Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Easier Stress-free Holiday Ideas

I love an over-the-top celebration more than anyone else, but for the past two Christmas seasons I’ve been dialing it down, way down. I’ve only opened my molasses jar once, kind of down. The first thing I did was pick up a gingerbread man kit from Costco.

Four giant gingerbread men with the icing and the candy ready to decorate. It took what used to be a 2 day event into an easy, hour-long activity for my kids with zero prep mess. I may never make homemade gingerbread men ever again (or at least not this year.)


One Present, Not Lots of Presents

We decided on one big present for our family this year: a Wii game console. It’s a little strange not to be stressing out over buying this many toys, or books, or little gifts for each kid; I sure hope they like their one present! If they don’t I don’t care!

Cookie Exchange

Host a cookie exchange with your friends. At first it seems like a lot of work: pick a night and bring 120 cookies that you made, and your friends do the same. You each go around taking a variety of cookies until you have about 10 dozen assorted cookies. Split them onto holiday-themed paper plates, cover with a little red saran wrap, and deliver those cookies to your neighbors. You can have the cookie exchange and take the plates to your neighbors the same night. Your neighbors think you made a bunch of different cookies, you know you spent almost no time with an impressive result.

(Or you could just get a whole bunch of different cookies and feed them to your kids for “Holiday Breakfast”, but that’s on you.)

Here are a few other ideas from our local writers that are fun, easy, or great stress-free holiday ideas:

Reindeer Donuts

Start with little chocolate donuts and let the kids decorate until Rudolph comes home.

Pare Down to the Essentials

Allison recommends paring down the activities you’re planning on doing with your family to just the essentials (like getting a tree, making cookies, lights on a drive, and donating to the needy) and, of course, wrapping your presents early.

6 Solid Ways to Simplify

Carrie has a spot-on list to keep Christmas simple, including the great idea to make the same dish for all your holiday parties.

Want, Need, Wear, Read

Megan suggests narrowing your family gift list to the classic four: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. She even found a printable to make it even easier for your kids!


My biggest stress-free holiday idea? Just say No to everything that’s not essential. Slow it down and enjoy the time.

What are you doing to reduce your holiday stress?


Other posts you might enjoy

Milky Way Sleighs

Holiday Charity and Gift-Giving

 Christmas Crafts for Preschoolers


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Comments (1)

  1. Brooke 12/10/2012 at 9:47 am

    I love this. I’ve been trying to dial it back also, and think it’s all about the essential and not about the extras. My trick is trying to get everything done the first two weeks of December, to be able to enjoy the rest of the month with my family. Cards are done, gifts are wrapped and in the mail, cookie exchange is next Monday!