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Have you thought about simplifying Christmas? What I mean is to have a holiday season without the stress, without going all out on decorations, events, and gifts. Consider celebrating a much simpler Christmas this year. By scaling back and focusing on the more spiritual side of this holiday, you just might find more joy this season. As a bonus, when you keep thing simple, you have a lot more time to enjoy everything this special time of the year has to offer.

Think back on Christmases past. Chances are that the ones that stand out the most were years when your family didn’t have the money for the fanciest decorations, lots of events leading up to Christmas eve and mountains of presents. Instead, if your family is anything like mine, the ones we remember are the years when we had little. I remember making garlands out of construction paper and stringing up popcorn to decorate the house.

We spent the month of December looking at lights, playing board games, baking cookies, and singing Christmas Carols. The gifts were less expensive, but more meaningful and often homemade. It’s those simple Christmases that stand out in my mind. They are some of my most treasured memories and the same holds true for the rest of my family.

This year we’re trying to keep it simple, and I’d like to invite you to join along. We’re not buying more decorations. Instead, we’re sorting through what we have, picking the things we love and giving away the rest. The house is less cluttered and the decorations that are up stand out. As a bonus it’s easier to clean and it will be much quicker to put away everything come January.

Our calendar is a lot lighter this year as well. We’ve chosen a handful of activities and events that I know we’ll enjoy. The rest of the time will be spent as a family, baking cookies, crafting, and watching our favorite holiday movies.

When it comes to presents, we’ve decided to implement the four-gift rule. Each one of us will receive a total of four presents. One will gift will be something each of us really wants. The second one will be something we need, the third something to wear, and the fourth something to read. If you prefer, you can combine two of the gifts (something they need and something to wear) and make it a three gift rule to represent the three gifts the wise men brought to Jesus.

I hope you give a simpler Christmas a try this year and see if you can’t enjoy a calmer and more meaningful holiday season. Merry Christmas!