Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, or just the Winter Solstice, the holiday season is always a busy time of year. What can you cut from your hectic holiday schedule to make the season a bit more sane? Probably more than you think.

1. Pictures with Santa.

You don't have to pay $30 bucks for a bad photo of your kid screaming in Santa's lap, or spend hours standing in line on Christmas Eve because you forgot to visit sooner. Skip this ritual and opt for candid photos around the tree instead.

2. Holiday parties with people you barely know.

Invitations for cookie swaps, Pampered Chef parties, and open houses come pouring in this time of year. Don't feel like you're obliged to attend each one. Politely send your regrets and spend the time with your family instead.

3. Made-from-scratch meals.

If you don't enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, cut yourself some slack and take a few shortcuts. Add store bought sides to your Christmas dinner, or treat your family to a few extra restaurant meals on December nights when you're too tired to prepare a meal.

4. Travel.

It's no secret that traveling with kids is stressful, so simplify your holiday by choosing to stay at home. Invite relatives who want to spend the holidays with you to your house instead.

5. Holiday cards and letters.

Feeling stressed because you can't find the perfect family photo for your holiday card? Or because you don't know what to say in your Christmas newsletter? Skip it completely. Besides, your Facebook friends probably know what you're up to anyway.

6. Gifts.

You may not be ready for a gift-free Christmas, but you can still simplify your shopping and gift-giving. Opt for a Secret Santa gift exchange, or consider a "Buy Nothing" Christmas. You can still make or swap presents, but you won't purchase a thing.

And whatever you do, buy fewer toys. According to a recent study, the U.S. is home to 3.1 percent of the world's children, but 40% of its toys. Clearly, our kids don't need that Skylander we're so desperately searching for.

7. Perfection.

Your holiday doesn't need to look like it came straight off a Pinterest board. Skip the quest for the perfectly decorated home, perfectly basted turkey, perfectly dressed children, etc. and focus instead on the aspects of the season that your family truly enjoys. A picture-perfect holiday isn't always in the things you do, but sometimes it can be found in the things you're willing to give up.

How are you simplifying the holidays this year?