This time of the year we all find ourselves entrenched with party planning, cookie baking, gift buying and decor wrangling. With the season’s chaos underway it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. So how can we get through the holiday hub-bub in a conscious way without forsaking tradition?
One way is to make a list, and check it, not twice, but three or even four times.
Writing out your plans sounds simple enough but can be a thought-provoking exercise that will help you readjust your attitudes toward gift giving. By having a list, you’ll prevent spontaneous consumption and can sharpen your focus for the shopping at hand. Spend a night drafting one and you’ll see that the benefits (less stress, less spending, more consideration for the giftee and environment) make the time you set aside well worth it.
Here are some suggestions on how to make your list:
Have a gimmick. We’ve all heard of ‘secret Santa’ exchanges and white elephant get-togethers. Why not take these concepts out of your office soireeÂ and make them the standard for family as well? Rather than buying a random chachki for each member of your fam, pull a name from a hat and stick to one present for one person. Not only will this prevent you from wasting literal and figurative green, you’ll be able to really put thought into your purchase, making it that much more special for both you and the recipient.
Make it specific. A tradition that my husband and I have been following for years is creating categories for our gifts. This year we’ve set the following parameters for one anothers presents: something yellow, one that that’s edible, an experience and something utilitarian. By setting these fun gift conditions we’ve found our imaginations stretched and the act of ‘hunting’ for each object an adventure rather than a chore.
Set some boundaries. Whether financial or philosophical, communicating limits or expectations goes a long way when setting the tone for holiday shopping. By having a budget per gift per person, or by vowing to only by local, handmade, vegan, etc., you’ll not only be setting a stellar example for your family (and ingraining good habits) you’ll also be supporting the green economy!
Keep it simple. At the end of the day, the holidays come down to celebration family and faith. When we inject consumerism and busyness into the season we rob ourselves of the joy of the season. So rather than get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, take a deep breath, have a hot cocoa and remember to prioritize what’s truly important.
How do you keep yourself from having a manic holiday season? Share your tips, insights and suggestions with us!