10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas

I’m starting to freak out a little about the holidays. I always do. Never been the ‘more is more’ decorator or comfortable with the excesses that quickly get out of hand in the name of ringing in a religious holiday. So 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas is maybe just a memo to my frazzled self. I truly hope I take the hints.

White modern farmhouse kitchen decorated for Christmas with wreath over farmhouse sink
Hello Lovely Studio

Because while there is never just one way to enjoy the spirit of the season, celebrate, and share the joy of its meaning, a troubled heart is less likely to be an open heart.

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White wood Swedish electric candelabra.
White wooden Swedish electric candelabra: FIND HERE.

And, please. I’m hardly the one to offer ideas since I sometimes simply muddle through and require so much grace, ya know? Plenty of years, I just strived to ENDURE the holidays.

10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas

In my kitchen here, a simple strand of starry fairy lights joined a somewhat unruly Frasier fir wreath at the window with a white wood candleabra from Sweden. A handmade vintage paper creation decorated the window seat, and a minimal snowy winter branch tree with rustic burlap rested upon the counter.

It probably took 15 minutes to execute the whole understated shebang. So if you are looking for a poster child of lazy laid back simple Christmas decor…yo! Okay, those hints that I am going to try to file away…

White Shaker style kitchen with Christmas decor - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas.

Sweet Treats Can Become Decor & Inspire a Gathering

I love baking so much! Sometimes, a simple, festive store-bought or homemade treat can do double duty as a centerpiece and treat when you gather friends and family.

1. Consider Cake & Cocktails or a Cousins’s Christmas Brunch…a small gathering won’t stress you out like a party for the neighborhood or your office. It won’t require weeks of planning and invitations (omg, is it just me, or has technology NOT eased RSVPing and party invitation circuit whatsoever!).

It’s perfectly okay to skip the holiday decorating – just gather folks at night for Candlelit Cocoa & Cookies…light some candles…boom.

Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake from Pinecones & Acorns

2. Little flames sprinkled around the house create an atmosphere of sacred wonder, romance, and welcome.

Here are the votives I reach for and sprinkle around my place.

White kitchen decorated for Christmas with small tree and paper wreath - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas. The snowy winter branch tree is from RH a few years back – options HERE.

Simplify Holiday Gift Shopping

3. Decide on a Go-to Gift such as  Wine (as curated by Martha Stewart) or…


Less Painful Party Hosting

4. Host that Holiday Party but skip the cooking. Do something unexpected like cater Mexican from your favorite restaurant, stud guacamole with pomegranate seeds, and serve just one signature drink like a margarita…

or a mocktail…

Decorate With These Inspiring Tips

5. Corral a collection for a dramatic statement. Aren’t these deer and the vintage farm style finds darling?

6. Mix live greenery with faux for festive Christmas arrangements.

Photo/Design: AdventuresInAbbyLand

7. Don’t underestimate the power of a tabletop tree in a pretty pot!

Swedish Christmas tree in a gorgeous vintage planter in a white on white Nordic French room by My Petite Maison.
My Petite Maison. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas

Consider Gifting Homemade Goodness

Let’s get real. This tip is only going to save your sanity if you love to bake! Scroll right by if the idea has your blood pressure spiking.

White kitchen with Minuet Viatera quartz countertop, mirror, and Christmas decor
Hello Lovely Studio

8. Make delicious peanut brittle, marshmallows, fairy food and more with help from Pinecones & Acorns.

Peanut Brittle
Plain and Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

“Although I bake all of the time, Christmas baking is especially magical. It’s a little like the Christmas snow they talk about in Frosty the Snowman and its magic. Whenever I bake at Christmas, the recipes and the aroma of cookies transport me right back to my grandmother’s side. I can almost feel her standing next to me as I roll the dough and eat a little (or a lot!) and I can hear her telling me not too eat too much or there won’t be anything left for baking. So many of my happiest memories are baking with my mom and my grandmother.”
~Elizabeth of Pinecones and Acorns.
Fairy Food

10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas

Cranberry and Apricot Rugelach
Caramel Corn
Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts
Eggnog Cheesecake with Candied Cranberries
All I Want for Christmas is You. Mariah Carey lyric.
via Pure Wow. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas.
Swedish Pastry
Easy Chocolate Danish
Window seat in white kitchen decorated for holidays - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas.

Set a Deadline for Gift Shopping

9. Get it out of the way. If you’re like me, you may feel insecure up until Christmas day about your gift giving! I always feel better if I finish my shopping as early as possible, wrap gifts when I am relaxed and listening to Christmas music, and don’t have those lists hanging over me. I’ll be posting gift guides soon, but it always helps me to have sort of a theme to guide me…vintage, sunglasses, fitness, etc. Otherwise, whether I’m browsing online or at retail shops, I can lose track of all time and sanity!

Holiday vignette with red wellies and plaid scarf with vintage chair and wooly wreath
Hello Lovely Studio

Joyful Giving

10. Give from your heart. Give what? How about a goat!?! In past years, I encouraged giving goats to families in Nepal as a wonderful gift. Find that INFO HERE. It costs just about $50 (£40) to buy a goat that will change a family’s life and they will even name it anything you want…so think of how lovely your friend/daughter/spouse will feel if you name it something that is special to both of you!

Christmas decor in living room - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio. 10 Holiday Hints to Save Your Sanity This Christmas.

Give away your change to those red kettles – give away your mercy to every living thing in your world – and  give away your forgiveness to all, including yourself.

Nepal Mountain Aid
Nepal Mountain Aid

Decide now to be as present and intentional as possible to the season so it doesn’t rush by in a blur, depress you, swell out of control, or disappoint you.

The holidays can be the worst of times for so many, and if its commercialism threatens to steal your joy, carve out extra time daily for yoga, meditation, prayer, quiet, solitude, exercise, music, or whatever you need to find your center. Are you thinking, Lawd, I’m too busy for those things…yer stressin me right out!?!

I hear you. You likely need even MORE time for stillness and gentle kindness to your self!

Serene white bench and mirror with winter holiday decor - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio.

If the holidays are your favorite time of year, you can be more intentional by reflecting upon those sights and sounds you love most. How can you bring that buoyant spirit of hope, comfort, and joy with you in your daily life wherever you roam? How can you brighten the lives of others by spreading that lovely spirit?

Dog chalkware on book with animal print - Hello Lovely Studio
Hello Lovely Studio.

Because She’s Magic & Blesses My Soul

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Peace to you right where you are.


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  1. Joanna
    November 12, 2018 / 11:06 am

    I’m going for simple this year. Candles, deer and gold and white balls. I’ll add a little live greenery later. I love your little fairy lights. I use strings of small white lights but would love some miniatures. Where did you buy them?
    I decided upon retirement to stop hosting big parties and dinner parties. They were always very stressful for me. I now host small cocktail parties of six or eight throughout the year. At Christmas it is a little bigger but still simple. I want to enjoy my friends and not feel stressed about the food. It works for me!

  2. adele
    November 12, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Hi! I just love looking through your decorating ideas, especially ones for the holiday. Your home looks so very warm and inviting (like mine will look, with your help)! I’m in the midst of a kitchen redo, and although this has little to do with decorating, your kitchen countertops are exactly what I’m going for (especially the rounded edge over the sink). Did you use quartz or marble? Thanks, and happy holidays!

  3. November 12, 2018 / 5:21 pm

    Michele, thank you so much for sharing a few of my favorite holiday treats! And my quote about baking with my grandmother, the holidays bring back so many happy memories with my grandmother and that is why I bake so often at the holidays and give foodie gifts.

    I have you have a wonderful day my friend.

    xo Elizabeth

    • michele
      November 12, 2018 / 7:17 pm

      You make any blog post lovelier and more heartful – thank you for baking with love and sharing your recipes with the world, friend. You are an inspiration, and we would have a ball together baking since I live for it! xox

  4. November 12, 2018 / 5:49 pm

    I love your simple decorating ideas, especially using branches and greenery from the yard! And candles and lights add instant magic! Most of all, spending time being present and giving thanks.

    • michele
      November 12, 2018 / 7:16 pm

      Being present is extra challenging when you are hosting and attending to a million details so truly these ideas are reminders for myself as much as anything! Thanks for reading and for keeping me company in this lonely blogosphere! xox

  5. November 28, 2018 / 11:53 pm

    I love love love your ideas. My favorite is about hosting the party, but skipping the cooking. I have been doing that the last several years, and it’s been so much more relaxing! I do bake some goodies, but we have the main dish catered from our favorite Italian restaurant. We just pick up the food and enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!

    • michele
      November 29, 2018 / 10:46 am

      I do like that idea because I think the menu is what often keeps people from entertaining. Thanks for reinforcing this tip and for your kindness,Pam. xox

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