close up of christmas decoration hanging on tree

8 Tips for Keeping it Simple at Christmas

Every year, Friends got a lot of mileage out of holiday angst in their Thanksgiving episodes.

There’s an expectation that major holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends. And that’s not a bad thing. However, bringing together a group of people with a range of ideas and expectations as to how the holiday should be celebrated can lead to stress, discontent, and a less-than-stellar time of celebration.

A little planning will go a long way to minimize the relationship friction which can occur.

Here are eight tips to help keep things simple at Christmas.

  1. Find out the expectations up front. When you start planning who is going to be visiting at Christmas, find out what their expectations are.
  2. Coordinate everyone’s expectations. Create a master list. Figure out which expectations are similar; which are different; which can be done individually; and which are group activities.
  3. Decide what you are going to do. Create a schedule. You’re not going to be able to meet every expectation of every person. There’s only so much time, so put the time to the best use.
  4. Simplify the plans. The less complex an activity is, the more likely it will be enjoyed by all.
  5. Decide who will help with each activity. Let the visitors know that their help is needed if expectations are to be met.
  6. Don’t do everything together. If half the group wants to go skating and the other half to a carol service, let them go. Don’t try and force everyone to share all the activities.
  7. Do less. Figure out which things are necessary to do, which would be nice to do, which can be put off for a few days. The vacuuming can wait a couple of days so the group can go skating on Boxing Day.
  8. Enjoy. The whole point of getting together during the holidays is to enjoy yourself and each other’s company. Don’t fill the schedule so full that there’s no time to visit. Don’t make activities so complex that you’re exhausted at the end of the day.

Celebrations don’t need to be high-stress times. Figure out what’s important, plan, and plan early. Then sit back and get the most enjoyment out of the holiday.