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Simplify Christmas – 12 Tips to Turn Chaos to Wonder – plus Giveaway!

Old wood texture with snow and firtreeDo you break out in hives just thinking about the craziness and chaos that comes with Christmas? It doesn’t have to be that way. Inspirational authors Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin, and Tricia Goyer share about Christmases past in their new novella collection Where Treetops Glisten. Their three stories “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” will take you back to wartime 1942, 1943, and 1944. The authors have also teamed up to give tips on simplifying Christmas this year! Join us December 1-6 on Not Quite Amish for the Simplifying Christmas series.

Twelve Tips to Turn Chaos to Wonder

by Sarah Sundin

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! We long to make Christmas a time of joy and wonder for our family and friends, but in the process we often find ourselves depressed, stressed, irritable, and in debt.

Over the years, I’ve mourned how December has turned from my most anticipated month to my most dreaded. Last year, two things made me re-evaluate. First, I wrote my World War II Christmas novella in Where Treetops Glisten. Christmas was simpler then. Fewer gifts, fewer decorations, simpler food—less of everything. Was Christmas less meaningful then? Absolutely not.

Then on December 14, our youngest son received a concussion in a karate tournament and needed surgery … which was performed on January 2. Those two weeks were spent nursing my son and taking him to numerous appointments. Out of necessity, Christmas had to be simplified. As a family we agreed on what absolutely had to be done and what we could live without. And you know what? It was a really nice Christmas.

So how can we rein things in and turn Christmas from chaos to wonder?

To read the twelve tips – and for a free printable to help you simplify your Christmas, see the rest of the article on Not Quite Amish.

Where Treetops Glisten Gift Basket Giveaway!

My publisher has created three wonderful gift baskets. To enter to win this basket, please use the Rafflecopter form below (US residents only please). Also find the additional giveaways (and read more great tips to simplify Christmas!) on Tricia Goyer’s blog and Cara Putman’s blog!

WTG apron bookEach basket contains:

    • Copy of Where Treetops Glisten
    • Christmas DVD – Holiday InnBing Crosby, Fred Astaire
    • Christmas CD (includes all the book title songs) – “A Jolly Christmas” Frank Sinatra
    • Apron made from vintage pattern
    • Recipe cards from each character

a Rafflecopter giveaway

23 Responses to “Simplify Christmas – 12 Tips to Turn Chaos to Wonder – plus Giveaway!”

  1. Susan Heim

    I simplify Christmas by keeping meticulous lists of gifts I’ve bought throughout the year so that I don’t duplicate my efforts or overspend.

    • Sarah Sundin

      Smart. When the kids were little, I was very good about buying in advance…but then often found myself with TOO many presents for one child or another! A list – wish I’d thought of that!

  2. Caryl Kane

    Actually, Christmas is simple for me. I live with my Mom and she doesn’t decorate. My brother is over two hours away. My Daddy celebrates in Heaven. 🙂

    • Sarah Sundin

      And I’m certain Christmas is extremely meaningful for you and your mom 🙂 Being together is more important than holly, pine, and ribbons.

  3. JoEllen McNeil

    We truly need to celebrate the real reason for Christmas and not the commercial Christmas. Don’t patronize businesses which are open Christmas day even for gas or milk or ice. Let’s just go without for one day and allow these people time with their families.

    • Sarah Sundin

      Preach it, sister! When my husband worked in hospital pharmacy, he had no choice but to work occasional Christmases. But outside of health care and emergency services, we do NOT need to go shopping on Christmas Day.

  4. Susan Beldyga

    I love your idea…..I have never bought into the commercial side of Christmas…..my gift to my family is our meal – which I put much time into planning my menu, shopping, preparing and then praying over the food that will be comsumed by my family. I get much joy out of this – and not only for myself but knowing that it is God’s goodness – which allows me to do this. Thank you for your ideas. I love them all!

    • Sarah Sundin

      That is perfect. You’ve taken your gift and your joy – and turned it into a gift for your family!

  5. apple blossom

    Not spend as much $$$$ and spend more time with familiy

  6. Sharon Werner

    Here’s an idea for celebrating Christmas: worship Him. It does not require a credit card limit or a parking spot. Hug your child/spouse/family member/friend – it doesn’t require a postage stamp or a special new outfit. Be still and know that He is God. No degree or credential required. Just BE in His presence – it’s better than presents wrapped in ribbon. Find joy in all that you have without spending a dime. Find joy in others and spread some around to those who don’t seem to have it. Be grateful – if you can flush, you are richer than most of the people on this earth. Just BE the Christmas joy! Isn’t that plain glorious?!?!

    • Sarah Sundin

      So very true, Sharon! When we’re stressed out with a self-imposed to-do list, we spread absolutely no joy at all.

  7. Ralina

    Every year we try to simplify just a little bit more. We have found that all of the simplifications have made things so much more meaningful! Several Christmases ago, we decided that our family of six would each choose a name and that family member would be the only one you purchased or made a present for. We thought the kids would be reluctant participants because it would mean only one present under the tree, but they have LOVED doing this and it has become a wonderful tradition!

    • Sarah Sundin

      Isn’t that funny how that works? When we were forced to simplify last year, I was surprised by how short my family’s “must-do” list was – the Advent Wreath, the Christmas tree, and cookies. I can do that! 🙂

  8. Shelia Hall

    Spend less money on things and more quality time with family making memories to last a.lifetime

  9. Doug Verdier

    Some years ago, my wife and I agreed that rather than buying something for each other for Christmas, we’d each choose a nonprofit organization that we like to support and that really helps people in the community who are in need and make a donation to them in our spouse’s name. Usually the organizations send a nice thank you note or email and we take those notes and enclose them in an envelope with a Christmas card and hang the card on our tree. Christmas Day comes and rather than opening lots of presents (which neither of us really need any more) we take great joy in opening the cards and seeing which organization we’ve each supported in the other one’s name. My wife’s employer matches such gifts dollar for dollar, so whatever amount we contribute is doubled. For us, that’s the real spirit of Christmas, and we enjoy it very much.

  10. Shirley Chapel

    I loved your time saving techniques about decorating for Jesus’s birthday. Back when I was a young girl we only put 1 tree up. We loved it. Now people put up 2 or 3. I knew someone who would put up 7. What a head ache when it came to putting all this clutter away. Why complicate a holiday thats ment to bring joy and good cheer. Let’s put Christ back into Christmas again.
    Would love to win your basket.
    Thanks
    Merry Christmas
    Shirley

  11. Nora Bryant

    I found that just doing a small tree and a few favorite decorations make it much easier. I’ve gotten down to either baking only 1 type of cookie or baking ahead and freezing it. And Since We have no kids My husband and I just buy an ornament with the year for each sibling….And so far this year I ran away with my mom on a Vacation will return soon enough to work And sitting in front of the fire watching Christmas movies on days off.

  12. Christine Beasley

    I simplify Christmas by keeping alert for gifts during the year to find things at a good price and spread out the costs to avoid the holiday spending crunch.