Tis the season to be overwhelmed with magazines articles telling you how to “simplify” your holidays.

The other day I was reading Country Living at work. (I’m not sure why it was there or in fact why it is called Country Living. There is not a speck of mud, let alone horse manure, anywhere in those houses.) Anyway, this issue had the results of a questionaire about how people simplify their holidays.

The magazine picked the best suggestion. The winner? The lady who wrote in to say that she wrote her Christmas cards on the beach in July.

The runners-up were all along the same idea. Doing all your baking before Thanksgiving, etc. How is that simplicity? That is spreading out a bunch of unnecessary crap throughout the year as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s my holiday stuff. I order some presents online or buy them early at a store. I don’t go to stores after Thanksgiving. I don’t buy lots of presents. One or two for each person.

I don’t decorate. The husband likes a tree so he puts a fake one up. He adds a bit of fake pine (otherwise known as brush for my brush jump) on the windowsills. This will be extra easy this year because he never took the brush down last year.

There is a party for his work. Sometimes a party for mine. Then we go to my parents’ for Christmas eve and day. Then we come home.

I just don’t get where the stress comes in. No one in my family has ever seemed stressed by the holidays. I think that people like to be able to claim to be really stressed around the holidays. No one is holding a gun to their heads to make them throw multiple parties or buy so many presents that they can’t pay their bills.

Then I read an article on the exact same topic in Yoga Journal. Not surprisingly the advice here was much more to my liking. They discussed finding a balance between advoidance and excess. The recommended starting simply traditions like having a potluck or an indoor picnic instead of a formal meal. They suggested taking time to honor nature and not accepting invitations to every party. That advice is so much more loving to yourself than the “start Christmas from your beach chair” advice of other magazines.