It is the holiday season and in America that means the season of more. More stress, more debt, more guilt, more pressure, more commitments. It is what turns the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” into the most stressful. It has everyone tense and where you would hope for wishes of peace and goodwill, you instead get road rage, races for parking spaces, stolen packages, and arguments about happy holidays vs. Merry Christmas. Frankly as long as the intention is pure I could not care less.
Here is where I confess I love this time of the year. I did not always. I also felt overwhelmed overcommitted and the pressure to buy the perfect holiday. I pushed through and by the time we got through the holidays I felt like I missed everything I enjoyed about them. Minimalism did not ruin the holidays it gave me back the things I actually loved about them. My 4 AM run through the neighborhood under beautiful holiday lights. It makes the everyday exercise somehow magical. The old fashioned Christmas music that I grew up with. I defy to hear Johnny Mathis croon a classic Christmas tune and not feel lifted up. I focus not on what I or my friends and family want but what many need. We stopped doing gifts and only make charitable donations on behalf of other and in the name of loved ones for something they are passionate about. Pay for someone’s coffee or give someone short of cash some money to complete their purchase. Carry some care packages made from the dollar store for homeless people who ask for help when driving. Most of the simple pleasures of the holidays cost little or nothing.
Also when we do spend money it is on experiences. Like supporting a local theatre by seeing their Christmas play. Driving around the area blasting classic Christmas tunes and watching lights costs nothing. Reading a book watching lights twinkle and having a purring cat. The kitchen full of the smell of cookies baking is cheap. Take a walk around the city square decorated or your neighborhood. Say no to spending the day in a mall and instead listen to children signing in the square. Yes we buy less and the day of Christmas other than watching our kitties play with some new toys we don’t have gifts torn open. We have a quiet breakfast and we reflect on how fortunate we are. We take a run in the cool bracing morning air and enjoying our health, family and friends. We take off over a week and we reset by spending time together and thinking about what we want in the coming year. It is a personal holiday permeated with music, lights and cookies. Slow down, say no, so you can reclaim the things you love about the holidays. You are in charge, not Amazon!