When most people speak of reducing clutter and simplifying their lives, they often refer to it as downsizing. Getting rid of the car. Buying in to the tiny house craze. Going minimalist with your furnishings.

Not me.

Downsizing to me means getting rid of the stress. Buying in to the “me time” craze. Going full-on-comfort with your furnishings.

Downsizing need not leave you feeling empty, like you have lost your “things”. Clearly it means different things to different people but in my mind, if you can eliminate the items/people/tasks that added clutter and disorganization to your mind, then you have downsized. You have reduced. You have simplified.

This holiday season I enlisted a few close friends to fall in with my new plan of rethinking the way I did Christmas. Back on my About page I mentioned the conversation I had with a customer many years ago and finally decided it was time.

There were three rules:

  • No gifts over $10, if any, to see how far a tenner could go.

  • If you could make it, bake it, or create it, it was fair game and the sky was the limit.

  • And we would do something together with our kids that somehow made this crazy world a better place at some point within the year.

And it was probably the best Christmas I have had in a long, long time. Not only did I get to unleash my creative beast, but I got oodles of my favourite cookies, hand made woolly items for cold winter days, and snacks for miles!

I have decided to carry that into all holidays and birthdays with my amazing tribe of women. I cannot thank them enough for bringing a dose of fun and creativity back into the holidays with me.

It did feel weird though, to not have a closet full of random presents that I had to try and keep track of for a month or so. It also felt weird not to stop and buy, buy, BUY leading up to Christmas.

When you are actively NOT buying, it becomes very easy to see why you actually DO keep buying right up to the big day. You lose track of what you have. You see that one more perfect thing. You figure oh its only a few bucks. And before you know it, you have more than you need, more than they’ll use, more than is necessary.

So a challenge to you all then. I don’t expect everyone to go all Martha Stewart right away, but give some thought to downsizing your holiday stress. Is there someone in your world who might actually appreciate a handmade item, no matter how decidedly UN-crafty it may end up looking? Do you have a friend who has told you they LOVE your baking? Does your partner keep mentioning wanting to volunteer together at a local event?

Let that be your gift.


How do you think you can simplify a stressful holiday season? Got any great tips on easy-to-make gifts, baking hacks, or cool craft ideas? Share in the comments!