Ah, the festive season. Carol singing. Sparkling trees in windows. Beautiful Hallmark moments full of festive simplicity with the kids. Or… chaos, panic and honestly, a whole lot of stress for many British families. Because yes, for us, Christmas is wonderful. But I also know how quickly it can turn into a dreaded event – shrouded in too many social obligations and not enough brussel sprouts (although I think Ed, my son, would argue on that point!).

So, for the past few years, I’ve been applying the basic rule of ‘KISS’ when it comes to Christmas. That’s ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid!’. Despite being a Christmas enthusiast – who, yes, even, adores those early moments when Channel 5 starts to play terrible festive films – I know that simplicity is key to avoiding festive burnout. And truly enjoying this special time.

Can I inspire you to take a leaf out of our book? I think Christmas varies so much from person to person and family to family. However, I think a sprinkle and sparkle of festive simplicity can do wonders… So here’s what we do in our Hoogaly family.

We create calming spaces

When the decorations come out, Christmas starts officially – or at least in our house anyway! But our style isn’t overly ornate. It’s more about making even more cosy corners than usual and using cosy home accessories.

As well as the obvious Christmas tree decs, I use chunky knitted throws and blankets to dress up our sofas – and make sure our contemporary lighting is cosy throughout the house.

We say no, thank you

I’m so grateful to be invited to so many wonderful events at Christmas – I know how lucky we are to have a great network of friends and family.

However, it can be exhausting at times. And not great for our wellbeing. So, now we limit the number of events we attend. No excuses or panic. Just a polite and friendly no, thank you.

This not only means more time at home as a family but more ‘me time’ too! Which is just as important.

If you feel guilty for missing an event, why not send a little gift to the host instead?

We share Christmas ‘chores’

Have you ever watched a festive movie and wondered how they make all the Christmas prep look so fun? Admittedly there are some lovely parts but a lot of it? Hard work. From present-buying to food prep, it’s tempting to do it all as the ‘mum’ in the family.

A few years ago, I realised that being ‘mum’ didn’t mean I had to do it all. So now we divide our to-do list (Ed gets involved too!), and it’s so much easier. Even if it’s tasking my other half, Andy, to pick up a bottle of Baileys (for the hot chocolates in handmade mugs – mmm!) on his way home from work.

We go outside

As much as we love snuggling, you can’t beat a wintry walk – and being dog owners, we have no excuse! Frosty, sunshine-sparkling mornings are our favourite. However, we even find joy in a rainy, dull day walk – as imagine how cosy you feel when you get home.

Grab a flask of coffee and take it out with you!

We plan days for NOTHING

No events, no parties, no chores – just days pottering around our home. Headspace. So needed. Complete bliss – especially once Christmas Day has passed.

I like to snuggle up on the sofa, candles lit (these lithopane tea light holders give the ultimate cosy glow!) and read a book.

Prepare for simplicity to enjoy your Christmas

Christmas isn’t just about the kids. Your partner. Your family. Your friends. Or anyone else. It’s about you too – and your enjoyment too. And by embracing a more simple approach, you can slow down and appreciate the heartwarming and real sides of the festive period that matter. Family laughter, friends coming together, days on the sofa, wintery nature and good food (lots of good food!). These are the moments that count.

Take the hassle out of festive traditions

Tempted with Elf on the Shelf, but (like us!), you think something with less ‘commitment’ is for you?

Relax and enjoy the festive joy the kids will get from Shrumann the Reindeer Feeder – he’s the super cute helper who shoots up the chimney on Christmas Eve and feeds the reindeer whilst the presents are being delivered.

Simple festive gifts, wrapped with cosy love

Take a look at our comfy online store – and see if any of the simple cosy lifestyle and home pieces will make a thoughtful Christmas gift for a loved one.

As a small family-run business, every time someone shops with us, it means so much.

Festive gift-wrapping from us

For long-distance friends and family, we can gift wrap your items – and even include a little card for them to open.

Sending festive Hoogaly love from ours to yours

Gill & the Hoogaly family