When Christmas time comes, it is so easy to get caught up in the commercialism. The media encourages people to rush to stores for the newest sales and “money saving” deals. You cannot escape it online either, your email inbox gets flooded with announcements of cyber deals galore. With all of the stress associated with buying the gifts that everyone wants, dealing with seasonal traffic and long lines, putting up the best decorations and fixing the perfect meals; it is a wonder you have any nerves left, right?
What if you could save time, money and your poor frazzled nerves this year? No, this is not simple wishful thinking, you really can have a simple and meaningful Christmas!
*Less is more. Avoid buying any new decorations this year. Re-use what you have from last year. Chances are good that you have more than enough to properly decorate without rushing out to buy the latest and greatest fad decorations and ornaments. Instead of buying each person on your shopping list more than one gift, only buy one apiece. For families, buy a family gift instead of individual gifts. Examples of family gifts include: board games, fruit basket, box of assorted chocolates and a large assorted popcorn in decorative tin. Sometimes less decorations are more attractive to look at than an over abundance.
*Volunteer. Instead of spending hours shopping and decorating, spend some time helping out those less fortunate than you. Volunteer to help serve meals, help your neighbors shovel snow, or spend some time at your local nursing home, hospital and/or homeless shelter. Sometimes the best gift a person can receive from you is your time. Let someone know you care by helping them or just sitting and talking to them. You can also volunteer at your church to help with any or all of their Christmas events.
*Focus on quality time. Make this Christmas more about spending time with loved ones and much less about the material aspects (gifts, fancy decorations, etc.). Organize family/friend game and/or movie nights, story telling events and only exchange things like homemade cookies and hot cocoa. Get together and sing Christmas carols or go out looking at Christmas displays together. The idea is to observe quality time together without having to have expensive and flashy decorations/gifts.
*Homemade. Try making gifts for everyone on your list instead of buying them. Examples of homemade gifts include: putting together a photo album/scrapbook, making a music CD, writing a song/poem/story, cooking/baking treats. Go one step further and make homemade decorations for your home and Christmas tree. Decoration ideas include stringing popcorn for garland, draw/paint pictures and making ornaments from empty paper towel rolls (cut into equal pieces and paint various designs on them and then put them on the tree branches).
*Shop freebie websites.This is a fantastic way to collect stocking stuffers and small gifts throughout the year. You can come up with awesome things like coffee samples, shampoo/conditioner samples, skin care samples and more. Sometimes you can get in on great deals like baseball cap, t-Shirt, coffee mug and calendar giveaways too. The best way to do this is to perform online searches at least once a week for whatever item or product you are looking for.
You can bring the magic and meaning back to your Christmas celebration by ditching the flash, leaving the credit card in your wallet and focusing on your loved ones.