Tips to Simplify Your Holidays for a More Memorable, Meaningful Season

by Marsha Rakestraw

It’s the holiday season.

Which of these better describes your state of mind:

Joyous, meaningful, balanced?

Or, exhausted, stressed, conflicted?

The winter holidays have gained a reputation for reaching the epitome of the “overs”: overspending, overbooking, overstressing, overconsuming.

And more people are expressing a desire to simplify their holidays and bring more balance, joy, ethics, and meaning to their festivities.

If you want to slow down and simplify, start by considering what you want out of the holidays.

What’s most important to you?

What do you want to be the focus of your time and attention?

What are you already doing that brings you joy and fulfillment?

How do your current choices reflect your ethical values and what would you like to do differently?

Discuss your needs with your family and friends and together create the kind of holiday that is memorable, meaningful, and merry for everyone.

Take time to examine each aspect of your holiday traditions and to-dos. Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Will this bring joy and meaning to my life?
  • What’s the impact of this choice on myself? Other people? Animals? The earth?
  • Does this choice reflect my deepest values to do the most good and least harm for other beings and the earth?
  • What true need or authentic want does this activity/product fulfill, and is there a way to do it that does more good and less harm?
  • How can my family and I meet this need/want (and others’ needs/wants) in a creative, compassionate, ethical way?

There are numerous resources available to help you transition to a simpler season that better reflects your deepest values of pursuing joy and of making choices that do the most good and least harm for all.

For example:

  • Tips for Happier, More Humane Gift Giving
    This year when thinking about giving gifts to loved ones, consider these healthier, happier, more humane tips.
  • Humane Holidays (Pinterest)
    Find our curated resources and tips for holidays that are greener and more humane, just, and joyful.
  • 5 Questions to Simplify Your Life During the Holidays
    Leo Babauta of Zen Habits offers five simple but meaningful questions to help us create the kinds of holidays we want.
  • Simplify the Holidays
    Our friends at New Dream have a variety of useful resources for simplifying the holidays, including a “catalog” of great ideas more “more fun less stuff” gifts; an online holiday calendar with tips and resources; and simplifying the holidays tips and resources.

Be sure to forward this to at least ONE person who would benefit from this resource.

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