Simplify Your Christmas

Written by Gail Rodgers

“Fragmented”, she replied when I asked her how she was feeling. She had bought into the common philosophy that being busy is somehow a virtue.

I’ve been there too. Most of us have. We buy into the notion that we must “be more”, “do more” and have more”. We find ourselves fragmented and stretched like a piece of worn out elastic.

Oh, there are seasons of life where busyness does prevail and we run. Yet when it becomes a constant way of life, and we run weary, we need to take action. Simplicity can be a choice.

I’ve learned a few things that help make Christmas simple for me. Let me share them…maybe they will appeal to you too…

Use scents

Remember how good a spring rain smells or a wood fire in the fireplace? Scents bring back memories. Use them to create the festive atmosphere in your home. They will instantly greet those who come through your door and will trigger memories in years to come.

  • Cinnamon, cloves and pine are prime Christmas scents. Simmer a little of the spices on the stove or in a pourpori cup. Light a scented candle.
  • Pine scent can come in a can or you can get some branches from the local Christmas Tree Vendor. They give off a wonderful fresh smell. Even just bundled with a pretty red ribbon they will add to the festive feeling no matter what else you have or haven’t put out.


Little white lights can go up early and stay long past Christmas. They have a charm of their own. I string some through a wreath or around a window. With dimmed lights and the fragrance of spices in the air the feeling of Christmas will pleasantly surprise you.

Candlelight is great too for creating atmosphere in a simple and elegant way. Reduce your stress, decorations and cost and let the lighting create the magic!

Simple food

Food is a big part of the holiday fun as well as a big part of the budget. Consciously keep it simple.

  • Fill your slow cooker with apple juice and dilute it a bit with water. Add a handful of cinnamon sticks and simmer. Some cranberry juice can be added for a fuller flavor. Keep some of the cinnamon sticks handy to pop into steaming mugs as guests come and go.
  • Fresh baking smells wonderful and can be achieved so easily with some croissants or cookies from the dairy section of the grocery store. Pop them in the oven and refuse to feel any guilt. Any baking time you save can be better used for decorating those cookies with the kids. Making a memory is more important than making an impression.
  • One very busy December I kept the ingredients for one simple recipe on hand. If guests were coming or if I had to take a plate of goodies to an event, I just made this very simple recipe over and over. I was amazed at how nicely I got through the season without my usual list of baking done! With a few bought Nanaimo bars added to a pretty paper plate it was all I needed.
  • Christmas napkins are a must. A simple dessert square, set on a pretty napkin beside a steaming cup of apple cider complete with cinnamon stick, will relax both you and your guests as you enjoy the Christmas atmosphere you have so simply created.

Create simple traditions

Make traditions for your children or grandchildren to remember.

  • Simple things like setting out the Nativity scene and placing the Wiseman across the living room. Each week the kids can march them part way to their destination as you talk about Jesus birth and the real meaning of Christmas.
  • Plan a time to sit by the soft light and read the Christmas story out loud. Read it right from the Bible in Luke chapter 2 or use a children’s book that will become a familiar part of your Christmas tradition.

Once you start thinking “simplicity” you will come up with all kinds of ideas of your own. Give yourself permission to keep it simple this Christmas and enjoy the season in a fresh way.

2 Responses to “Simplify Your Christmas”

Leave a Reply

Start a Conversation

Latest Comments

  • dooogily said: First thing you know when you go to college, is...
  • Leslie Allan said: Hi Jamie. I'm pleased to say that we have not been...
  • Jamie said: You sure do give a person a lot to think about Leslie....