An Alternative Christmas – replacing the silliness with simplicity.
It truly seems like Christmas comes earlier & earlier every year. I saw stores putting our their Christmas merchandise as early as September! Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a good set-up-the-house-for-Christmas party but it seems like the reason for the season is truly getting lost in all the silliness …
Have you noticed all the nic nacs that stores have started to bring out, convincing you to buy just one more thing, for this person & that person, or something extra, just in case … the list can become endless.
That said, I am a gifts gal! I love to give and I love to receive gifts. But these days I want to give what my friends and family actually want or need. And hopefully something that won’t just collect dust or be tossed aside in the mayhem.
So in continuing in the theme of minimalism, here are my hot tips for simplifying the silly season…
1. WANT – NEED – WEAR – READ
Samuel and I read about this concept a number of years ago and it has completely changed the way we give each other & our mini man, Zeke gifts. Both at Christmas and on birthdays. It limits the number & ensures you focus on 4 items with purpose!
You simply buy one gift for each;
Something they WANT,
Something they NEED,
Something to WEAR
Something to READ
If you are like me and enjoy surprises rather than just saying what you want, write each other a list of 3 things in each category. That way you can allow them to pick something but you still get the element of surprise come Christmas morning.
2. THE GIFT EXCHANGE
Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, White Elephant, name-out-of-the-hat, call it what you will. It works! My family has been doing it for as long as I can remember & has even adapted itself as the families have grown. It saves time, money, stress & the wastage of undesired "how thoughtful" gifts …
Now that our families are growing we write each families name down, put them in a hat & draw one out. We have a budget of $100 per family. We give each other suggestions of desired items or adventures and then happily exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.
I don’t think I have ever received an unwanted gift through this system!
3. DINNER PARTIES
Who doesn’t like an excuse to dress up, eat, drink and laugh the night away with some of your favourite people? Over the years, instead of gifts for our friends, we have absolutely loved hosting an intimate dinner party to celebrate our nearest and dearest. Creating an atmosphere, providing a meal, sharing stories & soaking up time together. All of this is more of a gift than any material possession we could afford to give those who have journeyed with us through the shits and joys of the year. Just thinking about planning it makes me smile!
If dinner parties are not your thing, look at other activities you can do with your tribe. Floral workshops, cooking classes, wine tastings, spa days, weekend getaways. The list is truly endless & can be so much more meaningful than stuff!
4. SHOP SMALL
If the thought of having to face the manic crowds of a shopping mall make you want to hide in closet until the new year, here is your relief … Shop local, shop small!
When you shop small, chances are you will know the mouths your purchase will actually help feed! The quality is bound to be better, the service quite likely to be more friendly, the items more unique & the stress will be less!
Here is but a small list of some of my fave small businesses from Oz to Canada & Hawaii in between…
Mar & Par's Unique Kitchen Boards [Facebook]
So, slow down, take a breath and pause a little longer before you head into this season with your bull horns blazing.
Remember the divine gift of Jesus we all have the opportunity to receive & will no doubt sing about in every Christmas carol.
Don’t be afraid to be bold and do Christmas differently this year. You just might inspire others to as well!
Give inspiration, give mercy, give grace, give hope, give gratitude, give time, give encouragement, give kindness, give joy, give laughter, give love, true, deep, meaningful love.
Merry Everything & Happy Always!