You know what? I am really excited for Christmas this year!

Hi friends! I have a confession to make, I usually approach Christmas with a bit of dread and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting together and spending time with friends and family, watching Christmas specials with my hubby and kids and attending the kids Christmas concerts at school. But then I have the shopping/gift anxiety, the clutter of too many decorations added on top of an over cluttered house and cooking anxiety. I actually declined an invitation EVERY YEAR from a sweet friend to a fun cookie swap because I was embarrassed about my cooking ability, instead I would just lurk on Facebook the day of the event and feel sorry for myself as they shared pics of all the fun they were having. I was so lame. I would live in a state of overwhelm from November 1-December 25th. But this year I am looking forward to the holiday, why you might ask? Because of the decluttering process I started in February. I have room for decorations. I spend less time cleaning on a daily basis and if we are having people over I can have the house presentable in 1 hour (vs the 8 hour cleaning marathon two days before Christmas last year!) I finally feel like I can relax and enjoy the season.

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I am also looking at my gift giving with new eyes, this is something I have been leaning towards for the past few years but now I am not going to feel badly about it. I have received gifts that I couldn’t use before but the guilt of getting rid of something I did not need make me keep the item. I don’t want others to feel that guilt either so I am changing some of my gift giving tactics. The following are my gift giving guidlines:

  • Give a gift that is consumable: A bottle of wine, coffee, fine vanilla etc.
  • Give a gift card to a restaurant, grocery store of the recipients favorite store
  • Make it reusable: Craft cute handmade gift card packaging that can have a label removed and it can be reused.
  • Make it handmade AND useful: Hand knit hats, mittens, cowls, socks, cutting boards etc.

I used to feel bad picking up a gift card and then I’d go into panic shopping mode. I didn’t want someone to think I didn’t care about them enough to select a perfect gift. Ironically that meant I would buy completely random stuff that did not hit the mark. How did a holiday of love and togetherness come to this? I say “no more!” We will have joy and abundance this Christmas, the question is will you be too stressed out to enjoy it?

I know some people gripe about my random konmari posts but I have to say for me The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was life changing. I can’t guarantee results for everyone but I am looking forward to all aspects of the holidays and that makes me happy.  One thing I love is sending handmade cards, I will attack that with gusto and enjoy every minute of making them, addressing them and sending them off. And I will go to that cookie swap this year. If my cookies are a disaster I know of a few good bakeries. 🙂 I hope that regardless of what you celebrate that you enjoy the season without stress and anxiety. Happy crafting!

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38 Responses

  1. Lindsay you should offer to make a plate of your adorable Xmas crackers or cards for your offering to the cookie exchange. I bet the other guests would be thrilled and you could avoid the kitchen all together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with what you said in your comments Lindsay! I don’t like the whole crowded shop thing either but I decided to that this year I usually go through amazon and get it all gift wrapped which is pretty cool! easy and stress free
      but! I didn’t feel I was making a good effort to use the money and time wiser and be more specific about the choices I was making but Auntie Gracie! is making gift bags, Christmas crackers after watching your D.I.Y Project the other day was fun! to watch and inspired me to do the same.

      and have a nice day!

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  2. Christmas for most people has gotten completely out of hand. We all need to slow down and remember why we even celebrate. Our God doesn’t get impressed by all the fluff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. PERFECTION!!! Thank you Lindsay!

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  4. Exactly,how it should,this is a great article..This is a season for giving and sharing,,

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  5. I love your konmari series and that is great advice for Christmas! Now if I could just implement some of the ideas you’ve shared. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YOU have been such an inspiration! I have cleaned out kitchen cabinets (I mean…who really needs 8 pie plates and 10 bread pans?) And have even found a young couple in need of such items. I have also ‘started’ in the craft room and have even ‘broken down’ and began using my ‘horde’ of graphic 45 papers. (And what beautiful cards have resulted!) And I am enjoying crafting with my 5 year old grand daughter using some of my ‘precious’ supplies. Looking at my ‘stuff’ in a new light…and I am enjoying the results. As for the cookie exchange…there are some great recipes for no bake cookies or fudge. (Gotta love Pinterest!) We have ‘pared down’ Christmas as a family and enjoying it so much more! Keep posting and encouraging so we can pick and choose what works for us! Lindsay, YOU are much appreciated! Thank you!

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  7. I do not understand why anyone would complain about these posts. They don’t have to read/watch them. I enjoy them very much. Cookie swaps are lots of fun- enjoy yours. I am trying to get my house in order, but I was sick for lots of years and it will be a long process. But you have inspired me to keep going. Thank you.

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  8. Hi Lindsay, I have to admit, I am a cluttered too. I thing most creative/crafty people are. I just can’t get myself to start, I feel overwhelmed and can’t part with anything. Maybe one day….lol.

    On a better note, here is a link for Haystacks…they are no bake, no fail, no sweat! I have only made the original ones but this just might release the anxiety of baking. http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,haystack_cookies,FF.html

    I hope that helps you.

    Thanks again for watercolour Fridays again. You make my day! I am usually there but don’t know how to get on the chat with my iPad. If not, I always watch later.

    Happy Holidays.
    Thank you
    Joy

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  9. Honestly, my husband and I have had to make our gifts the last couple of years because of financial hardships. The first year I was in total fear of what we had made wasn’t good enough. However our family and friends now look forward to what we come up with. And I am excited. This year the little girls are getting birdhouse shaped necklace hangers, a spoon ring, a junk journal, and a cedar dresser box, and the women are getting a walnut plank with thier last name and place to hang birthday tags under each month, a wire ring, and a windchime made from flattened sterling siverware, and beautiful beads hanging from one of grandma’s biscut cutters, and a stained glass suncatcher ……. all made from me with love! Rick is charge of the boys and men in the family, but he harvested a cedar and a walnut trees this summer from our forest, so I am sure it is going to be great projects as well. Sure shopping would be easier, however this has made it more fun and meaningful for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad you are feeling the spirit! I don’t exchange gifts with a lot of people but I was brought up with the Sears catalogue and making out a wish list. So my family makes online wish lists and we share them. We are all fine with that, gift cards or homemade goods… I make a Christmas wreath for one of my sisters every year and it’s become our tradition. Last year I made a dozen assorted greeting cards and gave them that along with a book of stamps. They told me not to do it this year because the cards were “too precious” to just send to anyone and they both still had some. 😃 It’s all about family and friends and no stress, so enjoy! Btw I make my Christmas cards in January and February. Overachiever!

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  11. What a great message-one that translates to me-live in the moment. If it took konmari to get there, I say-more power to you both.

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  12. Omgoodness! This came at a perfect time during my holiday anxiety amp up! Im definitely rethinking gifting ..and holiday meaning this year!

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  13. I cannot thank you enough for this post. It is so difficult to be public about holiday stress and overwhelm. I have wanted to enjoy this season for years to no avail. It always becomes a pressure cooker!

    I read the KonMari books twice and want to declutter, but can’t seem to get started. Whatever the block is, I haven’t watched your videos — but I am so grateful they exist so that I can access them when I am ready. You have given me a thoughtful and useful Christmas gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Lindsay😊. I totally understand your anxiety around Christmas and it’s preparations. I truly wish you a wonderful Christmas and hope your gusto towards a non-worry season works out marvelous. I am by no means a baker or cooker however, I have one go-to EASY dessert that wows all the time, tastes delicious and could definitely be used for a swap. As a plus, it LOOKS like you spent hours in the kitchen! I thought I’d share it with you so you can take full advantage of it, if you so desire. On the plus side, I find your information so rewarding, helpful and kind, it warms my heart a bit to know there is a slight chance this might help you. Anyhoo, they are pineapple tarts, my take on an old, old recipe my mom had for pineapple squares.

    PINEAPPLE TART INGREDIENTS

    -Mini/Small tarts from the freezer section of your grocery. (Usually come in pack of 12 or so)
    -Can of crushed pineapple, 19oz with a little of the juice drained off.
    -Tub of cool whip, whichever kind you want (regular, light or fat free).
    -1 pack of vanilla pudding mix, not made just the mix.
    -Squirt of lemon juice.
    -Couple tablespoons of coconut.

    DIRECTIONS

    -Bake the tarts according to directions on package and let cool once cooked.
    -In large mixing bowl mix well half + a bit! (a bit less than ¾ of tub total) of the cool whip with the pudding mix, pineapple, and lemon juice and lay in fridge to chill. It should be fairly thick, not runny. Add more cool whip if it’s on the runny side.
    -On a cookie sheet spread out the coconut and set under broiler to toast. (Watch carefully it can go from white to burnt very fast!!)
    -Fill the tarts with the pineapple “fluff”. I find the small tarts fill nicely with approx. 2 heaping tablespoons.
    -Use the remainder of the cool whip to make the tops look pretty. I usually just put the whip in a large baggie, push to a corner, cut a small slit in corner and swirl on top. (Gotta love a frugal icing bag huh????)
    -Last thing, sprinkle a bit of coconut over the whip topping for that finishing touch.

    You should get about 15 small tarts with the above and I’m not stingy with the fill😊.

    I realize it’s mostly prepared/processed ingredients so this might not be for you at all. But, again, when I read your post I wanted to share. In regard to a swap, I know treats that can be frozen are good. Unfortunately, these can’t be frozen but keep in the fridge a nice while…unless you eat them all before guests arrive!!! One last tip, when packing to take somewhere, you’ll find you need a tall container. I made them last week to take to a lunch, ended up having to put them in a traditional cookie tin so they wouldn’t get smooshed!

    Thank you Lindsay for all you do. Your efforts are truly appreciated and bring much inspiration.

    Hugs,
    Allison

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    ________________________________

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  15. I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of giving gift cards, etc. that people can really use…I have done this for many years (and sometimes wish people had done this for me!). Thanks so much for sharing….love ya, Connie

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  16. Hi Lindsey, I’m glad that you’ve found something that works for you. I shop year round and I create year round for my immediate family. I have a few friends that I buy for, but that’s it. Christmas isn’t about getting presents or even giving presents. Christmas is about Jesus and that’s what my family and I focus on. Yes, I have 4 concerts to attend for my grandkids, 2 church Christmas plays, and I’m the pianist for our church choir and I am singing the Sunday before Christmas and I’m playing the piano in our 3 Piano Trio on the Sunday before Christmas. I get it. The stress is terrible. What works for me is Young Living Essential Oils. Whether I have them in my water, or in the diffusers or wearing them. They keep me calm so I don’t have to take medications. They produce a wonderful smell in the air and they are calming. Thank you so much for all your ideas. I love them and I’m using many of them of gifts this year. Many Blessings to you and your family. Carol

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  17. You plan sounds PERFECT to me. Seriously. And go to that cookie exchange even if it means taking slice and bake cookies. Honestly, they are often better than homemade.

    A super easy no fail recipe is Magic Cookie Bars. You layer melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, nuts, coconut and chocolate chips; then you pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole shebang and bake per the recipe directions. Google the recipe, it’s been around for a long time and most people love it. You can cut the bars into squares for the exchange. One bar equals one cookie

    Another easy and fun fave is thumbprint cookies. I l like the holes filled with colored frosting instead of jam (you can buy the frosting in a can and tint it). The cookies themselves are super easy to make and so festive when finished.

    One last thing—you an go without cookies. You won’t get any to bring home, but you’ll still have fun and you can eat some of the ones that are brought for sharing at the exchange. Ask the hostess of the exchange if you can bring a cheese ball for sharing if you go cookie-less if you don’t want to go empty handed; make a trip to the grocery store and buy one ready made. My local grocery stores make delicious cheese balls and for less than what I’d spend making one myself. Grab a bag/box of crackers to go with it.

    Or, almost as easy, open a block of cream cheese, put it on a pretty plate and cover it with pepper jelly. Serve with crackers. It’s delicious, for real.

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  18. I love the series, it has been so inspiring for me, perfect timing for me as my husband and I have just entered empty nester life. We are rethinking the kids bedrooms, no childhood shrines here. In preparation for creating a craftroom, I just destashed my crafting wall and was able to donate to the local charity that provides for teachers.

    You are so right about gift-giving. We are providing the means for date nights, etc instead of stuff. thanks!

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  19. I am so happy for you! It is called ‘lighten up’ for a reason. I have been trying for years. The self guilt is the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. omgosh, you are so right on with this! Thats exactly my plan this year, and I am gonna break out and give homemade artwork too. Its probably the same way you feel bout your cookies…but if the artwork is no good, people can reuse the paper, or make bookmarks. It will be artwork I have learned from you, so it can’t be all bad, right? Also, I know where to get cookies too, so there. Would have loved a video rant on this, as we all love seeing your passion. Thanks for the inspiration for a great holiday season, with no stress! This is what its about….

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  21. I can’t believe you are having trouble finding gifts for friends. First of all, they probably need or want nothing. Any of your watercolor paintings would be priceless to me. It’s not about what you spend on the gift but the thought that went into it. A donation to an animal shelter or homeless shelter or children’s hospital ect in their name is a thought. Most of all, Christ is why we come together, not the sales at the mall. Scale back, set a new trend. Cookie exchange….melt some almond bark, found at Walmart in baking isle, melt, mix in nuts,drop onto wax paper or mix with Chinese noodles. Enjoy the time. Thanks for all you have done for me. You’re not getting anything….sorry lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • hahaha:) I don’t need a thing so that is totally fine:) I sometimes worry people will think I am cheap if I give them a painting although I love receiving artwork myself and would never thingeone else was being cheap. Isn’t it funny how we worry?

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  22. I have made gifts of hand made cards and given to people such as volunteers at the hospital. They like that better than the stuff from the dollar store that gets tossed in a drawer, and I like the idea of putting in stamps with them.

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  23. You have “arrived” … the new and wiser Lindsey is here! If you want to give me anything, one of your paintings is fine … something with fall colors and maybe a barn. Just kiddin’ around, of course. Have fun doing it all, make Magic Cookie Bars like someone else suggested! They are so delicious and so full of luscious fat … I mean, goodness. May the Season bring you and your family Peace and (even more) Joy.

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  24. Some of are good at somethings and some of us aren’t….i’ve learnt a very valuable lesson lately, yep even at 56 you learn something new everyday, but this lesson has changed the way i live my life. I learnt to ask for help when i need it. So maybe you can ask your friend to have cookie bake day with you so you can enjoy your get together without the added stress of “will my cookies pass”. Btw we call cookies biscuits over her in Oz. Thanks for all your advise and company

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  25. ‘Some people gripe about my random konmari decluttering posts…’ Seriously??? Don’t read them and come back another day!

    Your enthusiasm about your new found way of life is clear and infectious. Your blog, you get to share what makes you happy.

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  26. Atta Girl! We should own things. They shouldn’t own us! I’ve been trying to destash too and guess what? My husband is actually starting to do it too! Thanks for the inspiration Lindsay!

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  27. You are so right…I always wish people would take the money they spend on me and use it towards something that their family or children really want or need… don’t want to sound like I don’t appreciate it but I find the same stress finding something small and inexpensive for friends…would far rather do a evening out for dinner or something like that…

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  28. Lindsey, tell me about this Konmari thing!! I missed that somehow. I have not been painting in a LONG time — just crocheting and sewing — so I have gotten out of the loop. I just turned 70 and my house is BULGING — I am single and my kids don’t want/need any of this junk, so I need some help!

    Your plan is great and I am going to do some of these for sure!!

    Hugs for all you do — Pat

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    • basically, you pick up an item and ask yourself “does this spark joy?” and if yes you keep it and if no you toss it. It’s simple:)

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  29. You are right on. And for those that left a recipe, thanks for sharing

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