This year we are keeping things really simple for Christmas. Mainly, it is out of necessity as I am incredibly pregnant with baby #6 (36 weeks!!!). But it is also out of principle. I just want to enjoy the holidays, and not be stressed in the preparations for them! So if you're like me, and want to enjoy the holidays more than stress over them, here are my essential ingredients to a simple and stress free Christmas!

1. Decorate with the basics in an afternoon

In years past, I have put a lot of pressure around a "decorating day". And while I love traditions, I just found it got overwhelming. People fought over who got to put what decoration up, I always ran out of those little hooks you need for the ornaments, and in the end I was always more spent than excited. So especially where small kids are involved, I suggest you limit the decorating to a few hours on an afternoon. Put up the main things: tree, lights, tree skirt, a garland, a few stockings, and that is it. And then call it a day. You'll be happy as the house has a little Christmas in it, but not so exhausted that you can't enjoy it. 

This year, I am obsessed with my new feather tree from Bouclair- I love the texture and white contrast in my living room! 

2. Add the ornaments slowly over time

We have a family tradition of keeping things simple during Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then adding all the colour and fun on Christmas Eve. This also has strategic merit- with toddlers in my house, ornaments don't stand a chance. But I did find these adorable pom-pom and bell combo garlands from HomeSense which the kids kinda went crazy over. They also make for a versatile ornament- even if they get pulled off the tree by little "helpers", they look beautiful even when just pooled on the floor in a heap.

The point of this tip is just to add things as you find time to- or as you pick up trinkets at the store. No pressure to do it all in one hurrah. 

3. Re-use fall planters

I was a little skeptical of how these would turn out, but I love the result. Again, out of convenience, I didn't want to spend time or money on brand new planters. When I realized my fall cabbages matched the purple ribbon I quickly tied around my faux fur wreath (picked up at HomeSense while shopping for a client), I decided to see if I could make them feel "holiday" with greens cut from my garden and the birch logs that have been sitting on my porch since last Christmas (eep)!!! I love the result, and love that it didn't cost me a single cent. I don't think this would work with every fall flower out there, but you can bet these will be on repeat next year on my porch! 

4. Throw some battery operated garlands in a vessel for an instant holiday centrepiece

I picked up this garland at Bouclair pretty inexpensively because I knew it would work somewhere in my house. I literally just put them in a candy dish I have (these would also look super cute in a cloche) and called it a day! If I have time I might go out and grab another one to fill the dish to the brim- I love how this sparkles and shines!

5. Embrace the chaos- especially around holiday pictures

We do our best to take a family photo for our Christmas card every year. And every year, I vow I will never do it again (just kidding…)! As the image above and this energetic photo of my daughter exemplifies, getting 7 family members to look at a camera at the same time is somewhat chaotic, to say the least. If these photos could talk, you would hear that 3 children had literal melt downs in rapid succession. So when one kid finally calmed down, the next one was upset about a totally new thing. In my younger years as a parent I would get so stressed about everyone looking / wearing the right thing and would have really limited (as in no) patience for this kind of thing. Now, I just embrace it and know that Photoshop works wonders and when that fails, oh well. Sometimes the images off the cutting room floor are better than the more staged ones. 

For some practical tips around family photos, I suggest you all wear outfits that coordinate somewhat, and if you can swing it, give kids 2 choices in what they wear (but limit their options to the ones in your colour palette). And not going to lie, we bribe with candy. #noshame

If you're feeling overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin in your holiday prep- download my Last Minute Planning Guide for a Stress-Free Holiday! Totally free for you : ) 

Cheers to a beautiful time of year,