The only Christmas list you’ll need

Expert advice on taking the stress out of the holiday—and making the best with less

Katherine Gibson, author of Pause and Unclutter, offers a few tips to simplify the holidays.

1. Be honest with yourself, family and friends about your gift giving. Reduce expectations. Most people will be relieved that you’ve brought it up.

2. Withdraw the amount you plan to spend on gifts in cash.

3. Meet with family and friends for lunch instead of giving gifts

4. Make a couple of denim shopping bags for an environmentally conscious friend.

5. Give a family gift rather than individual gifts.

6. Spend lots of time outdoors. Buy your tree at a local tree farm or take a drive and look at the lights together.

7. Organize a warm coat collection and donate the coats to an organization that needs them.

8. Give friends or family a card indicating you’ve donated to a charity on their behalf.

9. Make a holiday “fun jar.” Write down activities such as “read a Christmas book together” or “bake your favorite cookies” on small slips of paper. Put them in the jar and take turns choosing one each night.

10. Give gifts from the kitchen—tins filled with your favourite cookies