How I Plan To Have A Happy Holiday Season This December

#1 – Decorate outside early. Decorate everywhere simply.

Slowly our neighborhood is transforming into a holiday wonderland.

Those of us who don’t do Black Friday spent last Friday, a warmish, dry day, putting out holiday decorations.  Everyone who I saw outside seemed happy, although a few people were mowing their lawns for reasons unclear to me.

But whatevs.

We never do more exterior decorating than a couple of lighted wreaths on two windows and a few nets of multi-colored lights on some bushes by the front door.

As for the inside of the house, we’ve gone with one skinny decorated Christmas tree in the TV room, a small jingle bell wreath on the hutch in the kitchen, an antique nativity scene in the dining room, a growing Amaryllis in the living room + a stack of cutesy decorative boxes in the foyer in place of fresh flowers.

EZPZ.  And it’s festive enough.

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#2 – Do not have a big holiday office party at The house.

For the first time in five years we aren’t having a holiday party on the first Friday in December.

This means that we haven’t needed to move half of our furniture into the basement or garage so that our 50+ guests have somewhere to stand.  We don’t have cases of wine and beer and other libations piled in the garage.

We aren’t running to the grocery to buy all the ingredients to make dips and create cheese plates.  And we have not ordered even one plate of sandwiches or cookies that need to be picked up after 4:00 pm the day of the party.

To say I feel carefree and giddy this week is an understatement.

Not being a hostess rocks. 

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#3 – Disengage from the holiday crazy whenever possible.

Considering I decided that 2015 would be the year of the recluse, my holiday social calendar is delightfully almost empty.

To wit, I’m doing one special event each week in December.  This way I hope to not be overwhelmed with travel and holiday attire and food + booze and Christmas-obsessed extraverted people who inexplicably enjoy this time of year.

Nope, this year I’m putting myself in the holiday mood by avoiding as much of the holiday hoopla as I can.

Paradoxical, perhaps.  But that’s my happy plan.

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AND YOU, MY GENTLE READERS, WHAT’S UP WITH YOU THIS MONTH OF FORCED FRIVOLITY DECEMBER?  TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

37 thoughts on “How I Plan To Have A Happy Holiday Season This December”

  1. Like you, I have lived a pared down holiday season for the past four or five years. I don’t do well this time of year anyway so it’s been very beneficial to me to keep things simple and low key. I have a couple of birthdays to acknowledge, one party, and maybe a pot-luck at a friend’s house for New Year’s Eve. The trick will be to spend this time holed up in the Lair, sipping on warm comforting (non-alcoholic) drinks while reading or writing good books. 🙂

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    1. Satin Sheet Diva, this is the first year in ages that I feel like I might be able to enjoy the holiday season. You said it with: low-key… which in my case means less stuff and fewer people. It’s a sane plan, I believe– and I’m sticking with it because I want to find myself refreshed in January, not exhausted.

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  2. Oh my! I guess I’m one of those people that go crazy this time of year. I spent ALL day Saturday decorating the inside of our house. It’s very Christmasy….everywhere! Hubby spent the day decorating the outside. And of course, I’m playing music everywhere in the community even up to Christmas Eve. At least I don’t have to do a lot of baking since we are going to Ohio next month instead of this month. Looking forward to the newest member’s first Christmas and even more so to our son and his wife, whom we haven’t seen for over two years, visiting right after Christmas. Cheers!

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    1. Beth, you’ve been a Christmas nut for as long as I’ve known you! Obviously it energizes you & makes you feel happy. But I find the whole holiday scene to be taxing, so this year I’m setting limits on what I’ll do– and who I’ll do things with. Very introverted of me, eh? 🙂

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  3. I haven’t entertained largely (over 50 people) in 2 decades and I don’t miss it. I was always working — clearing, setting out more, making sure people had drinks. If I have people in, the number has to fit the number of chairs I have! This year we have started limiting the “engagements” to one per week. Inevitably some weeks will end up with more like next week but I really hate back to back social events even when I love the people. Working in more alone time works! My goal is to not collapse on Christmas day.

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    1. Kate, those big parties, even with helper elves, are an energy drain for me. So no more! I’m trying to do one event that I truly enjoy each week, instead of socializing all over the place. I like your goal of not collapsing on Christmas Day. It’s a good one I can get behind 100%.

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  4. I refuse to have anything to do with Christmas until after Thanksgiving. That being said, I love it when the lights start going up in December. Ours should be up next weekend. You are a stronger person than me for attempting to host an office party at your home in years past.

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    1. Allie, I agree about no Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Of course in previous years we had to put Christmas up in Nov because of the party, but henceforth my new rule is no trees before turkey! 😉

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  5. Where I live is nowhere near my friends so even if I wanted the holiday hoopla, it’s not here. I’ve never been a big entertainer, the holidays have been about family. It’s weird this year to not have any gifts to buy or family to spend it with. I do like your plan of intentionally de-stressing. The holidays should be about what you and your family enjoys, not spinning around on the holiday merry-go-round because you think you should.

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    1. Zazamataz, I’ve been on the holiday merry-go-round for too long. Ironically it seemed to happen when I realized all my family was gone, so I filled in the emptiness with doing. But I’m in a different frame of mind now, so I’m embracing my own free-spirited nature & doing what I want this holiday season.

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  6. I’m with you: low-key and simple. Each year I’ve pared it down a little bit more, not to be a Scrooge, but to stay truer to the Spirit Of The Season itself and what it truly means to me.

    Have YOUR Christmas, then, and celebrate it.

    My sister already has her tree up and a zillion lights all over. She loves being surrounded by The Holiday. That’s her way. How are we even related? 🙂

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    1. nance, this year is a dramatic change for us from the last few. I’m liking it for the reason you mentioned: it’s more in tune with the spirit of the season. I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys all the activity & decorating, but have come to realize I’m not one of those people, so why pretend otherwise?

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    1. evilsquirrel13, not even one puny little poinsettia sitting on the kitchen counter?! I can go for less decorating, but I do need at least one decorative item to remind me which holiday we’re focusing on now! Of course, maybe that’s what the cat hair does for you.

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  7. I’ve been so busy that to see December on the calendar today put me in a tizzy. I haven’t even thought of Christmas prep. So I’m going to try to do your #3. It’s not that I go to any social events (surprise, surprise), but I do so much with gifts, wrapping, and baking. I’m going to try to accept doing less this year. We’ll see how long that lasts…

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    1. Carrie, I’m being intentional and rational about Christmas this year. I enjoy some socializing, but I am much calmer just thinking about how I’ll have down time between each event. Best of luck with the doing less idea– you can do, I know that you can!

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  8. You have an excellent plan! Mine may not be quite as calm and simple. Every weekend from now until Christmas is planned (cookie baking, church activities, etc) and family is coming for the holidays, so I need to plan meals and activities that will keep my brother from saying, “I’m bored.” Meanwhile, the tree is up, but it needs decorations and the many boxes of ornaments and trinkets and stuff need to disappear before the cats eat something they shouldn’t. Falala!

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    1. bikerchick57, you sound busy, but at least you know what needs to be done. I think merely having a schedule mapped out in your brain can keep the Christmas crazies in their place. Good luck with your brother and your cats!

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  9. I love your approach to the holidays. I’ve been hunkering down inside. Cleaning drawers and organizing clothes. Ordering what I need in necessities. Planning to relax more in December and step back from blogging and promoting. Mom and I may make some paper snowflakes for the windows.

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    1. Kourtney, your December plans sound good to me, relaxing and rejuvenating. I love paper snowflakes! I haven’t made any in years. In fact, now that I think about it, I might have to set aside a time dedicated to snowflake creation… maybe while watching The Grinch and Charlie Brown’s Christmas? That would be a fun low-key holiday activity for me. 🙂

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  10. When the kids were younger, we couldn’t avoid LOTS of holiday hoopla, like concerts and other activities. They were great and I wouldn’t have missed them, but also stressful. I didn’t enjoy being that busy. I’m doing what you are and limiting my obligations. I’m decorating less and enjoying more. And I’m FINALLY making it to the Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker, which I’ve always wanted to see. I’ve seen several other productions, but not that one.

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    1. Margaret, I can only imagine how stressful holiday time is/was with kids. Happy to know that you’re beyond that now. I’m glad that you’re going to see The Nutcracker. It’s fascinating, and differs greatly depending on who is putting on the performance. You, and all the other little kids seeing it for the first time, will love it. 😉

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      1. We went to the Nutcracker when I lived in Wyoming. I think the troupe was out of Denver. They used recorded music rather than live musicians and it suddenly crashed during the middle of the production. We had about 15 minutes of the dancers sitting down on the stage and chatting with the audience. They were a good troupe of dancers but that made it extra special, not really spoiling the evening at all.

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  11. Good rules. Speaking of outdoor decorations, like inflatable dinosaurs wearing Santa hats and the inflatable Darth Vader with Kaleidoscope Death Star, most outdoor Christmas decorations just aren’t classy anymore.

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    1. I agree la p. We keep ours low-key: no inflatables, no runway lights up to the door, no movement-activated music. Just a couple of wreaths, some red bows and a few light nets on the bushes. Understated and stylish is how I’d describe it. Neighbors, of course, might say underwhelming and cheap!

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