11 Simple Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season Slowly and Joyfully

Celebrate the holiday season joyfully and simply.

Decide to slow down, simplify, and actually enjoy the holiday season this year.

Somewhere along the way, how we celebrate the season has gotten out of hand. Back in the day, when my grandparents were still with us, the holiday was so much simpler. There was a tree, a great holiday meal, and the children of the family got a few gifts. Sure, there was a little more to it than that, but whatever was done was simple, enjoyable, and not about spending money. The emphasis was on having experiences. Adults didn’t exchange gifts for the most part; there were no holiday cruises to the Caribbean; baking was done, but there wasn’t the expectation that cookies had to be gifted to everyone including the teacher, mail carrier, bank teller, and every neighbor within a one-mile radius. The holidays were just simpler.

There is something to be said about getting back to that way of thinking of celebrating the holiday season without all the fuss, rush, and mass-consumerism. Instead, we can all make a conscious effort to buy less (and gift less, because most of us do not need more stuff) and spend more time with our families creating good memories–not memories of standing in line for stuff at the mall.

Need a little inspiration for how to slow down and ‘smell the mistletoe’ this holiday season? Here are some simple ideas for experiencing the joy of the season without all the stress.

11 Inspiring Ideas for Enjoying the Holiday Season

  1. Make hot chocolate–from scratch. It’s super simple, and it tastes so much better than that powdered mix in a packet. You can find a recipe for a vegan version here.
  2. Go ice skating! Instead of buying your kids the latest video game, take them ice skating. When was the last time you ice skated?
  3. If you enjoy being crafty, make homemade gifts. Everyone appreciates a jar of handmade applesauce or homemade snowglobes!
  4. If you are committed to shopping this season, participate in the Adopt-A-Program and buy gifts for a family who needs them.
  5. Instead of rushing around in the evenings buying presents, spend the time opening the advent calendar and reading holiday season stories with your kids.
  6. Create holiday memories by visiting a historic house museum all decorated for the holiday season with your extended family. Better yet, buy everyone a membership and support your favorite local museum.
  7. Take a trip to a local sustainable Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree with your family. It’s much more environmentally-friendly and so much more fun than picking one up at the big box home improvement store.
  8. Make homemade eggnog, Christmas punch, mulled wine, or some other tasty adult beverage to serve on Christmas day.
  9. Give up gifting completely (at least for adults). My husband and I no longer buy gifts for adults. Instead, we donate the money we would have spent to a local food bank or shelter.
  10. Only decorate if you enjoy it. Some years I forgo the tree and all the trimmings, and other years I go all out. I don’t feel obligated to decorate, and that means I thoroughly enjoy when I do it.
  11. When I do shop (strictly for kids only), I try to buy local. I seek out small independent book shops, go to artisan fairs and the like. I find I actually enjoy the experience of holiday season shopping that way!

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Image: Father and Son Play via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.