family outside a cabin demonstrating how to declutter your holidays

What Does it Mean to Declutter Your Holidays?

When you think of classic holiday images what comes to mind? Curling up by the fire with a loved one? Children joyfully opening long-awaited gifts? Steaming cups of hot cocoa? How about a small group of family and friends laughing together over a plentiful dinner?

Unfortunately, the reality has become images of angry crowds on Black Friday, frantic runs to the grocery store, and the chaos of holiday parties no one even wants to be at.

All of the holiday songs promise us a season filled with joy, peace and goodwill toward all. Instead, we have turned them into obligation-filled days of family gatherings and holiday parties that lead to frustration, guilt, anxiety, and exhaustion.

By decluttering your holidays, you can simplify them and bring back the joy and gratitude of the season. Take control with these tips to rediscover the joy of the season.

Carve Out Quality Time

With the craziness of the holidays, families find themselves running here, there, and everywhere together without ever actually spending time with each other.

As soon as you enter most traditional of holiday parties, the kids run down to the basement to play with their cousins, one group of people is gathered around the TV to watch football, and another group is torn between helping prepare the meal, making sure the kids in the basement aren’t getting into trouble or sitting down in front of the TV.

Your family unit deserves to have time prioritized to spend together.

Instead of getting lost in the chaos, intentionally declutter your holidays and plan for time alone with your spouse and your children to share holiday traditions with meaning.

Try one or two of these this weekend.

Minimize to Maximize

Take it back to basics by choosing which people you want to spend your holidays with. Spending them with the people you’re afraid to disappoint feels like you don’t have control over your own experience. Purposefully giving yourself quiet time can make it much easier to face the noise and chaos of a traditional holiday gathering.

Minimize your holidays by planning a special night out to eat. My husband and I spend every Christmas Eve together, just the two of us, at a special holiday dinner a local Scottish restaurant every year. You can create your own new traditions that bring back those cozy holiday images of couples at a candle-lit dinner or a small group of friends sharing a cup of cheer.

Is there a restaurant your family loves to go to? Or a new place you’ve been waiting to try? Many restaurants offer special holiday meals, just be sure to make reservations ahead of time as you won’t be the only ones with this idea!

Learn to Say No

It’s okay to say “no” to any holiday parties you aren’t excited about, even family parties. You don’t have to go to every single event over November and December.

Attending every gathering out of a sense of obligation will fray your nerves. Running from one party to the next, putting on and taking off coats, boots, and mittens over and over, often in the same day, will leave you so exhausted you won’t be able to enjoy yourself. You know I’m right.

Write down which events sound fun or enjoyable, and which ones sound like they’ll drain what little energy you have left. Simply let the hosts of the events you won’t be attending know you aren’t available that day – you don’t even have to give an explanation!

Saying “no” is setting a healthy boundary that we hesitate to use out of fear of upsetting others. You might be surprised at how accepting people are of your “no.” If there are some who try to change your mind by playing on your guilt, that’s what tells you that you definitely made the right choice.

Skip it Altogether!

A trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years is that of traveling somewhere fun, special or unique for the holidays. I’ve even done it!

Thanksgiving 2018 I was with my husband in Cusco, Peru. We got Kentucky Fried Chicken (close enough to turkey), took it back to our hotel room, and ate sitting on the bed together. That is the most memorable, and cherished Thanksgiving I have ever had.

You don’t have to go that far, of course!

Whether you have children or not, you might choose to go somewhere within a reasonable drive, like a quaint little vacation town, or a big city. Or you might choose to fly to somewhere warm if you live in the north. You can change it up next year!

These are memories that will last. “Remember that year we went to…?” will become a common phrase in your home. Whether a cozy cabin in the woods, a quaint bed and breakfast, a bright city holiday, or a beach vacation you can create a unique holiday experience all your own.

Are You Ready to Declutter Your Holidays?

The old rules don’t apply any more. You get to take control and rid yourself of the frustration, guilt and anxiety of previous holidays. Regardless of whether you’re on your own, celebrating with a partner, or with children, you get to choose what your holidays look like. New traditions start today. So, if you’re ready to be done with the aggravation of obligatory holiday gatherings, it’s time to declutter your holidays!

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Stay informed and inspired with the best of the week in Los Angeles, etc. and more ...

Stay informed & Inspired