Fear Less, Love More. These are the names of the two stones in the peace stone meadow at my church. I wear the Fear Less, Love More T-shirt. These words guide many of the activities and people of my church, especially where social justice work is concerned. These words have grounded me over the years, but as we enter a season that sends many good souls over the edge, I find myself also mumbling this mantra: Do Less, Be More.

Do Less

Being of workaholic stock, I’m not good at it.

Be More

What? Just sit? What about all the… [cue me waving my arm towards the boxes of ornaments, Christmas stamps, and baking sheets]?

I can’t always sort out how to do less and be more.

Applying Practices

I consume many podcasts, books, and articles about spirituality, creativity, and all things self-care, nodding my head in agreement as I go, but when I finish, I’m stumped. How do I apply the practices to my life?

  • What does staying positive or in high vibration look like in the middle of a fight with a relative?
  • How do I maintain my integrity when I’m on the receiving end of a plea for pity wrapped in BS?
  • What tools do I need to detangle negative emotions and dysfunctional relationships? Do I need a comb? A counselor? A magic wand?

Practicing Do Less Be More

To practice do-less-be-more during holiday madness, I figure I should start with the Do-Less part. Surely if I do less bouncing from to-do to to-do I’ll have more time to be. I chewed on it and jotted down a new to-do list of ways to simplify my December to-dos.

The notion is four-legged:

  1. Simplify
  2. Release
  3. Delegate
  4. Delay

To simplify, I erected the tinsel trees, wrapped them in lights, but didn’t hang the ornaments.

Years ago, my parents started the tradition of seafood Christmas meals (so much simpler than turkey!). I might also simplify sides and desserts. We don’t need fifteen of each!


For starters, I left the ornaments in the box. If no one were coming to visit, I might not have decorated at all.

I also considered releasing Christmas cards, but I moved these to another strategy (keep reading).

The big release this year: I’m not buying gifts. I let my family know that I won’t be spending on gifts. I will give, but it will be from my hands and heart.


I stink at this, but I found a couple of things to delegate

  • The ornaments I left in the box: when my children get here, they can have at it!
  • The cookies: mom passed down the madness of abundant Christmas goodies. I may never be able to release this tradition but I can delegate. Children and friends will help mix, spoon, and bake the cookies this year.
  • The house: I’m paying a housecleaner to scrub down my house before guests arrive. I think that counts and I feel adultier now.

Finally, the game changer. Delay is a great way to minimize the madness and extend the joy of the season. How?

  • We may be sending New Year’s cards this year. It won’t be the first New Year’s card we’ve sent.
  • Some of the presents from hand and heart might be shipped on December 30 instead of December 20. An Epiphany gift? I think the gift prefers it this way because it gets more attention when it’s not one among dozens.

Have you found ways to de less and be more during the mayhem of the merry season? What do you / can you simplify, release, delegate, or delay?

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022