Too Late to Simplify Christmas?

Christmas need not be about consumerism.  Simple gestures and homemade gifts are not only touching, but sustainable.  This year, simplify things; it'll be easier on your pocketbook and on the planet.

Ways we’re keeping this Christmas simple:

Reusing decorations

We’ve always reused our decorations from year to year, and we’ve rescued so many of them from disposal and bought some in thrift shops before they were fashionable (hence, when they were cheap). They remind me of Christmases past, from comforting times at my Grandma’s house. I love them and would never consider replacing them with something new, partly because they are made so much better, and partly because it is beloved tradition.

Fewer gifts, more meaning

We started a tradition of taking my mom, stepfather Arnie and nephew Jacob to a show for our gift to them, and then gathering back at our house for dessert. This year we’re going to an exhibit of stunning photos from the Columbia River Gorge before much of it was submerged to create Bonneville Dam. Arnie remembers fishing up there, and we all have deep love for this wonder of nature. Arnie has recently finished cancer treatment and is still not eating solid food, so instead of pie we’ll have meltable, easy-to-swallow ice cream!

Homemade gifts

For family friends we’re making yummy peppermint bark and homemade peppermint scented play dough, and spreading wacky, fake French musical joy with copies of the freely downloaded Danse Combeaux Christmas Album, all packed in reused Trader Joe’s coffee cans covered in red and white felt.

We saw an local amateur version of the Nutcracker, will walk down the festively lit Peacock Lane with our wonderful neighbor friends, and my daughter, Georgia, saw Santa at a local office party. (She told him she wanted a dollhouse. I nearly plotzed — have you seen what dollhouses cost?? — until I found out my mom is refurbishing her childhood dollhouse for her granddaughter. Way to repurpose, Mom!) Georgia found some great local art that she wanted to gift, and we donated a sack full of brand new toys to our credit union’s giving tree. Things feel good this year, even if we are spoiling G a little, and I feel like we’ll get closer to the meaningful holiday I’m looking for, and I feel pretty good about treading a little lighter on the planet.

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