simplify post it note image by trudy

Simplify your plans


At this time of year, glossy magazines paint a picture of absolute joy amidst glamorous meals, gorgeous room settings and happy faces.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were true that you could avoid or reduce the stresses that magazines fail to mention? The pressure of gift selection, last minute catch-ups with neglected friends before the year ends, festivity planning, remembering lost loved ones, struggling with obligations to share time with people they’d rather not be with, panicking about last-minute details, dragging the kids between various in-laws, allocating more time to meet demands of holidaying partners and family, alcohol fueled debates or regrets, and endless cleaning before and after the hoards hurtle through.

Well you can reduce some stresses and save a lot of time by simplifying.

Simplicity doesn’t equal basic, boring or frugal. 

To simplify is to let go. Let go to share the load or simply say no (to yourself or others) on occasion to reduce the pressure.

Settle back today and work out how you could enjoy the end of the year more (and keep your body and mind in shape) by making a few changes to plans like these.


  • Rather than guess what someone wants as a gift, ask for a few ideas. Pick one of those and there’s still a surprise when the present arrives.
  • Be bold and tell others what you want to take the pressure off the gift-giver.
  • Drop a hint as to what you’d like. Use this gift and wish list guide as a starting place. You won’t end up with piles of last-minute chocolate boxes, bottles of wine or other unwanted gifts.

Dinners and catering:

  • Let joy come from being with guests and sharing rather than dashing between the kitchen and dining table.
  • Share the load by asking guests to bring a plate.
  • Choose a few tried and trusted dishes to share rather than anything complex or experimental. Match these with a casual, relaxed table setting. By keeping catering simple with less variety, you not only save time in preparation but you also reduce your overall food intake. When there are several dishes to choose from, humans are very likely to sample and serve more than when there is only one available. The research confirms that humans eat more when more variety is available.
  • Coordinate a casual picnic away from home to avoid another day of tidying and cooking. Make it BYO everything (food, crockery and utensils) to shift the focus off food and onto fun.

Neglected friends:

  • Make a phone call today or send a hand-written letter rather than cram in a last-minute get-together right now.
  • Fix a date during 2017 to spend more time with them. Choose a venue that doesn’t involve food or drink.
Other ways to simplify all year through:
  • Keep the dining table clear of clutter so mealtimes run smoothly.
  • Prepare one easy popular dish for your household or guests instead of slaving in the kitchen to create a multi-choice menu.
  • Shop to a list to minimise random buys.
  • Shop on-line for groceries with home delivery offered to avoid rushed after after-work impulse buys and parking pressures.

What will you do? Tell me what you will do and, together with other readers, let's aim to create a guide to share.

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