dozen instead of shopping for everyone individually. If you have many men to buy for, you’ll find 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Dads Who Love Food and Beer helpful.

Make side dishes days before your Christmas dinner, and freeze or refrigerate until the big day. To simplify Christmas Day, simply reheat your premade dishes. If you need easy Christmas appetizers, read 17 Party Appetizer Ideas and Recipes – From Cheese Penguins to Devils.

Buy an organic precooked turkey or gourmet gravy. Much of the stress and anxiety surrounding Christmas revolves around the turkey and gravy. For an easy Christmas dinner, buy the “big ticket” items already made and just heat them up. This was another tip from Steven Quinn’s radio guest and professional organizer: don’t make the holiday dinner from scratch. She mentioned not stressing out about making your own dough for pumpkin or mincemeat pies. I second that!

Prepare veggies early. Wash, slice, dice and chop your carrots and green beans a day or two before Christmas dinner. Store in plastic baggies until you need them. Simplifying Christmas takes a little advance planning and organization.

Set the table early. To reduce frantic last minute searches for extra napkins or knives, set your dinner table a day or two in advance. That way, you have time to find missing pieces and simplify Christmas dinner.

Delegate tasks. Recruit your partner, kids, family members, and even guests to help simplify Christmas dinner! When everyone is responsible for one or two things, they feel involved and valued – and you feel less stressed. Delegate according to age, ability, and talent. Simplifying Christmas can require short-term effort, but the long-term benefits are excellent.

Let your guests shine. Invite guests to bring their favorite vegetable dishes, desserts, egg nog drinks, bottles of wine, table centerpieces, candles, or Christmas traditions. The more you include people in the planning, organization and execution, the more simple your Christmas will be. Tell guests that you want to simplify Christmas, and you need their help.

Does your family complicate the holidays, and make Christmas stressful? Read Family Fights at Christmas – Tips for De-Escalating Conflict.

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