How do we achieve simple happiness during this holiday season? It is the holiday season and I don't care what anyone says. I have always typically loved the holidays. (Okay, last year sucked but that is a different story).
I have always Christmas-fied my home by December 1 and played Christmas songs etc. until December 31. NO EXCEPTIONS on the music.
My family is about ready to kill me already this year if they hear “Jingle Bell Rock” even one more time (uh-oh and its only the 6th)
So, for me, the holiday season is about pretty lights in our home, maybe the odd nice smelling candle or two, friends and family. It is a time for being cozy etc.
I have little sparkly lights all over the living room ($5.99 a strand from Rona and oh so pretty). Small cost for a ton of atmosphere. Simple happiness at a cost, but a cheap one.
Yet, the other part of Christmas that I don’t even think I like to admit to (or acknowledge how much I play a part in) relates to the and, well, gross amount of spending that can occur on consumer items. Has this delivered simple happiness? I think not.
Do I even remember what I bought last year? Do I even remember what was bought for me? Okay, maybe last year. But the year before? Emphasis bought. Emphasis items.
The grownups in my extended family exchange names and we each have one name and give one gift and get one gift. I say way better than buying a bunch of crap.
So, I up the ante somewhat and try to make the gift I am giving. One year I “gave” my sister in law an Indian themed dinner party. It was awesome.
Yet, I have to admit it. The consumer-type purchases still add up.
For example, our office is having a “Secret Santa” so I bought gifts for that (hey its fun right?!).
I also have to get a few friends each a little something of course. Oh, and then there is my man and 2 stepdaughters and my own daughter. Oh, and I can’t forget the Dogs, and the cat. Not to mention there is the gift from me for our girl and the gift from Santa . . .
Oh and my paralegal who busts her A** for our firm all year. And what about the other support staff who are seriously awesome.
Not to mention I want to get tasty chocolate treats, Almond Rocha, Japanese oranges etc.
What happened to the holiday season and the simple happiness it brings being about friends, family, coziness and love?
Where does the consumer craziness end?
What is nonconforming about any of it?
Time to challenge our selves into making it about soul and not about the stuff I think.
So, how does a de-Joneser make gift giving sustainable in terms of our earth and sustainable in terms of our cash?
How do we make sure we don’t spend our hard earned bucks on a bunch of stuff whose fate will be in a landfill? Stuff, that no mater how nice right now, will likely be forgotten really very soon?
Rather than buying stuff, my suggestion is to focus on buying, making, creating, or giving experience.
Or, if we give stuff, not to cop out and buy it at some big box store, but give something made by us or refurbished by us. Last year I gave a friend an old antique saw horse (yep, totally banged up with saw cuts etc.) for his trendy new apartment. I think he means it when he says he loves it.
This means making a commitment about not adding any relatively thoughtless (read easy to pick up without much thought consumer items).
So, for those of us who think of ourselves as not creative, think again. I can’t draw a picture or do anything crafty for the life of me. Yet, I know when I think enough, something awesome can come up.
What about a hand-made gift certificate for a picnic date in the spring?
One year I wrote a poem (yes it was ridiculous) for someone I loved.
What it means is that each gift will really come from the heart.
Another example? Our 10-year old would like a website. She wants to start blogging. I will help her with that and get her a premium wordpress theme. We will work on something together that inspires her. It will also inspire our relationship. It will teach her a lot too.
I will take my cousin (who is like my second Mom) to an awesome restaurant in Vancouver because she loves that kind of thing.
I might take my man on a romantic sleepover once all the dust settles after the holidays.
So, now we have the idea.
What ideas from the heart will inspire you?
This article was written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional on one December morning before she headed out Christmas shopping . . . just saying.
Return from Simple Happiness.