Avoid the holiday pressure of visiting or hosting out-of-town relatives. Instead, suggest an "early" Christmas or a New Year's Day gathering with relatives.
Instead of creating and sending a costly holiday card, consider e-mailing a holiday message with a photo. You will save precious postage and time. Or create a holiday postcard, perhaps using a picture drawn by your child. If you must send a card, forego the holiday photo shoot and consider using a picture from a summer vacation, recent birthday party, or family trip.
Avoid the mall altogether by making homemade presents and cards. Better yet, shop online for the kids and get gift certificates for the grown-ups.
Before saying "yes" to extra holiday parties, events, and activities that take you away from your family, consider your own promise to yourself for a simpler holiday season. Remember: When you say "yes" to one thing, you're saying "no" to another—usually yourself, your own family, and your own peace of mind. Learn to say "no."
Do Unto Others
Designate time during the holiday season to think about giving, not receiving. Your entire family will benefit from showing love to others.
Make a holiday food basket for a needy family. Have your children make homemade cards or ornaments.
Invite a lonely neighbor to help you decorate your Christmas tree.
Create a "holiday plate." Fill a plate with holiday treats and leave for a neighbor. In turn, that neighbor creates a plate and passes it along to another neighbor.
Pick a "wish star" or "wish list" up from your church, synagogue, school, or community center. Go shopping with your children to pick out small toys, mittens, and stuffed animals to donate.
May your days be merry and bright, and may all your holidays be . . . simple!