Don’t let clutter mar your holidays

This Christmas, I’m way ahead of myself. And it feels great!
Most of my gifts already are stashed away in my closet or in the basement, ready to be wrapped. Sometimes, I’m “iffy” about some gifts I’m giving. But this year, I have the perfect present for every person on my list.
There are nut breads in the freezer, nicely wrapped in tinfoil. All it will take to transform those loaves into gifts is little red bows. There’s a beautiful poinsettia with three camels on the hearth, and the stair railing is draped with a garland of greens.
We’re going to Roberta’s for Christmas dinner. She’ll have a wonderful feast and I don’t have to do any cooking.
Last Saturday, we had a family Christmas party and we decided to decorate our tree with family memories. Decorations from Sofari, my mother’s gift shop—fragile clip-on glass birds, Raggedy Ann on a little sleigh, a wood Santa Claus face with a long hat, and delicate foil angels.
Gold-painted glass ornaments shaped like crowns that bring back memories of our first year in Kansas 36 years ago. Cardboard balls covered with felt and gold braid, each containing a small Christmas figure—an elf carrying a tiny package, an angel singing from a golden songbook, Santa waving a cheery hello.
Those ornaments bring back memories of a Christmas years ago when we delivered them to our children’s friends.
All of those ornaments are organized in a large storage box, which I bought from a mail order catalogue. Perfectly organized in little compartments—safe from breaking.
So, as organized as I am this Christmas, why was I frustrated with the clutter as I pulled out box after box of ornaments and prepared to decorate the tree and the house?
The reason? I just have too many things in my life—in my Christmas life and my whole life. So that’s why this year, I gave away some of my Christmas decorations in order to have a clutter-free season.
Clutter weighs us down, both physically and emotionally, and leads to stress. There’s also a link between depression and clutter.
So if you’re stressed or depressed this holiday season, try getting rid of the clutter in your life. Create a peaceful space for yourself.
Now is not the time to organize your house from top to bottom. After all your goal is to eliminate stress, not cause it! Rather, now is the time to quickly de-clutter the surface of your house—one room at a time.
You’ll find it easy to clean for company when all your knickknacks, old magazines, and shoes under the couch are put away.
Then, enjoy the process of arranging your Christmas ornaments in that clean space. As you work, discard the decorations that you don’t love.
But at the same time, be sure you keep the items that bring fond memories, and next year when you come to decorate for Christmas, you will be surprised how easy and heart-warming the decorating will be.
Then when the holiday season is over, go on with de-cluttering your whole living space one room at a time. Getting rid of things will give you the time and energy to truly enjoy the things that are most important in life.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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