Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday, Bah! Or, Bringing Sharing, Laughter, Creativity & Personal Renewal back to your holiday season

Handprint Wreaths Photo: Birmingham Public Library on Flickr

While this may be odd coming from a shop owner, I fully support National Buy Nothing Day. More importantly though, I am excited about the “Simplify the Holidays” Guide put out by the Center for a New American Dream.

Here is how their guide begins:
If you were asked to describe the ideal holiday season, chances are you would include the company of loved ones, good food, fun and relaxation, and maybe an inch or two of snow. It seems so simple, but for many of us, this could not be farther from reality. Too often, the holidays seem to exhaust rather than uplift us. Do you sometimes feel trapped by the shopping, spending, and frenzied preparations? Do you want your holidays wrapped more in meaning and less in stuff? If so, you’re not alone.

According to a recent national survey, more than 3 in 4 Americans wish that holidays were less materialistic. Nearly 9 in 10 believe that holidays should be more about family and caring for others, not giving and receiving gifts. And in today’s economy, many Americans are feeling the need to cut back. Consumers spent less during the 2008 holiday season than in prior years. A national survey revealed that the majority of Americans are planning to spend even less in 2009.
This year, you don’t have to rack up credit card debt or get swept up in the season’s commercialism. Instead, consider creating holidays that instill more meaning into the season and encourage more sharing, laughter, creativity, and personal renewal.

Let me just repeat those last few words: sharing, laughter, creativity, and personal renewal. How much more would we ALL enjoy our holiday season if we could concentrate on those?

Driftwood Wreath Photo: ~Mary on Flickr

Things covered in the 30-page guide are:
  1. Are You Dreaming of the Perfect Holiday?
  2. Retail Extravaganza
  3. Getting Started
  4. Time and Stress
  5. Gifts and Spending
  6. Budgeting
  7. Waste
  8. Talk to Your Family
  9. Simple Gift Ideas
  10. Homemade Gifts
  11. Gifts of Time
  12. Gifts of Experience
  13. Gifts to Charity
  14. What is an Alternative Gift Fair?
  15. Gifts for Children
  16. Gifts for Grandparents
  17. Low-Waste Wrapping
  18. Decorating Materials
  19. Change Gift-Giving Traditions
  20. Connect With Your Children
  21. Remember Your Elders
  22. Simpler Entertaining
  23. Holiday Advice from Fellow New Dreamers

Click here to go to the page to download the pdf. You do have to sign up (sorry!) but you can always unsubscribe, and the guide is totally worth it.

Yarn Wreath Photo: Christine Domaniac on Flickr

So tomorrow, so-called “Black Friday,” just relax. You do not have to (literally) buy in to the craziness. You can have one of the best holidays EVER and do it consciously, inexpensively, and with joy in your heart.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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