If decorating your home only stresses you out and prevents you from doing things that you truly love, then stop doing it.

We are fully immersed into another holiday season, and frankly, I have been feeling a little festive since the first chilly mornings made me think of holiday decorating.
But as we prepare for the final countdown, I begin to enjoy the season less and less.
No matter how early I begin my preparations, December comes swiftly and flies by, seemingly faster and faster every year.
This year, I promised myself that I would enjoy the season by simplifying it.
Am I going to give up any of the fun things that make me enjoy the season or forgo traditions that make me happy?
Nope, not at all! I am just letting myself off the hook from having a holiday rivaling anything I see on my beloved Hallmark channel.
Try a few of these simple ideas to enhance your enjoyment of this season — and have yourself a merry little everything this year!
Strategize your gift list: We do this to ourselves each year when we insist we will cut back on our spending and shopping but somehow, we get caught up in the seasonal inertia (I blame all those Christmas carols) and open our wallets to the point of assured debt.
Sound familiar? This year, I kept my gift giving simple — I made my holiday list and came up with three things for each person on my list.
In most cases, it was something I knew they liked and in others, it could be as simple as a favorite color.
I kept that scratch pad in my purse and anytime I was tempted to buy something, I would see if it matched my criteria,
For example, for one relative I have the following three words: dachshunds, pink, nautical.
For another, I have chickens, Tiffany blue and cooking items.
When I am shopping, I already have an idea what I am looking for and won’t grab those impulse gifts that might not be the best match.
Keep It Simple: If decorating your home only stresses you out and prevents you from doing things that you truly love, then stop doing it!
There is no rule that says you have to have a giant Christmas tree or a huge slew of Clark Griswold lights adorning your house to show your spirit.
If having a small tree and a classic fresh wreath on your door is all you are up for, that is just fine.
If you need more festive spirit, try adding a string a white lights in the rooms you frequent along with some peppermint or balsam plug-ins.
They will add a nice warmth and scent to your home that will put you in the spirit without creating a lot of extra work and eventual clean-up.
That being said, if all of the holiday parties you feel you need to attend are getting in the way of your love of decorating your house from top to bottom, RSVP your regrets, turn up the holiday tunes and deck the halls of your home as much as you like.
It is your holiday and you have the right to spend it the way you would like to!
Meal Plan: I am a pretty religious meal planner — my family knows to see what our dinner plans are based on a small white board on the refrigerator.
It keeps me organized, helps me grocery shop and prevents those impulse runs to pick-up carry out.
The busy holiday season tends to put that meal planning board into an early hibernation for the winter — and usually results in us spending a lot more time and money eating out!
During a time when my wallet and waistline are already feeling the pressure, this is a surefire recipe for disaster!
My advice to you is this: As soon as you read this article, grab a sheet of paper or a blank calendar sheet for the rest of this month.
Plan your meals for the rest of the month. If you are dining out or attending holiday gatherings or parties, write those down.
If you have a Christmas school program to attend one night or plan a late night of shopping, plan for something easy for you and your family to eat on the way.
If you plan for a dinner, even if it is as simple as sandwiches and a veggie tray, you can save time, money and a lot of worry now.
If you want to go ahead and budget those trips to your favorite restaurants now, that is OK, too.
Just make sure they are in the plan so you can budget for them, both mentally and financially!
By the time the season is over, you will be grateful that you continued to stay on somewhat of a schedule.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)