Declutter Your Holiday with A Stop Doing List

I first heard about the stop doing list from one of my favorite podcasters, Ruth Soukup. It’s the exact opposite of the to-do list, which makes it a planner’s delight and a big huge relief at the very same time! If you love checking items off your list, but you feel a little overwhelmed by all there is to do in December, then declutter your holiday with a Stop Doing List.

Here’s what’s on my stop doing list this month:

#1: Making pie

Met Market makes a better pie than I do, and that’s ok. We all have our strengths. This year, if I’m asked to bring a pie, I will buy it. I will have a dressing drink before my holiday gatherings and listen to Nat King Cole instead of slaving over flour and iced cold water and curls of butter. This year, my biggest pie dilemma will be deciding between coconut crème and salted caramel apple. Someday, I might have the time and energy to make a homemade crust, and cut little holly shapes in the dough, but not today!

#2: Doing an elaborate advent calendar

For Christians, advent is a reminder that God is with us. I love that reminder. What I don’t love is that it has somehow turned into a tradition of giving kids a toy every day from December 1 until Christmas eve. No thank you!

Right before my oldest son was born, when my sentimentality was the highest and I was the most hormonal, I made an elaborate Advent calendar that contains 24 origami boxes, which I folded and fastened to a canvas, and tied with ribbon. As you can imagine motherhood was quite a shock to me. I made this advent calendar thinking that I’d put something festive to do inside each one:  make hot cocoa, or go look at Christmas lights, or I’d include a Bible verse. These are all things I’d like to do anyway, but this year we will do them spontaneously rather setting the bar that we will do something festive each day. It’s too much festiveness! This year that advent calendar will stay packed away, and I’ll think of it fondly, and be happy it’s not something I have to manage.

#3: Feeling like you need to throw a holiday party

Notice I didn’t say “throw a holiday party.” Each year I “feel like” I should throw a holiday party, and often I don’t do it, and I feel guilty. This year, I’m going to let it go. Instead, I’m going to really enjoy the parties that other people host, and I’ll jovially bring along my store-bought pie.

#4: Making a handmade gift for the neighbors

Most years, I do like making granola, cookies, or jam for the neighbors. There’s something old fashioned about giving neighbors something handmade that feels nice and in the spirit of the season. This year, I had everything all ready to go to make cute little mason jar snow globes with bottle brush trees, and I just dropped the ball. I had surgery last week and I’m still recovering from it. All the ingredients for this project are sitting in my art supply closet, but I can’t manage it this year. Instead I’ll take the items back to the store when I can, and send a Christmas card instead. Sometimes it’s okay to let things go in favor of taking care of yourself.

What’s on your stop doing list? Post a comment and let me know! I hope this inspires you to unclutter your holiday list and take good care.

With heart,


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