MOODY: A merry minimalist Christmas to you

Susan Moody, Emerald Coast Insider

Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, there are so many new Twitter Hash Tags to help us get into the holiday spirit we can sometimes feel overwhelmed, unappreciated and uninspired.

Add that to keeping up with Christmas lists, holiday cards, Pinterest posts and those pesky Elves on all of our shelves, and many of us are exhausted before we even start. Trying to find and nurture a true holiday spirit is difficult and can really take away from what should be a joyous season.

My friend Christine Koh, and her co-author Asha Dornfest, wrote a great book this year, "Minimalist Parenting," and they recently launched a Minimalist Holiday web series, designed to help over-worked, over-stressed and over-scheduled families streamline their Christmas traditions and enjoy the celebrations and moments that are really important to them. Christine and Asha recommend we shorten our to-do list and focus on the things that bring us the most joy. With that in mind, I started to think about which holiday traditions are most important to me and what celebrations I should focus on this season.

I may have missed shopping on Small Business Saturday last week, but I’ll spend my holiday dollars locally. One of my favorite and newest holiday traditions is my marathon shopping day with Jennings. Heading out early one day, we’ll methodically work through our lists, leaving enough room for impulse buys, lunch and a sweet treat or two along the way. From wrapping paper to small batch bourbon, we’ll buy all our gifts right here in town, supporting our friends and neighbors.

My two favorite Destin holiday traditions are the city of Destin Christmas Tree Lighting at the Community Center and the annual Christmas Parade. The lighting takes place Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Destin Community Center at 6 p.m. Donations of canned goods and non-perishable food are appreciated. With both kids in elementary school this year, I’m not making sweatshirts with handprint trees anymore, but I will be there to cheer on the preschoolers as they ring their bells for the “Carol of The Bells” and celebrate the season with local musicians and bands. Of course the highlight is Santa’s arrival.

We also look forward to marching in the annual Christmas Parade every year as well. Some years it is warm and sunny, other years it’s cold and wet, but it is always a good time. Now that Harper can walk the route herself, we should make good time and manage to keep pace with the rest of the group, but she has been known to slow down and find the perfect piece of candy or the right color beads for one of her friends.

Who’s to say that’s not the best way to spread Christmas cheer?

I’m going to do my best to take Christine and Asha’s advice this year, and not sweat the small stuff and focus on the holiday events and traditions that are the most enjoyable. I will take deep cleansing breaths and not worry about my lack of creativity when it comes to our Elf on the Shelf. Instead, I’ll enjoy another cookie and raise a glass of good cheer in celebration of the season. If you’d like to get tips on a less stressful holiday season from Minimalist Parenting, you sign up at and they’ll be delivered to your inbox daily, and no reason to stress out if you don’t read them.

Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at