Why *and How* to Say Yes to Less This Holiday Season

As I write this, the holidays are just around the corner.  I can hear it in the air… and it’s not all good.  Do any of these sound familiar to YOU?


“My house is overrun with stuff.  We just don’t need any more gifts this year.”

“My kids have enough. How can I get the grandparents to stop buying them things?”

“I spend all my time washing, dusting, picking up and putting away stuff we don’t need!”

“There’s only so much time. All these events & invitations; we can’t do them all!”

“I’m exhausted. When am I supposed to get all of this done?”

“Having my family here can be so stressful; I just am dreading it.”

“Why do I have all these decorations?  I haven’t used them in years. Why keep them?”

“I’m just going to drink & eat my way through the season, though I’ll regret it in January.”

“It takes so much work to have the perfect day… and people don’t even seem to notice.”

“I feel like all we do is trade gift cards with each other.”

“It’s all so commercial. We’ve lost the true meaning of it all.”



What if you could reclaim a little bit back this year?  

What if you could have a little less stress, a little more joy, a little more enjoyment of the season?

What if you could say YES to LESS? 

yes to less snowman


When you truly understand that you’re not saying no, but you’re saying YES to something important, you start to reclaim it for yourself, for your family, for your sanity!

What’s important to YOU?  What are you saying YES to this year? Find your answer here… or share your own!



Quality time with family, making great memories

Events you don’t value or enjoy

Gifts that are items of quality, that last

Purchasing breakable, disposable,  value-less gifts that get instantly forgotten

Experiences, which create memories 

Things, that need to be stored, cleaned, or that don’t serve a great value in your life

Activities with a higher return on investment of your time and effort

Running around and taking up spare time on projects no one notices or feels as happy about as you hoped they would

Giving to those in need

Just trading gifts with people in your life out of social expectations (or guilt)

Time for yourself to enjoy the season, even if for a few minutes on your own

Running yourself ragged for others and filling your days with to-do lists

Creating and continuing traditions

Fads and forgotten-tomorrow gifts and time wasters



Okay, okay, I know it’s not always that easy. I know there are some difficult conversations you have to have, and sooner, rather than later.  Maybe you can find some language here that will help you start to say YES to LESS:


Less Events – the “No” RSVP: “Your event sounds great, and I wish you great luck with it!  Unfortunately, our schedule just isn’t going to allow it this year.  Have fun!” 

Less Gift Purchasing – Family and friends: “We’ve been thinking of scaling back this year.  How would you feel about either doing something different, like a White Elephant or pulling names for each other?” 

Less Gift Purchasing – Coworkers: “I have a thought — instead of exchanging gifts this year, what do you think about all of us going out for a nice dinner to celebrate the holidays?   Or chipping in to Adopt A Family for Charity? Everyone here is generous and thoughtful, but we don’t need to be spending money on each other.” 

Less Activities With Minimal Return – Holiday Cards: “How about we scale back our holiday card list this year?” or “I’m just going to get preprinted cards this year… I know I usually handwrite them, but maybe I’ll just do that for some people, not our whole list” 

Less Activities With Minimal Return — Entertaining: “I love having my family over for a big meal, but it’s a lot of pressure on me.  Maybe I’ll get help this year — catering or a cleaning person or hiring someone to help me decorate.”

Less Gifts That Don’t Have Meaning: “The kids have so much, and they really don’t need anything.  We love your generosity, and are grateful for it. Would you consider giving something like a zoo membership, or movie theater tickets or amusement park passes? They’d love that so much more than another doll or another video game.” 

So, what is Clever Girl doing LESS of this year?  A bit of this, a bit of that, and looking for more. Less events, way less gifts, less entertaining.  But what am I getting MORE of?  Time with my family, the ability to give to those in need, and peaceful moments all by myself…  picturing a bubble bath, a glass of wine, and turning up the holiday tunes!




  1. RG Neale

    It’s so important to go through the holidays in a mindful way. Thanks for articulating this!

  2. Ellen Delap

    Love this post! It’s all about knowing what is most important to you.



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