How to simplify your to-do list this holiday season

I love the holidays, decorating, spending time with family and friends, cooking & sharing delicious food, and picking out gifts I think people will really like.

I also don’t love the holidays, the extra cleaning, wrapping presents (so annoying and time-consuming), getting out of my normal routines feels stressful, the high expectations for picture-perfect events often leads to stress or disappointment when people inevitably act like imperfect humans and did I mention the extra cleaning, dishes, and laundry?

So here’s what I would suggest, if I may. Make your own list of the things that you love about the holidays and the things that you don’t. You are not a grinch or a whiner because you don’t love all the things! You are a human who needs grace, help, self-care, and to know that it’s ok to like some parts of something and not others.

First look at your list of things you don’t love, with an open heart and open mind. Brainstorm 10 ways you could do things differently for each one. Try these on for size and come up with your own as well. Let’s use baking pies as an example but know that this process can be applied to everything on your list.

  1. Do you have to do this task at all? Maybe you could just simply delete it?
  2. Could someone else do it? A guest that is coming or someone in your home who is very attached to the tradition of having pie at your table?
  3. Could you outsource it? Pick up a pie at the store or pay a friend who could use the extra money.
  4. Simplify it and make something easier, like apple crisp!
  5. Order pie from instacart and pop it in the freezer, just be sure to tip your shopper generously!
  6. Get an invite to someone else’s house and offer to bring dinner rolls from the bakery.
  7. Go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant and have a pie that a pastry chef made.
  8. Make pie baking a fun activity, have a few friends over for a baking party.
  9. Buy premade crust at the store and cans of filling.
  10. Make up a story about how pies are a tool of the patriarchy designed to keep women from reaching their full potential and you’ll no longer participate! No one will touch that with a 10-foot pole, lol!

I’m sure you can tell I’m just kidding with number ten, or am I......

The best part of coming up with ten or more ideas is that it’s fun and can often lead to even more creative solutions. You may just end up not cooking at all and having an amazing day and a fancy dinner with no dishes to wash at all. All because you decided to listen to your heart and let go of something that doesn’t bring YOU joy.

Your holidays should have more of what lights you up and less of what doesn’t, and figuring out what these things are is the first step to a holiday season that fills your cup and doesn’t stress you out (too much).


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