5 ideas to keep Christmas simple but still meaningful

Christmas gifts | www.organisingqueen.com

We had a really simple Christmas this year and it honestly didn’t feel like we lacked for anything.

  1. I didn’t put out all the “decor” – I only decorated til it felt like enough
  2. I don’t think many people in Jhb went away like they normally do because the shops were crazy busy right to the end… and I am not a lover of crowded shops anyway, so there’s that too.
  3. The post office didn’t have stamps (I wish this was a joke – it’s not) so I sent Christmas cards to 3 people because I had 3 stamps in my wallet, and handed a few more out to friends that I saw over the last two weeks.
  4. Normally I make a ginormous amount of biscuits (cookies) or sweet treats and “run around Jhb” handing these out to friends. No more. I made just enough for the 3 friends I was seeing.

Christmas gifts | www.organisingqueen.com

Here are a few things that we did quite unintentionally, which is precisely why I’m writing them down so I’ll remember for next year:

1. Resolve not to buy any new gift wrap and use up any paper you haveChristmas gifts | www.organisingqueen.com

I’m someone who saves gift bags (for what, I don’t quite know – it’s not like I’m going to 50 parties a year) and of course, I have that thing for pretty stationery so I have a good selection of gift wrap, gift tags and ribbons.

I said to D in front of the kids that we are not buying a single roll of wrapping paper – there is plenty in this house, probably enough for the whole street.

And then I walked into a store about 3 weeks ago and OH, such beautiful paper which I automatically reached for and put in my trolley (cart). Kendra (6!) then reminded me, “Mummy, you said we’re not buying any wrapping paper this year”. I tried to reason with her but she made me put it back.

You may think gift wrap has to be Christmassy but we started with some leftover Christmas wrap, and then used all the red/ orange paper, and then the green ones.

2. Make your wrapping process easy

Christmas gifts | www.organisingqueen.com

If you have to buy paper, buy a package of 20 standard flat gift bags. I didn’t buy these green with white polka dots for Christmas this year but they were in my stash. I like to buy these in a size that’s quite versatile and definitely big enough for a book.

I also had a similar pack of smaller green with white stripes. Those were great for the smaller gifts like packages of sweets/ chocolates which are a rarity around here.

Mostly everything fitted into these 2 sets of standard gift bags which thrilled me. But the best part was the time saved. Slipping the gift in and adding two pieces of Sellotape, tying a ribbon and writing a gift tag = under 3 minutes.

I did set up a gift wrap station – even that sounds too glamorous – basically, I dedicated one desk to wrapping and set out the gift bags, sellotape and gift tags all in one place. Done.

3. Use up all your old Christmas cards

Same story here, except I stopped buying Christmas cards about 3 – 4 years ago. Yes, I had that many. Last year I bought one pack of 8, and I did the same this year. We have 4 cards left now (and a gazillion gift tags) so I will have to buy some more cards next year.

4. Buy gifts at the grocery store

I only went to one store to do food shopping and I got some gifts (clothes, sweets, chocolates, stationery) all in the same place. If you’ve got a plan, you can get it all done in the same place, or online. Design Mom had a post a few weeks ago (that I suddenly can’t find) about gifting things like pretty cleaning supplies, etc. I don’t know if it’s just the people I hang with, but I’m quite sure those wouldn’t go over that well. Still, the concept is the same. Easy gift-giving for the win!

5. Don’t get family photos done

Usually we get annual photos done in Oct/ Nov. This year our photographer couldn’t fit us in so we still have not had “professional” family photos… and I feel no pressure to get them done now.

So we used to have this pressure to get the disc back to print and send these photos to our families and friends. No photos, no pressure 🙂

This may not work for you, but it worked for us.

Tell me, friends, what were your good ideas (unintentional or not) that made Christmas simple for you?

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  1. I kept it simple. Invited only two people over for Christmas and didn’t cook like I was having an army over. Usually I would make like 3 or 4 desserts!! Seriously why I don’t know. This year I made just one vanilla cake and we had ice creams and fruits and some of the cookies I had made to give away.

    I don’t put myself under any pressure to give gifts (and I don’t expect any either) so less shopping because I can’t deal with the crowds.

    I only buy Christmas decor after the holidays – when there are deep
    Discounts . That way I have new decor for the coming Christmas at close to rock bottom prices.

    Our family shoot i plan to coincide with K’s birthday which works because it is in November anyway

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