It’s officially the holiday season, friends! Do you know how I know? Well, before Halloween even arrived, signs of Christmas started popping up in the stores. It’s maddening. There should be a law that prevents Christmas marketing before Thanksgiving. Poor Thanksgiving is sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas, and it doesn’t even merit its own line of candy!
Holidays: people either love ‘em or hate ‘em. What camp are you in? I love the holiday season, but possibly I love it for different reasons than others do. Autumn thrills me when the sky becomes a sharper blue and the trees put on their show. I enjoy the approaching end of another year, and the cooler weather spurs me to finish projects so I can hunker down with a good book under a blanket.
Thanksgiving for the win
As for holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. I could totally live without Halloween. The best thing that happened to us in recent years was my daughter offering to skip the costume and trick-or-treating if I pinky-swore I would create an Easter egg hunt in the spring. I took that deal faster than you can say Boo!
The holiday season is so much more than sweet treats and consumerism, but sometimes I think we forget about that. The “reason for the season,” as they say, gets lost in the shuffle for many. (And let’s not forget that the reason for the season varies, depending on the person.)
Even Thanksgiving, my favorite, has gotten discombobulated. Thanksgiving Day is not about the biggest turkey, it’s not about setting the loveliest table with elaborate décor, it’s not about football, and hell, it really shouldn’t even be about pilgrims; it’s about giving thanks for the blessings we have in our lives. It’s a day that is all about gratitude, and I think that is marvelous. We all, no matter how hard things seem at the moment, have reasons to be grateful.
Boo for Black Friday
Horrifyingly, the turkey is barely cooled on the table before the consumer frenzy begins. Whoever invented Black Friday should be taken out back, tarred, and feathered. It’s gotten so competitive that Black Friday shopping deals don’t even wait for Friday any longer. No, they’ve encroached on my beloved Thanksgiving. On the bright side, you can now walk off that extra slice of pumpkin pie while you race around the big box stores looking for deals.
Listen, I like deals as much as the next person. My complaint is the encroachment on the holidays – turning every holiday into a shopping opportunity. I recognize that I am swimming upstream on this issue. The probability of a significant shift of sentiment away from consumerism is, sadly, zilch.
The holiday season can also be stressful
In addition to the pressure to spend, spend, spend, the holidays also frequently bring social and family pressures: pressure to give gifts to everyone under the sun, pressure to follow family traditions, and pressure to have a picture-perfect holiday, to name a few.
Part of my embracing simple living stemmed from the fact that I was tired of the consumer treadmill. I grew to hate the over-the-top advertising efforts at the holidays. Mostly, I think I just didn’t like feeling bullied to buy things. I longed for the simpler traditions: hot cocoa, snuggling under a blanket to read, baking cookies, and having a lovely, but simple, meal together with family and friends.
Stress comes not only from trying to meet other people’s expectations, it also comes from the sheer exhaustion the holiday season can bring. Extra social obligations and time spent shopping, wrapping, and decorating add to our already overflowing lives.
The cure for holiday blues!
Years ago, as part of my journey toward a simpler life, I decided to take control of the holiday season and rein in the crazy. Our holiday activities were slimming down nicely before we had our daughter, Rowan. Then, of course, it was like a consumerism bomb went off in our heads and in our home. I succumbed to it for a few years, but I soon started to feel the emptiness that rampant consumerism brings. I also longed for the simple pleasures of the holiday season, which were getting squeezed out by running around with extra errands and social events.
In short, I simplified our holidays. And while it is still a work in progress in our house, I’ve never looked back. If you are a parent, you know it is our job to set the tone for everything in life for our kids. They will follow our lead on all things (well, at least until they are teenagers, I suppose). If we want to focus on what truly matters at the holidays, and throughout the year, we need to have honest conversations and set an example.
How about you?
Do you also long for simpler holidays? Do you want help with this? If so, I have good news! I took my passion for simplifying the holidays and turned it into two tools that might help you. First, I have a free Simplify Your Holidays Checklist, so you can get a sense of where you might need to work on your holiday planning and start a conversation with your loved ones.
If you like the checklist or want to dive right into my process for simplifying your holidays, you can join the DIY project I created. This is the first time I have offered this project, so it is at a lower, introductory price of $39. The project is divided into five modules, and it will take you on a journey of reflection, planning, and action. It will include a temporary, exclusive Facebook group so we can all share ideas and support each other through the holiday season.
So, if you would like to take control of your holidays once and for all, visit Simplify Your Holidays for more information about this DIY project. Think of it this way: this is your opportunity to give yourself the gift of a simple, sane holiday season. What could be better than that?
What have YOU done to simplify your holidays? Or do you actually love the hustle-bustle of the season? Share below!
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