We had a great time at last week’s Simplifying the Holidays workshop. Several of you emailed me that you had plans, but would have loved to be there so I thought I would share some of what we discussed. First off, the book is a great, quick read: Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For A More Joyful Christmas. It has lots of history and background information about why we should simplify Christmas. It is a bit short on the practical ways to do so though, so we spent most of our time together sharing ideas and tips.
Linda quit giving presents to her children nearly 30 years ago, so we drilled her with questions on how exactly she did that, what her kids thought, and all sorts of other details. She gives experiences as gifts instead, so their family does something special and out of the ordinary together. Dana gives three gifts because the Wise Men brought Jesus three gifts, but she said it was easier to do so when her children were younger and wanted less expensive gifts.
Handmade Gift Ideas DIY Holiday Gifts Michelle shared some of her homemade and repurposing ideas, including this adorable tray that she had bought at Goodwill and refinished. Check out her other ideas here and on her Pinterest board. Jenny brought in lots of ideas that she has crafted in the past, including these adorable salt dough Christmas ornaments that I’m totally stealing for Christmas gift giving this year. Check out the rest of her super easy (even for a non-crafty person like me!) ideas here.
I created a little handout with some questions for reflection, gift ideas, and other ideas on how to simplify things this Christmas. Finally, we discussed how we can use Christmas as a starting point to simplifying our lives into the new year too:
So the reason to change Christmas is not because it damages the earth around us, though surely it does. (Visit a landfill the week after Christmas.) The reason to change Christmas is not because it represents shameful excess in a world of poverty, though perhaps it does. The reason to change Christmas is because it might help us get at some of the underlying discontent in our lives. Because it might help us see how to change every other day of the year in ways that really would make our whole lives healthier in the long run.
Bill McKibben, Hundred Dollar Holiday