A Joyful Simple Christmas, Please

by Alissa


I love the cozy Christmas season, warming our spirits in the midst of winter.  Christmas is supposed to be a holiday of love, sharing, and joy, but it can quickly become a source of stress if we aren’t careful.  As my family has changed our relationship with stuff, our Christmas holiday has become simpler and much more enjoyable.  We focus on experiences more than shopping.   We exchange fewer but more meaningful gifts.  I don’t miss making mad dashes to the post office and crowded stores.  Rather than anxiously rushing through the holidays, we like to relax and take it all in.  Are you stressed or filled with
peace during the holidays?  What kind of holiday memories do you want to create for your family?  Here is a little fill in the blank for you:

At Christmas, I fondly remember….

-decorating the tree

-driving through our neighborhood to view the dazzling lights

-sledding with my family

-playing board games and laughing a lot!

-decorating sugar cookies and leaving some for Santa

-singing Christmas carols

-adding hats and gloves to the mitten tree at church

-building snowmen

-sipping mugs of hot chocolate

– sitting around the fireplace together

-(you fill in the blank )

What Christmas memory warms your heart?  Of course, I remember the excitement of getting gifts, but I believe that meaningful experiences trump piles of presents.  I am not against buying gifts.  I actually enjoy picking out special presents, especially for my children.  They have a couple of toys on their wish list.  Between Santa, my husband, and myself, those wishes will be met.  Beyond that, more stuff will add clutter to their room (they share a small room with no closet storage).  Honestly, the best give you could give is your time.  I believe that gifts of consumables and experiences bring great joy without the burden of storing and taking care of more stuff.  Examples: movie tickets, gift card for a favorite restaurant, stickers, markers, drawing paper, museum membership, chewing gum, gift certificate for ice skating or roller skating, clothing (kids are always outgrowing their clothes), Play-doh, lip balm, etc.  You get the picture, right?  You may not want to simplify your own holidays and that is fine.  I don’t want to change your Christmas.  I want to be able to simplify mine, though, and that means receiving less stuff.  Still don’t get it?  If you think I’m a bit nuts, try this analogy:  If someone you loved was trying to lose weight, would you insist on buying them candy and cookies on Christmas?  Would you be upset if they didn’t want more sweets?  You could say we are on a stuff diet.  We feel healthier and happier when we accumulate less stuff.  We praise quality over quantity.  We feel more peace when our holidays aren’t spent consuming more and more.  We want to pass this onto our children.  Here are some of our past holiday memories which make us smile: