Motivation Monday Giveaway: What’s on your “not to do” list for Christmas?

Thanksgiving’s over and most of us have Christmas on our minds now. Every year I have a Christmas “to do” list a mile long.  But every year I shorten the list in some way.

This year I’ll be baking less and our Christmas budget is smaller so we’re shopping less. I’m also going to decorate less…taking our “less is more” theme to a new level.

I’m simplifying in order to enjoy home and family to the fullest and to keep Jesus at the center of our celebration.

Today’s Motivation Monday challenge is to determine at least one thing that will be on your “not to do” list this Christmas season.

If you share what’s on your “not to do” list by leaving a comment, you’ll be entered to win a copy of our Living With Less So Your Family Has More book!

Let’s encourage one another to be intentional about the Christmas season!


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55 thoughts on “Motivation Monday Giveaway: What’s on your “not to do” list for Christmas?

  1. I’ve thinking about how commercialized Christmas is. I love the season and I love shopping for others, but I want to drown out the real message less. We are having a Jesus birthday party with friends that I’m really looking forward to. I get the feeling if keep Jesus’ birth the focus I will stress less, which is also welcomed this holiday season.

  2. This year on my “not to do list” is to not take this time for granted and get caught up in the fanfare of the holiday, but to enjoy every moment with my family and my little girl. Just since we put on the tree, I can see the light in her eyes and the joy when she sees the Christmas tree or the nativity set and says “pretty, pretty, Momma”. I have already taken a step in not getting caught up by making a budget and sticking to it and having my shopping already done so that I can enjoy the entire month of December with those I love most and with my Father.

  3. This year we are going to spend more time giving back to our community and less time talking about what we want. Instead of writing out long lists of things we would like to have, we are going to try to focus on how God has blessed us by meeting all of our needs and how we can bless others by donating time or money or gifts to others.

  4. I won’t be doing much Christmas baking this year. I have just a few people to buy for and we’ll be home by ourselves on Christmas Eve/Day (by choice), so I’ll be focusing our family on true Christmas.

  5. This yr our family has decided to “do” less. Spend more time w/our family & enjoying the Christmas season instead of running around like crazy people. I’m looking forward to it!

  6. This year on my “not to do list” is to not pay presents for my 9 & 11 year old. Why? Because they chose to for go presents for a family vacation. I guess I’m teaching them well. I don’t like all this present giving and going into debt type of world we live in today. That’s not what it’s all about. I’m trying to teach them some much of what is in your book “Living with less so your family has more”. Merry Christmas Jill & everyone else! God Bless! And Simplify!!!

  7. We are toning down our giving to our children. Instead of getting many gifts, this year, we are giving three gifts. Just like the Three Wise Men brought when Baby Jesus was born.

    This way the gifts will be more meaningful and the kids will appreciate them more.

  8. On my “not to do” list – not to let the stress of the holiday season get to me so that all my kids see is a crabby mom. So, I’m asking each family member what one Christmas tradition and what one cookie/baked goodie they want to see this year. I’m making sure those are done and letting the rest fall by the wayside.

  9. On my “not to do” list….
    doing too much and getting caught up in scheduling nightmares….
    I want time to focus on family and the reason for the season.

  10. As much as I LOVE to show off my kids – I am foregoing the christmas card this year and will send a facebook version or an email version……I hate not sending the real thing but really cannot afford it this year.

  11. On my “Not to do list” this year- we are not spending money on any large gifts for our children. Once again we are avoiding gaming systems in our home. My husband and I are not getting each other gifts this year. We are buying a home soon and I would rather have any extra money to decorate in the future.

  12. Doing more with family and buying less – more experiences together and less stuff. We hope to involve others in a new tradition and invite other families to do some fun traditions and create memories.

  13. I plan on not going overboard with gifts for the kids this year. (Easier said than done, but I will try). I would love to begin baking more and giving those baked goodys out to our church family. Love you Jill, thank you for your amazing work and your dedication to your readers!

  14. We had a family meeting over the weekend to vote on our top THREE Christmas traditions to do this year, and not try to do every tradition, every year! (this is Karen Ehman inspired)

  15. I am making it a point to avoid gifts that don’t have a practical use this year. So on my “not to do this” is: do not purchase gifts that are just for fun or pretty. They must be usable on a daily basis.

  16. I’m trying my best to really focus on the real meaning of Christmas with my boys this year. We are going to do an Advent devotional together and instead of focusing on making the 24 ornaments for each day of Advent, I have chosen 8 that have the most meaning to them. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew and make the season more stressful!!

  17. Since we are going to be gone for most of the month of December, we’ve actually decided not to decorate at all. My husband is relieved but I’m a little sad, so we’re also looking for some new traditions to add that can travel with us. Any ideas?

  18. This year I will NOT be buying/making gifts for my 3 school-age kids’ numerous teachers, or gifts or snacks for the classroom because this year we decided to homeschool! 🙂 I know this choice isn’t for everyone, but for our family this change has truly simplified our lives in many ways.

  19. My sister and I exchange pictures of our kids and don’t do gifts at all. We live 16 hours apart and this is more meaningful than any gift we or our kids could receive and also saves on shipping!

  20. I will not stay up too late and loose the sleep I need for this fun and busy time.
    I will not become too busy that I do not spend time reading my Bible.
    I will not forget the Promise of Christmas as I share this season with those around me.

  21. This year I will not get caught up in the buying frenzy. Each family member has a limit and I will stick within that or under it. If you ask my mom or dad what I bought for them last year or the year before, they can never remember. I will keep it in mind that it truly is the ‘giving’ that counts and celebrating the real reason for the season.

  22. On my not-to-do list for Christmas this year is giving tangible gifts to our children. They are newly-6 years and almost-4 years of age, and especially with their birthdays close to Christmas, they think November through January is a festival of presents for themselves. We’ve never really given them the opportunity to give gifts themselves (other than something I buy for them to give). So this year we decided rather than buying gifts for our own family, we would take that money and spend it on an adopted family in need in our community. We will be purchasing grocery gift cards so the family can prepare a holiday meal, and we will also be getting new clothes and toys for each child in the family.

    We’ve had several discussions with our kids about how fortunate we are, because so many other families are struggling to feed their kids or even keep their homes so they don’t have to live in shelters or on the street. (We watched the 60 minutes segment with them last night about the countless homeless kids in Florida, which helped illustrate our cause.) They seem to be on board with the plan, and we hope they learn that the true spirit of Christmas is giving, just as God gave us His Son.

    And, rather than me buying gifts for our kids to give our extended family and others in our lives, we are working together to make gifts, so that they have a true involvement in giving. My son is going to weave potholders with a kit I found for kids, while also hopfully improving his fine motor skills! My daughter will be making cards because she loves to cut and glue. We will all be making the usual homemade cocoa/drink mixes, soup mixes, candies, cookies, etc. for gift baskets.

    I realize that in making my not-to-do list, I probably created a much bigger to-do list! But I really think it will be worth the investment to teach the meaning of Christmas to our children and get all our eyes back on God’s precious gift to us and the wonderful lessons He has taught us.

  23. What we won’t be doing this year is want, want, wanting. A few simple gifts and not catalog drooling or commercial begging, not just from the kids but my husband and I as well. We will practice contentment in the things we have.

  24. These are the things we won’t do this Christmas:
    1) have any Christmas debt
    2) buy anything our kids don’t really need, won’t use (or take care of) throughout the year–keep it to about 3 gifts per child
    3) buy any homeschool co-op teacher gifts at all: we’ll bake instead
    4) spend any money on Christmas decorations–reusing last year’s garland, too
    5) going to any Christmas events that aren’t free of charge
    What we WILL have is a house full of homebaked cookies, lots of classic Christmas read alouds and CD’s, inexpensive crafts that focus on Jesus, wonderful family memories, plus a whole lot less self-induced stress!!

  25. Make my “to do” much smaller! I want my kids to know the real reason for Christmas! It is NOT about Santa and presents! Thank you

  26. My “not to do” is mixed in with a “to do.” I’m not going to traipse through tons of stores to get gifts. I’m going to sit on my couch and browse through sites to get them instead. Then I will sit by the fire while I wait for the UPS man to bring them right to my door.

  27. This year, we are not traveling. Instead, we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas at home and with our wonderful church family. And this year, I will not be filling the stockings to overflowing. Just a few things found cheap throughout the year. That’s all. No excess. And no last minute-impulse shopping.

  28. On out “not to do list” no adult Christmas presents, everyone will get a picture of the kids. And I will not feel guilty, as Christmas is for Jesus and we have 4 kids 11-2.

  29. On the top my “not to do” list this season you will find not to play up Santa more than Jesus and not to do extended family gifts but in turn have all of our extended family give items to to those kids that are aging out of the foster care system. As much as my family might protest – I am the host of our family Christmas and what the host says goes so NO gifts just items for these deserving teens!

  30. Our budget is much smaller this year, too. On my “Not to do” list is: I will not obsess about giving the ‘perfect’ gift.

  31. This year, we will not spend a whole day baking cookies for the neighborhood. Just a few to share with close friends. It’s less time, less money, and an available mom.

  32. This year I am “doing less” in worrying about money and gifts for everyone and “doing more” in spending time with family and friends in true celebration of Christmas. That is far more valuable!

  33. On my “not to do” list this year is to not let my Mommy Guilt get in the way of sticking to our 3 Gift per child rule. We have always told our children that Jesus received gifts from 3 wisemen and we should not expect more that He. However, every year, 3 grows to items that I put un-wrapped under the tree; and didn’t count these as one of our 3! On the same line, I will not let the gift-giving get in the way of our true celebration: the birth of our Savior.

  34. I love this topic. I am a minimalist at heart, but it is so tempting to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. This year I am not doing the whole Christmas cards with pictures. It’s expensive and always stressful for me. We are also sticking to a budget and doing more hand-made gifts this year. So none of that last minute shopping in stressful busy stores!

  35. I am going to be intentional about spending time and doing things with my husband and my 13 yr old dd. What I get done when they are busy at work (when my dh gets a job) or school will be what it is. The rest of the time will be their’s and I will give up a little more sleep if there is more to do. My theme this Chistmas…It’s all about Him, it’s all about you (family).

  36. I am going to be intentional about spending time doing with my family. I will do what I can when they are at work (when my husband gets a job) and school, but when they come home I will spend my time with them. My theme this year…”Its all about Him”,’ Its all about them!’

  37. For me, it’s spending more time decorating a little each day/week for the holidays. It really lifts our giving holiday spirit higher in our house. I’ve also noticed my helping hands doing more to help fellow moms (who in two cases, I’ve met once or only in passing) who are struggling this holiday season.
    That and the joy of decorating with my children and having them help me help others has been really great…and it’s not even Dec yet! 🙂

    Blessings this holiday season!

  38. This year the top item on my “not to do list” is our annual scramble to make the holidays “perfect.” I always try to cram SO much in: to make our gifts, to whip up special foods, decorate to the hilt, catch that visit with Santa. This last year has taught me much, most importantly my holidays (and whole life, for that matter) are already perfect. I plan this year to keep the focus inward instead of on all the glitz and glitter of the holidays. Spending time with my family is the greatest gift I could receive this season. I am truly blessed.

  39. I grew up in a home that was very focused on the gift exchange that took place at Christmas. My children are still very young (2 and 3) and don’t know yet to ask for gifts. So on my ‘not to do’ list is teach them that Christmas is all about unwrapping numerous presents under the tree. We do plan to give a couple small gifts to them, but our focus will be spending the month preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ. And not having done that when I was younger, it is so much fun learning about ways to celebrate the advent season!

  40. I am not buying any toys this year that I know my kids will not play with. I am buying less gifts, and planning more fun things to do with my family instead.

  41. I have commuted not to look through the adds I get. I’ve found I want alot less and don’t feel bad about what we don’t have. Plus I can get gifts I know people want or use, not what I find that “might work” but is on such a great sale I can’t pass it up

  42. We have pared down a lot over the years. This year, I have decided to do Christmas picture cards, but will only be doing a handful of them–I love to share pics and a short letter, but doing 50 or more sucks the joy out of it for me. We stay home for the holiday and that makes the biggest difference. My shopping is done–always is before December 1st. That leaves Dec wide open for shopping for the Giving Tree items, food pantry donations, etc.

  43. I am NOT going to consider it necessary to use all of my Christmas decorations this year. This will greatly shorten the amount of time it takes to decorate and to “un”decorate, which means more fun time spent with family. And less stress over getting it all done. I will only put out the things that bring us joy, which are the things we decorate together, like the nativity scene and the Christmas tree. Less will definitely be More this year!

  44. I am NOT going to host Christmas Eve this year. While I LOVE to have it, it’s a ton of work & stress. My SIL wants to have it, and, as hard as it is for me to “let go”, it’s going to be a blessing to not have to worry about the spotless house and all the food.

  45. My “not to do list” for this year:
    -forget about others not in our family
    -focus on gifts instead of the real meaning of Christmas
    -get so stressed by all the “urgent” things of the season that I forget the MOST important REASON for the Christmas
    -share with my children that Christmas is all about stuff and stress

  46. On my “not to do list” , I plan on making bread instead of sweets for my neighbors, using up all my scrap material & batting I have stored in boxes for pot holders and those pretty throw blankets. Really when your squeezing every dime its easy not getting caught up in the rush of things. Or it could be I’m just getting older:)

    “Peace & joy to you all this Christmas”

  47. Although I wont be cutting back on the number of gifts given we are doing the homemade gifts this year. I will not be spending money I don’t have! My family is credit card free and WE are staying that way.

  48. This year we have decided to only get out 1/2 of the decorations and to put up a smaller tree. I can feel the sigh of relief every day as I walk through an uncluttered home.

  49. I will be doing less commitments. I am often a “volunteer-aholic” or “event-aholic”. We just had our first bundle of joy in October, and I want to make sure I have time to enjoy our most precious gift!

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