Hold onto your hat; the holiday season is about to explode in retail stores everywhere. I know it’s still early, but setting your intentions now, will give you the opportunity to design your celebration rather than react to marketing. According to the Gallup Poll, Americans spend between $400 and $800 on holiday gifts. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of it all, but with a little forethought, you can decrease your spending, increase your joy, and still fit into your home come January 1, 2013.
Last year was our first Christmas in our tiny house. Since Christmas has always brought an influx of things, we approached the holidays with a lot of intention. Even though I didn’t know how we could possibly get a Christmas tree, decorations and presents into our tiny house without totally tipping the scales, I can report that we had the best celebration ever!
Over the next few weeks I will share some of the ways we simplified our celebration, and created one that is just right for our family. I encourage you to try some or all of them, and let us know how it goes. Please, also share your ideas for a simple holiday in the comment section.
1) Hold a family meeting
Before the season really gets going, hold a family meeting. If you are making drastic changes to your traditional celebration, be sure to share your intentions behind the changes.
For example, last year, my husband, Karl, and I decided to only shop at local stores for Christmas gifts. We also had to reduce the size and number of gifts, so during dinner one night, we explained to Ella (now 9) and Archer (now 7) that gifts would be smaller and fewer, because we need to fit in our house come January. We also pointed out that gifts would be more meaningful because we would either make them, buy them from the folks who made them, or buy them from the people who own shops in our town. We explained that when we buy directly from the people who made the gifts or own the shops, we get the bonus of knowing where our money goes and feel joy in supporting our community members. It helps us to build a stronger community when we support each other directly. We explained that the more people who do that, the better it is for our community and all communities.
By holding this meeting, we set the tone for our holiday season. We re-framed our “smaller” Christmas with adventure and challenge, and the kids completely embraced our plan.
2) Take the buy-local challenge
Buy all gifts at locally-owned stores. This may sound especially difficult, but if you decide to take on this challenge, you will find unique gifts, meet local business folks, and keep the good old dollar circulating within your community. You might be surprised at what is actually available in those local stores. I know I was!