19 Ways To Make The Holidays SO Much Simpler

December 13, 2017

Happy Hanukah, kids!

Today’s post is likely the last new one you’ll see from me until 2018. This isn’t really goodbye, though, since we’ve got our top posts of the year on deck; stay tuned for all that jazz. In the meantime, let’s get down with the holiday simplification tips. Stress, be gone.

19 ways to make the holidays SO much simpler.


Make a to-do list. It’s the surest way to stop your mind from feeling like it’s swimming with information and ideas. Capture the thought; alleviate the panic.


Batch those tasks. Use your time to maximum efficiency by grouping together errands, and like tasks.


Call in extra hands. Got a housekeeper? See if they can come and help out on an additional day. Don’t have a regular housekeeper? Hire a cleaner to help you pick up the slack (try an app like Handy if you don’t have a personal recommendation).


But don’t crowd the kitchen with too many cooks, especially if the thought of having more people standing around and waiting for your instruction stresses you out.


Initiate a trade. If you’re hosting dinner and your mom is hosting brunch, help each other out: she brings a dessert for your dinner; you bring the bread for the brunch. Or, she shops for the produce and you shop for the chocolate. Or, you bring the silverware and she brings the candles. Or, she sends over her housekeeper, and you send over your handyman. The point is, come to some mutually beneficial arrangement wherein the trading of effort or resources leads to everyone winning. 


Stop the STUFF-ication. Seriously. Just stop.

Be more mindful than you have been in past years about what–and how much–you’re bringing into your space, your life, and your family’s world. Don’t buy knick knacks just to fill out the lot under the tree. Consume consciously, and gift intentionally, which means keeping in mind the ultimate impact a gift will have on its recipient. 


Already dreading that annual boozy party that inevitably involves your grandma saying things a person never should, your brother’s new wife wearing less clothing than you wish she would, and your sisters leaving with their feelings hurt, or at the very least, feeling painfully misunderstood?

Break with the old and start a new tradition. (How do you think those come about, anyway? Someone steps up and suggests an activity.) Even if you only recruit a few kindred spirits, you’ll still likely enjoy yourself more than if you were to suffer through what’s bound to be a massively triggering event.


USPS offers a pick-up service. Just saying.


So does FedEx.


While you’re at it, might as well use this busy time of year as the perfect moment to utilize the wonders of the internet. Need groceries? Try Instacart. Or Prime Now. Or Amazon Fresh. Need a cleaner? See # 3. Need furniture moved? Orders fetched? Try Dolly. Or Task Rabbit. Need help keeping track of packages you’ve ordered? Try Slice.


If you’re feeling especially short on time, it can’t hurt to ask the places you already frequent if they offer delivery services. Just because you’ve never checked doesn’t mean your dry cleaner doesn’t hand-deliver clothing on request. Just because you’ve always selected your flowers in person doesn’t mean a helpful florist won’t be happy to create an arrangement to your exact specifications over the phone, and then have a blessed errand-person bring them to your door.


Click and pick up. Friends, these are the four magic words in the world of retail. Let’s say it all together: CLICK AND PICK UP. Ain’t nobody got time to meander aimlessly through a madhouse retail environment right about now. (And that’s not to mention the time required to find a parking space to enable you to meander through said too-crowded store.)

The option to click and pick up often means that a store has a dedicated area for you to pull your car into and wait…until an employee brings your order right out to you. At the very least, it means you’ll save yourself the time of physically shopping for the items, since they’ll be waiting at the register for you. Oh and hey, as an added bonus: less time spent inside the store means less opportunity to buy shit you and others don’t need, which means POINT 1 FOR THE LIVE SIMPLY TEAM.


Remember, you may be able to do all the things, but you aren’t the ONLY one who can do all the things. So do the things ONLY you can do, and let others pick up the slack. True, maybe you are the only person in your family who can wrap a present in a manner that does not suggest the wrapper was heavily intoxicated or not yet possessed of their fine motor skills, but you can’t be the only one who can write a card. Maybe you’re the only one who can roast asparagus to perfection, but you can’t be the only one who can set a table. And so on.


Gift with intention by breaking with tradition, being bold, and proposing an entirely novel gifting strategy this year. Do away with “presents” in favor of gifting experiences. Set a price limit for presents. Choose one gift for each person you’ll give to. Just one. (Psst: that’s allowed to include your kids!)


Mail friends and family a holiday card…or don’t. There’s no expectation, and your family won’t cease to exist if members of your address book don’t receive an annual photo and status update.


Stop hoarding other people’s holiday cards.

Seriously, when it’s over, it’s over. The recycling bin is over there.

(Sorry, that item must have slipped onto this list by mistake.)


Put down the screen and soak in the faces. Time together with people you care most about is precious. Don’t squander it. Sever the chains of social media for the moment and just be present. The internet will be there.


Make it beautiful. Embrace the opportunity to distinguish a festive occasion from the everyday. (Mostly because doing so will make you more aware of #17.)


But remember, above all, to Live Simply, which means that your definition of holiday beauty can be whatever and however small or large in scale you choose. So long as it is authentically selected and created with joy, every gathering, tradition, or decoration will be memory-worthy.

Image credit: Sugar Paper


  1. Dax on December 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

    oh and hey!

    • susan on December 14, 2017 at 12:57 am


  2. Melissa on December 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    OMG number 4. I am 43 years old and I have only now just understanding how much stress this causes me. This year I am enforcing it, well as much as I can in an open plan kitchen, dining, living room haha

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  1. Dax on December 13, 2017 at 9:32 am

    oh and hey!

    • susan on December 14, 2017 at 12:57 am


  2. Melissa on December 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    OMG number 4. I am 43 years old and I have only now just understanding how much stress this causes me. This year I am enforcing it, well as much as I can in an open plan kitchen, dining, living room haha

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