How to simplify the holidays

by | Announcements | 17 comments


I am hard at work (in partnership from the lovely Aud Neal) on a very special project for you: a holiday workbook. You’ll start to see things popping up in the sidebar very soon and I’ll be asking questions here and there to help us get ready for you. This free set of weekly lessons and companion blog posts will:

  • be consistent with the themes and messages of Simple Scrapper
  • emphasize capturing moments and stories
  • have tips and support on photography, journaling and scrapping
  • include free templates to help you record your holiday memories

How this workbook/class is unique:

  • No advance preparation required – you can jump right in
  • Weekly assignments to complete at your own pace
  • Simplicity is the focus: make memories now, scrap later
  • Journaling-friendly templates with room for multiple photos
  • 100% free to download & participate

Our goal is to make holiday memory keeping stress-free and fun! We want you to live in the moment and not worry about the details of your scrapbook.

Since we’re tackling this part of the holidays for you, I wanted to end this blog post with a discussion on the rest of the story. I’ve been reading some great blog posts at Simple Mom, Organizing your Way and The Creative Mama on keeping the season simple.

Share in the comments one tip you use to maintain sanity during the busiest time of the year. I’ll compile your tips and share them in the workbook!

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Tami

    Thank you so much for working on an organizer. What a generous gift of your time and talent!

    To make my holidays simpler, I’ve tried to find a few no-fail, but really special recipes for my homemade gifts for friends and neighbors. I use them each year, or rotate them year to year. Yes, people usually know what they’re getting from me, but I don’t have to worry about the execution of the gift, and can devote more time to making a pretty, meaningful presentation. I do love trying new things, I just experiment during the slower months. If something is a hit with my family, I put the idea in the holiday rotation and wait (impatiently) for the opportunity to re-create the idea or recipe in the form of a gift.

    • Jennifer

      What types of things you do make? I’m really just starting off as domestic-goddess-in-charge-of-holiday-food-gifts. The only thing in my repertoire thus far is white chocolate covered pretzels.

      • Tami

        Off the top of my head, I have a few truffle recipes, peppermint bark, hot chocolate mix with peppermint topped marshmallows, a version of thin mint cookies (we have a thing for peppermint around here) and cranberry bread. As you can see, these aren’t gourmet, but I’ve tried to find really good versions of these recipes. Plus, many of the people I share these with are working moms who are just too busy to make some of these snacks. As I’m writing this list, I’m realizing that I haven’t done anything savory in a while. Something to work on – next year 🙂

  2. Mandi @ Organizing Your Way

    Thanks so much for the link! I can’t wait to see your workbook; it sounds amazing!

    One thing we’re doing this year to simplify the holidays is limiting the number of gifts our girls get. We had to have a heart-to-heart with all the grandparents to seriously limit the number of gifts each of them give, and I think everyone understands where we’re coming from. I’m looking forward to a simple holiday without dozens of “junky” toys to deal with!

    • Jennifer

      One of the things we started doing for the older kids (8+) is giving them gift cards with a smaller gift. They absolutely love having their own money to spend.

      • Tami

        Love this idea!

    • Patricia

      My brother and sister have asked that grandparents, aunts/uncles only give one gift and IF they want to give more to give an investment of cash that cannot be spent by the children until they’re older. And they’re teaching their children how to invest and make your money make money for you. Great gift in-and-of itself.

  3. Patricia

    One of my favorite ways to save time during the holidays (or any time really) is when I cook a meal I double it and then freeze the doubled part. Then all I have to do is pull a meal out of the freezer in the morning when leaving for work and then either cooking when I come home for dinner.

    Some examples would be meat loaf (freeze before cooking or only cook half the time), beef stew and chili (both of these you’d cook completely – you can actually make lots of meals worth at one time), beef stroganoff (freeze meat mixture without sour cream and then make noodles when ready to eat), and pot pie (make two complete pot pies or you can just freeze the mix and put together but it seems to me it takes less time to do all the assembling at one time).

    • Jennifer

      That’s a great idea. I don’t do enough freezing! We’ve tested out a few things recently and had great success (i.e. we actually ate and enjoyed the unfrozen result).

  4. Cara S

    My favorite tip for the holidays is to only do what you love, and don’t feel guilty about the rest! We only attend the parties we truly love and send our regrets for the rest. We also make it a point to spend Christmas morning at home, by ourselves, no company allowed.

    • Jennifer

      I need to impress this wisdom on my husband. He feels guilty if we don’t do absolutely everything expected of us.

    • Tami

      We fell into simple Christmas mornings by accident. All of our family lives out of state, and because of my husband’s work schedule, we can’t travel. So all of our Christmas mornings have been quiet and just with our kids. It has actually been a wonderful blessing, because we all feel the anticipation of that peaceful time to come at the end of all the busy-ness. I don’t know how we’d manage any other way.

  5. lighthousegal

    Our girls only get 4 presents for Christmas. 3 from Santa, because Baby Jesus only got 3 presents from the Wise Men. Then 1 from us, mom and dad. I do not restrict grandparents or Godparents. But it really simplifies that they know what the expectations are. It has also really helped the budget!

  6. Robin

    Here’s one decorating tip I read somewhere a few years ago: You do not have to decorate your whole house! Pick two or three areas and just decorate there. I decorate my fireplace mantle and my dining room table and of course the Christmas tree. Keep it simple is my motto!

  7. Jenn White

    I love Christmas-time, and having a birthday a week before Christmas doesn’t help! But I agree with many of your posters: pick one or two things to make as gifts and make tons of them, one great gift and a gift card is perfect for teens, low-key Christmas AM, and spot decorate.

    The other thing I’ve started doing lately is NOT putting lights along the eaves of our house! I don’t like getting on the ladder, and don’t want Stan on a ladder either, and I found that by doing ground-based decor it’s faster, easier and just as welcoming when we drive up to our lit-up home!

  8. Tamara

    Wow I am so up for this. I cant wait. Thank you.

  9. Krystal K

    If I have someplace to be, I will set an alarm on my cell phone that will allow me enought time to stop, tidy up and get to my car to get to that event. That way, I am not late!!



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