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It’s important to me to focus on the magic of Christmas, family and friends during the holiday season with these 100+ simple Christmas ideas. I don’t want to spend a lot of time decorating, choosing gifts, wrapping gifts or cooking. I want to pamper my family and friends during the holiday season, but I don’t want it to overwhelm my time or energy. These are simple Christmas ideas that any busy person can really do and be proud to share.

Originally published October 16, 2016 and updated November 23, 2022.

2 mugs with sweater sleeves in red and white with cocoa, marshmallows and candy canes.

Simple Christmas Ideas

It’s important to identify what is Christmas spirit to you. Identifying those foundations, allow you to focus on what’s important and let go of the other holiday craziness.

A simple Christmas means different things to different people:

  • Minimalist Christmas – You can choose where on the minimalism scale you want to land. Don’t think you have to go to extremes (unless you want to).
  • Simple traditions – For many, finding simple, meaningful traditions brings deep joy during the holiday season
    • Bring back cherished family traditions
    • Add new traditions focusing on the spirit of simplicity
    • Deciding to exchange simple gifts
  • Focus on simple pleasures of connection
    • Attending church services
    • Spending time with the entire family

  • Sharing handmade Christmas gifts
    • Encourages not spending too much money during these challenging financial times
    • Involve children and other family members in crafts and making gifts
    • There are tutorial for more than 80 easy-to-make handmade gifts below
  • Maintaining a simple schedule
    • Make a list of holiday activities
      • Holiday decorating
      • Sending Christmas cards
      • Christmas parties
      • Christmas Eve events
      • Christmas morning
      • Christmas dinner
    • Determine what’s most important to you and what you can let go.

  • Including natural elements – Rather than purchasing more decorations, look for ways to incorporate fresh materials
    • Pine branches and evergreen sprigs
    • Fresh fruit
    • Popcorn
    • Homemade ornaments baked in the oven

How Do You Make Christmas Easy

  • Decide what makes Christmas time important to you.
  • Measure all activities and Christmas ideas against what you decided was important.
    • Eliminate any activities that don’t contribute to what you’ve identified as important for you.
    • Say, “No, thank you” to activities that don’t match up 100% with what you’ve decided is important to you.
    • Say, “No.” to activities that will create stress during a busy holiday season.
  • Don’t get caught up in competing with past traditions, the neighbors or relatives or even the commercialized version of the holiday.
  • Determine a set Christmas budget and stick to it.
  • Find simple Christmas Ideas that work to support what you identified as important.

Check out my favorite simple and meaningful Christmas activities below:

  • Organizing
  • Charitable giving ideas
  • Christmas decorating
    • Advent calendars
    • Decorating
  • Christmas crafts
  • Christmas gift guides
  • Gift wrapping ideas
  • Christmas printable game and activities
  • Christmas recipes  
wood reindeer next to snowy window with carved Christmas trees and white candles.

Simple Christmas Ideas

Planning and Organizing for the Holidays

A little planning and organizing prior to December and during the holiday season is probably the most important simple Christmas idea. 

11 images of checklists and planner sheets with text overlay reading Free Christmas Planner Printables.

Free Christmas Planner Printable – 14 different pages to plan your entire Christmas day and preparation leading up to the big day.  

close up of mother and child reaching for red Christmas ornament on tree.

Holiday Season Preparation Dos and Don’ts –  Planning and organization allow you to enjoy Christmas & focus on what’s important to you. These 7 tips for holiday season preparation are the key. 

close up of ornaments on a Christmas tree with overlay reading 8 Organized Christmas Morning Ideas.

An Organized Christmas Morning – Just a few easy planning tips and you, too, can have an organized and peaceful Christmas morning. 

suitcase, gift bags, and travel tickets with text overlay reading Holiday Air Travel Tips.

Holiday Air Travel Tips Traveling over the holidays can be stress-free and even enjoyable with these simple tips. 

Mother and child reaching for red Christmas ornament on tree with text overlay.

How to Toddler Proof a Christmas Tree – Simple tips that really work from a mom of three and parent educator.

close up of ornaments on Christmas tree with text overlay.

How to Pack Christmas Decorations for Free – You can use repurposed items and these hacks to securely pack your precious decorations without spending a penny. 

Two stacked storage bins with text overlay reading Store Your Decorations to Survive a Military Move.

How to Store Your Decorations to Survive a Military Move  – How you store your decorations are important for preserving them through moves and years of storage in all types of environments. 

image of two Christmas decoration tubs with printable labels with text overlay.

Free Printable Christmas Labels – Use these free printable Christmas labels to identify your decoration storage boxes. Organization will help you save time during this busy season.

Charitable Ideas for Christmas

Simple Christmas ideas to help others in your community during the Christmas season and share the true meaning of Christmas.

red and blue fabric gift bag with Santa images and toys nearby.

DIY Santa Sack for Christmas Toy Donations – Make an adorable reusable fabric gift bag using basic, beginner sewing skills. This gift bag is the perfect accompaniment to donated children’s gifts. 

baseball hat with "love your neighbor" on the front and text overlay.

Homeless Care Package and Blessing Bag Ideas – More than 10 care package ideas specifically to help the homeless

2 large light lavender flowers with text overlay reading Charitable Giving Ideas and Tips.

Charitable Giving Tips and Ideas – More than 20 different ideas to give back to your community and help others. 

printable cards decorated with hearts and prompts for purposeful daily acts of kindness.

30 Purposeful Daily Acts of Kindness – 30 free printable cards with ideas for a daily act of kindness for each day of the month. 

Advent Calendars

white envelopes with Christmas themed words in Christmas colors.

Easy Homemade Advent Calendar – Make this easy Advent Calendar from items you probably already have. 

rows of cups decorated for Christmas and filled with small gifts.

DIY Advent Calendar – This DIY Advent Calendar is perfect for sending to deployed troops or college students. 

wreath-shaped Advent calendar made from a 45 record, green-painted clothespins, and red bow.

Repurposed 45 Record Advent Calendar – You’ll be rockin’ around the Advent calendar when you make a one-of-a-kind Advent calendar featuring an upcycled record. 

Christmas Decorating

Easy DIY Ornaments – You can make these charming ornaments for a dollar each. They only take minutes to make. 

gold ball Christmas ornament with monogramed letter S with text overlay reading Easy DIY Ornaments.

Personalized Christmas Tree Ornaments – Make these personalized ornaments to give as gifts or as unique decorations for your tree. 

red Christmas ornament ball with silver monogrammed letter R.

Mini Rustic Christmas Wreaths – These charming wreaths are great for decorating, ornaments or even decorating gift packages. 

three small wreaths made from different pieces of green fabric scraps with red bows.

DIY Twine Balls – Beautiful Christmas décor you can make for pennies. A fun craft to make with children.

clear vase holding red and white twine balls.

Champagne & Wine Corks Craft – Use repurposed corks from wine and champagne to create these charming Christmas tree decorations. They can be hung on the tree or placed on tables and mantles. 

small Christmas trees made from wine corks on white wood table.

Christmas Decor from Repurposed Game Blocks – A charming addition to your Christmas décor made from repurposed wood game blocks.

wooden Jenga blocks decorated with Christmas patterned paper and spelling out the word believe.

Recycled Laundry Scoop Decoration– Make a beautiful and magical Christmas decoration from a simple recycled laundry scoop. 

5 plastic laundry scoops decorated for Christmas as small dioramas.

Easy Candy Wreath – Create a fun and festive wreath from candy. Makes a wonderful gift. 

wreath made from red wrapped Twizler candy.

Upcycled Book Page Christmas Wreath – A sophisticated holiday decoration for the book lover. 

wreath made from rolled up book pages with a red boy and glittery reindeer.

Christmas Gift Giving and Wrapping

three gifts wrapped in recycled sweaters with big bows in front of a pine tree branch.

Christmas Gift Wrap Idea – Create magical gift wrap that warms the heart. It all starts with recycled sweaters. 

wrapped presented decorated to look like a green Air Force flight suit sitting on wrapping paper.

Christmas Gift Wrapping Idea – Air Force Flight Suit- A fun and unique gift wrap idea for the aviator or aviation lover on your list. 

two presents wrapped in recycled red sweaters with bows.

Repurposed Sweater Sleeve Gift Bags – Charming gift bags are made from recycled sweaters. 

Collage of three images of blue and green felt gift bags with bows.

Easy to Make Felt Gift Bag – You can make charming felt gift bags for Christmas or Hanukkah. 

repurposed plastic food jars and containers decorated with Christmas paper.

Repurposed Packaging for Homemade Treat Gift Giving – You can make gift giving containers for your homemade baked treats. 

Christmas patterned fabric gift bags on white table.

Fabric Gift Bags – Make lovely fabric gift bags that are earth-friendly since you can use them again and again for years. 

four gift card holders decorated with Christmas images like Santa and a snowman.

DIY Gift Card Holders – Gift cards are the perfect gift for so many situations. Jazz up those gifts with handmade, unique gift card holders.

Collage of 6 images of Christmas gift wrap projects with text overlay.

30+Creative Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas – There are ideas here for everyone. Christmas gifts wrapping should be fun and creative. 

Christmas Printable Checklists and Christmas Activities

Free Santa Letterhead Printables Add a dash more magic to your child’s Christmas with these 3 free Santa letterhead printables that create treasured Christmas memories.

3 sheets of Santa letter heading pages.

Yearlong Gift Planner – Plan your gift giving and accomplish it all year long so that you’re not stressed out at the last minute. 

Closeup of colorful gift planner on pink and lime green background.

Christmas Scavenger Hunt – Keep children occupied playing a fun Christmas game that works for parties, visits to grandma’s house, parties and more 

close up of 8 colorful Christmas scavenger hunt game sheets.

Christmas Craft for Kids – Rudolph Puppets – a fun Christmas craft for kids to go with the nostalgic Rudolph movie. Free template to make 8 favorite characters as puppets or decorations.

8 colorful Christmas character puppets craft.

Hallmark Christmas Movie Scavenger Hunt – 10 Different game boards to make movie watching even more fun.

pile of Hallmakr Christmas movie bingo cards with colorful illustrations.

Christmas Memory Matching Game – 96 different free printable Christmas Memory Matching Game cards. Design the game as you’d like and create fun traditions & memories

close up of 4 colorful Christmas memory matching game.

Christmas Tree Coloring Pages – These six free Christmas tree coloring pages are perfect for children and adults of all ages. You can download and print them immediately for Christmas fun.

six coloring pages with Christmas trees in different styles.

Christmas Word Search – Free 4-page Christmas word search activity sheets. You can print these immediately and use them again and again for home or classroom use.

close up of 4 Christmas word search sheets.

Christmas Games for Families – Have fun and build family memories with more than 20 Christmas family game ideas including free games & ideas for all ages and interests.

delicate string of colorful Christmas light charms with text overlay reading Christmas Games for Families.

Best Family Christmas Movies – 30 of the best family Christmas movies from the past 70 years with movies for every age & interest. Create a family movie watching tradition.

retro TV with Christmas tree and printable sheet.

Christmas Crafts

Making handmade gifts and decorations add a warmth and nostalgia to Christmas. But we’re all busy people, so simple Christmas ideas for crafts are a must.

Grinch Craft Puppet – Unleash your creativity with this fun and easy Grinch craft puppet tutorial with free printable pattern. Can be used for many different holiday crafts.

DIY Grinch craft from paper with angled red and white polka dot background.
close up of paper crafted Santa suit candy sleeve with greenery on table.

DIY Christmas Candy Wrapper – Who doesn’t love candy for Christmas (or any time, really)? Decorate a gift of candy with this easy-to-make and adorable Santa wrapper. 

set of red and gold candles and various matchboxes covered in Christmas paper.

DIY Decorative Matchbox from Recycled Christmas Cards – Make adorable decorated matchboxes to accompany charming gifts of candles. 

top image - Christmas block sign, bottom image - 4 blocks spelling "love".

Christmas Decor from Repurposed Game Blocks – A charming addition to your Christmas décor made from repurposed wood game blocks.

three red votive candles in clear glasses decorated with gold snowflakes.

DIY Snowflake Votive – You can make these decorated votive candles in minutes and for pennies. They make great party decorations, favors and small gifts. 

5 plastic laundry scoops decorated for Christmas with small dioramas.

Recycled Laundry Scoop – Make a beautiful and magical Christmas decoration from a simple recycled laundry scoop. 

close up of red box crafted to look like front of Santa suit.

Repurposed Santa Treat Box– Craft a charming treat container and decoration from a repurposed plastic container. A great kid’s craft project. 

plastic container decorated to look like a snowman's body with a green felt scarf.

Plastic Container Snowman – Craft a charming snowman treat container and decoration from a repurposed plastic container. A great kid’s craft project.

three glass jars decorated with shimmery white coating and small silver and blue ornaments.

DIY Wintery Epsom Salt Jars – An upcycled craft using recycled glass jars and simple epsom salt. These lovely and magical jars can be used as decorations on a mantle or table or given as party favors. 

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

close up of paper crafted Santa suit candy sleeve with greenery on table.

DIY Christmas Candy Wrapper – Who doesn’t love candy for Christmas (or any time, really)? Decorate a gift of candy with this easy-to-make and adorable Santa wrapper.

DIY wizard crafts that are edible.

Edible Wizard’s Crafts – Make unique edible treats that are perfect for the Harry Potter and fantasy genre fans on your gift list. 

four gift card holders decorated with Christmas images like Santa and a snowman.

DIY Gift Card Holders – Make adorable and personalized gift card holders from recycled and repurposed Christmas cards. Creating a one-of-kind gift card holder jazzes up the gift. 

Gift Guides

Gift guides take the tough work of coming up with just the right gift idea for everyone on your Christmas gift list. This includes both DIY gift guides and gifts for all budgets.

Best Subscriptions Boxes for Older Women – Collection of 36 of the best subscription boxes for older women organized in 6 categories. Subscription boxes make an ideal gift for all older folks.

Gift wrapped in brown paper with black and white gingham bow.

Handmade Gifts for a Boyfriend – Gift ideas are easy with these more than 20 handmade gifts for a boyfriend. Tutorials range from beginner level to more complex, including budget-friendly.

collage of DIY gifts for a boyfriend or man on your gift list.

Best Subscriptions Boxes for Men – Find the best gifts for dad with these 32 subscription boxes for men. Gift ideas for birthdays, Father’s Day, Christmas, unique gifts, food & drink & more.

gift boxes with gold bows and bags with text overlay.

Practical Housewarming Ideas & Gifts – 23 practical housewarming ideas to give as gifts for a new home. These gifts are available in a range of prices and variety of categories.

text overlay with image of traditional house and 2 blue gift boxes.

Top Fitness Subscription Boxes – 14 of the top fitness subscription boxes for men and women of all activity levels and interests. Makes a great one-time or on-going gift.

black and grey fitness gear in corner of room with yoga mat.

Gift Guide for the Tech Lover –  A complete gift guide for the tech lover – 10 affordable gift ideas they’ll love for family and friends of all ages.

Santa holding an electronic tablet with text overlay.

80+ DIY Christmas Gifts –  Giving handmade gifts is a special way to show you care. Handmade gifts are unique ad often one-of-a-kind. 

collage of 10 DIY Christmas gifts images with text.

Best Dinosaur Gifts – 155 of the best dinosaur gifts for all ages and budgets, with all the amazing dinosaur gifts you’re looking for, including stocking stuffers and party favors.

turquoise dinosaur with birthday hat holding green present.

Creative Hobby Subscription Boxes – The best 20 unique monthly & quarterly subscription boxes for crafts, cooking, baking, gardening and puzzles. There are fun ideas for every interest.

woman's hands holding basket with wrapped box and text overlay.

Comprehensive Travel Gifts for Men – 85+ travel gifts for men, with gift ideas for every budget and interest. Find the perfect present for the traveler on your list.

man carrying backpack and rolling suitcase on airport moving sidewalk.

Best Candy Subscription Boxes – The 16 best candy subscription boxes to give as a one-time or monthly gift. The best boxes for every occasion and candy preference.

brown gift box with yellow ribbon with lid open and confetti exploding out.

Top Art Subscription Boxes – 21 of the best art subscription boxes for children ages 3 and up, tweens, teens and adults. Boxes include a variety of themes and mediums.

woman holding paint pallet with multiple colors of blue paint.

Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Adult Children – 70 of the best gift ideas for adult children. Ideas for Christmas, birthday and any occasion for any budget and a wide range of interests.

gifts under Christmas tree wrapped in brown paper.

Made in the USA Gift Ideas –  Most people underestimate the power they have when and how they choose to shop. And the key is – how you to choose to shop. Choose to buy Made in the USA products with this gift guide of fun ideas.

A collection of Made in America gifts like stemless wine glasses and blankets.

Best Gift Ideas for Friends – 40+ best gift ideas for friends. Ideas for birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s & any occasion. Gifts for everyone on your list & every budget.

Woman holding 2 blue gift bags.

Best Gifts for Grandad – Whether for Father’s Day or Christmas, these 65+ gift ideas are sure to please.

grandfather and young child sitting on bench.

Coffee Lover – Hawaiian Coffee – Finding the perfect gift doesn’t have to be difficult with this list of gift ideas that are sure to please.

A collection of clutter-free consumable gifts in a Coffee Lover's Gift Guide - Hawaiian Coffee.

Unique Gifts for Moms – 42 unique gift ideas for mom, including DIY gifts, subscription boxes, gift boxes. There’s a gift idea for every interest, every budget & every skill level.

Brown paper wrapped gift with yellow ribbon on navy blue wrapped gift with text overlay.

DIY Christmas Crafts and Handmade Gifts– A collection of homemade gifts any skill level can make in the DIY Christmas Crafts and Handmade Gift Guide that’s sure to please everyone on your gift list.

A collection of homemade gifts like monogramed mugs, pillows, and sweater sleeves for coffee cups.

Christmas Decorated Cookies

collage of decorated sugar cookies.

Best Decorated Sugar Cookies – Our family’s tried and true decorated cookie dough recipe. We’ve used this recipe for two generations in my family.

11 Doctor Who decorated frosted cookies on wood table.

Doctor Who Cookies – Eleven of the doctors made from a simple gingerbread man cookie cutter and store bought icing.

2 frosted cookies decorated to look like Philadelphia Flyers players.

Philadelphia Flyers Cookies – Using just a gingerbread man cookie cutter and a toothpick, you can create your favorite sports figures.

Christmas Recipes

Holiday Almond Cookies – These cookies are as pretty as they are delicious. They’re a much-requested holiday cookie in my family. 

green frosted cookie on napkin in front of tray of cookies.

Easy White Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe – These mini no-bake cheesecakes are scrumptious and perfect for holiday entertaining. 

close up of no bake cheesecake mini cups on black counter.

Holiday Party Recipe – Warm Seasoned Pecans – We always serve these savory nuts at holiday parties and often give them as neighbor homemade gifts

white bowl of seasoned pecans on white wood table.

Fresh Strawberry Cookies – Make chocolate dipped strawberry cookies for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion. Fresh strawberry cookies are made with only 5 ingredients and easy to make a clean eating version.

plate of chocolate drizzled fresh strawberry cookies.

Chili Mixed Nuts Recipe – Spicy, mixed nuts that are perfect for entertaining or gift giving. 

white bowl full of spiced nuts on white wood table.

Pecan Tassie Cookies – These bite-sized cookies are the best of mom’s pecan pie in a mini version. 

glass of milk with white plate of 3 small pecan cookies.

Old Fashioned Jam Thumbprint Cookies -This nostalgic cookie uses my grandmother’s favorite recipe. 

broken jam cookie on napkin in front of tray of cookies.

Cannoli Pie – This creamy pie is always a holiday hit. 

slice of Cannoli Pie with raspberries on white plate with fork.

Find all our gift ideas in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.