It’s that time of year when it’s easy to get overwhelmed! There are so many parties, events, guests, concerts and presents to think about during the Christmas season, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep things peaceful. Things can even be so hectic at the Christmastime that we stop enjoying the holiday season because we’re too stressed out.

So how do we keep things simple? For me, it’s a lot about minimalism. I found out about the minimalist movement just a few years ago, and as I started applying the principles, you know what – my desire for “stuff” decreased a lot! I also started to enjoy the things I did have more. And best of all, my relationships deepened and my appreciation for the more subtle gifts in life increased a lot.

Minimalism took a lot of the stress out of life for me. When it comes to minimalism, It’s not only about decreasing the amount of “stuff” in our lives – it’s really about paring down in every area of our lives – taking out the non-essentials – to allow us to really value what’s most important to us.

Last Christmas my oldest son was 3 ½ years old. He understood who Santa was, and the joy of Christmas was real. I was excited to give him something amazing for Christmas and put it under the tree on Christmas Eve after he went to bed. I wanted to see the look on his face when he found his presents. I knew it would be absolutely magical.

But as we progressed through the Christmas season, he only had one request, which he repeated many times. He wanted a miniature candy cane. He was sure Santa would hang it on his personal little Christmas tree. That was it.

I debated what to do. Would I put a candy cane on his tree, or would I add other gifts to it? It took some thought back and forth, but in the end, minimalism won out for me. I wanted to give him what he was expecting. I didn’t want to set him up for needing more and more each Christmas. I wanted him to find satisfaction in the small and simple things in life. And this was a perfect opportunity to see if I was really willing to do what I professed to do as somewhat of a minimalist.

On Christmas morning, there were no presents under the tree. Santa had left only one thing for my son. There was a miniature candy cane hung on his Christmas tree, just like he had hoped there would be. He was overjoyed that Santa had left him just what he asked for. He savored his candy, licking it carefully during the whole morning. There was nothing diminished for me in the experience. I gave a gift – a perfect gift in his eyes – and the look on his face was absolutely magical.

It can be simple. If we step back and evaluate expectations and then strive to find balance in what we’re truly trying to create, it can be a season of peace and joy. If we have to cut out a visit or a concert or buying gifts for someone, then let it be. Sometimes, a candy cane really can be enough.

I hope you have a beautiful holiday with your loved ones and enjoy the season to its fullest! Merry Christmas!