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A piece of advice I wish I had received before I started my own family is to think ahead when creating holiday traditions and to make things as simple as possible. There are so many things that seem fun or doable for one child or one year. But year after year with additional kids thrown in the mix, things can start to get overwhelming. Especially if you are trying to combine traditions from both sets of parents. Yikes!
Sometimes an activity that at first seemed so festive and fun becomes stressful and overwhelming. Social media can make it seem like parents should make every single hour of every single day festive and fun for their kids, but is that actually necessary to create magical, memorable season?
One of the most important life lessons I have picked up is to "Keep it Simple". Never is this more true then at this time of year. It's way too easy to overcomplicate the holidays you celebrate. Here are a few tips for simplifying your holidays.
Set Appropriate Expectations
Be upfront with yourself and your family. If you are cutting back on presents and activities, let everyone know. One year we purchased a new house, a new car, and took some planned as well as unplanned trips. We let our children know that Christmas would be a little low key that year and talked about all that we had experienced during the course of the year. I'm a firm believer that most of the disappointment in our lives is due to inappropriate expectations. Everyone had a wonderful holiday and did not feel deprived.
Oils for support: An essential oil to help manage expectations is Cardamom. It is an oil that helps with objectivity. It can help you with tolerant feelings. Another is Lemon that helps with feelings of positivity and joy. Add a drop of Cardamom & a couple drops of Lemon together in your diffuser.
You do not have to participate in every holiday event that comes your way. Local tree lighting, Santa visit at the mall, live nativity, gingerbread house festival, Christmas sing-along, etc. The list of potential activities goes on and on. Decide what is important to you and what you and your family will actually enjoy and just stick with those things.
Oils for support: Cypress is an oil that encourages letting go, Lemongrass is an oil of cleansing out what no longer serves you, & Melaleuca is helpful for sticking to boundaries. If you are having trouble simplifying, try creating a roller bottle blend using 10 drops Cypress, 5 drops Lemongrass, 2 drops Melaleuca in a 10 mL roller bottle. Fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil and apply over the heart and lower abdomen to help your heart & core adjust and let go.
Set some parameters on how gifts will be given within your family. This helps so much with overwhelm and helps manage costs, reduces waste, and other things that tend to pile up this season.
There are many different ways to do this. I've heard of each person getting three gifts because that is what baby Jesus received - Gold representing something of value, Frankincense representing something for the soul, and Myrhh representing something for the body. I think this is a lovely idea and I might have done this if I would have heard it first.
When we simplified our holiday for the first time years ago, we decided to do four gifts- something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. In our house, in addition to filling stockings, Santa has always only brought one present for each child. It's so great to shop for each of our kids (and each other) with these categories.
Our kids draw a name for one of their siblings and they have a budget they've agreed to spend and it has evolved as they've grown older.
I don't know about you, but sometimes the shopping aspect of the holidays stresses me out. I try to save and spend money responsibly all year and sometimes the increased emphasis on buying feels out of balance. To help with this I make sure to use some abundance supporting oils.
Oils for support: Try this roller bottle blend for an abundance mindset- 4 drops Wild Orange, 3 drops Frankincense, 2 drops Cinnamon, and 1 drop Geranium. Add to a 10 mL roller bottle and top with fractionated coconut oil. Use on your feet, base of your spine, and lower abdomen.
Reevaluate Your Holiday Meals
Meal planning in December can feel super heavy for me. I have to remind myself that not every meal has to be extravagant and worthy of a magazine spread- even if it's for a gathering or party. What's important is the togetherness and not the actual meal.
I think it's a good idea to have a few "staple" meals on hand this season that can be thrown together super easily. What are some of your family favorites? Enlist your guests to help you cook and don't let the expectations stop you from gathering with friends and family.
What is festive and fun, but still easy and simple to prepare? For us, Christmas Eve is fondue night! I did a study abroad in Switzerland during college and fell in love with this tradition. It's simple to prepare but has a fun and festive feel. Since our family transitioned to fully plant based years ago, we still do fondue on Christmas Eve using whole food plant based ingredients. We still love it and love that it's a little more guilt free.
Is there a more simple way to have your favorites? Could anything be made in advance? This is worth a second look. Holiday food can get super crazy, right?
Oils for support: Peppermint is an oil to turn to this season for help feeling optimistic & buoyant. It helps you keep things light. Tangerine is an oil that is great for feeling spontaneous, creative, and fun. These two oils would be great individually or together to support a change from something heavy, to something more light.
Set the Mood
I love essential oils for many reasons, but the emotional impact they have is probably one of the best things about them. Not only can you use them for personal emotional support during this season, you can also help set the mood during your holiday gatherings.
I can't get enough of the Holiday Joy Blend and Holiday Peace Blend this time of year. Try Holiday Joy with a drop of Cheer blend in your diffuser for instant festive atmosphere. Try Holiday Peace with a drop of Lavender when it's time for a little more calm.
If you need some extra support this time of year to help manage your moods and emotions, essential oils can help. We have some ideas for managing moods during the holidays here.
So take a few minutes to evaluate how you are spending the holiday season. Make sure the things on which you choose to spend your time and money are bringing you joy and treasured memories. You might want to completely cut out certain activities or maybe you find a simpler alternative.
Do you have tips for keeping the holidays simple? Please share in a comment.