We are having a frugal, simple Christmas this year. We have gone easy on gift buying with most of the purchases being for the children in the family. Our family will gather together on Christmas Eve afternoon at my brother-in-laws house for a few hours, leaving time for church or relaxing around the house in the evening.
Our outside lights are all LED this year to help save on electricity use and bills. It is also nice because you can hook many more strings together, rather than the three string limit on traditional lights. We like to decorate the outside of our house as a way to share Christmas with our neighbors.
Inside our decorations are at a minimum. We probably only put out a fourth of our decorations. Our live tree from Lowes is smaller this year, so we only used our most special decorations on it. Then a few table top items were placed throughout the house. As we age and DD leaves home I envision us moving to a table top tree.
I also like to use bowls and vases that I already have filled with pine cones or ornaments as decorations on tables. If the bowl is large, fill the bottom with a crumpled up plastic bag, then place the cones or decorations over the top. Take a clear glass vase and fill it with a string of white LED lights, which are available in battery powered.
For the first time in twenty years I did not send out Christmas cards. I will probably do it again next year, but I was not looking forward to it and I was feeling pressured. I may break it up by sending out cards a few at a time for other occasions during next year.
Strangely enough no one in the family has expressed disappointment at our pared down preparations. I think that it has been a relief for all of us to have less expectations or demands made on us. Christmas is supposed to be about our faith and family, not about a perfectly decorated home or meeting the expectations of others.