This post is part of our monthly Spunky Simplicity “Less Is More” Movement series.

We ultimately want to fill the holidays with more joy, relaxation and time with family and friends.  Instead, we have a tendency to fill the holidays with more commitments and more stress all the while draining our bank accounts and adding to landfills.   

I’m certainly guilty of spending half of a day making and packaging cutesy Pinterest holiday treats (which will soon be forgotten by their recipients) for every last neighbor and co-worker, rather than spending that time fulfilling a holiday tradition with my children (an action, which will unfortunately, not be forgotten anytime soon by their precious minds). 

How do we shift our actions to align with what we want and what brings us true happmore joyiness? 

  • Wrap yourself up in only the important things.  Decide as a family what activities/traditions are non-negotiable.  Before taking on anything extra, ask yourself, “Am I doing this for myself, a family member or friend?  Would I do this if I couldn’t brag on Facebook or Instagram that I did it?  Am I doing this for pleasure or because I feel like I ‘should’ do it?” 
  • Put on blinders to advertisements.  First cancel, then recycle all catalogs.  Unsubscribe from and delete emails from retailers.  Consolidate your shopping trips and eliminate them, when possible, to free up time and to avoid the impulse buys. 
  • Go green.  Choose live decorations, garland and pine cones.  The scent brings joy and there is nothing to store away at the end of the season.   

The Center for a New American Dream reports that more than three-quarters of Americans want the holidays to be less materialistic.  Yet people are still just gifting stuff for the sake of gifting, with utter disregard for the consequences to the recipient and the environment.  An online survey conducted for eBay in Nov. 2008 found that of U.S. adults who receive gifts during the holidays, 83 percent receive unwanted items.  It seems we love to give more than we love to get.   

How do we remedy the issue of “stuff” while satisfying our desire to “give”? 

  • Give experiences, not stuff.  Click here for a list of suggestions on non-physical gift ideas for everyone in your life, including your children. 
  • When a physical gift seems like a must, go green.  See our favorite eco-friendly holiday gifts here
  • Re-gift.  If you have acquired a gift that you feel bad getting rid of, sell it and donate part or all of the proceeds to a charity in honor of the person who gifted it to you.  See our list of charity suggestions here

We’ve all experienced the overwhelm of too much stuff.  Our garages and toy rooms are bulging at the seams and quite frankly, so are our nerves and patience.  Review these tips for managing your garage and your toy room so you can spend more time living rather than being a manager of things. 

In closing, remember one thing this holiday season…less can, in fact, be more. 


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