Posts

The Best Holiday Gift List I've Seen This Year

Image
It's a common feature in magazines and on websites:  The Holiday Gift List.  Usually filled with over-priced items that no one really needs, I've always found these suggestions pretty useless.  It's just another form of advertising, as far as I'm concerned.  And who wants to add to the total of unwanted gifts received every holiday season? But recently I came across the best recommendations for the holiday, and I want to share them with you.  They come from the World Vision gift catalog.  World Vision is a global Christian humanitarian organization that has been partnering with children, families, and communities ( of any faith or none ) for over 70 years.  Their programs include health, education, hunger and water issues, disaster relief, child protection, gender equality, and more. Each of these gifts equips children and families to change their own lives for a better future.  They're useful, provide decent jobs, and do more than enrich a retailer's bottom li

This Holiday, Make a Yes List That Supports What You Value Most

Image
Have you ever worked so hard to generate holiday magic that you made it impossible to feel any magic?  When we say yes to everything, we court exhaustion and overwhelm.  We turn the season into a grueling marathon, which defeats every reason we gave ourselves for doing so much. We should probably say no to plenty of things during the holidays, just to save our sanity.  But then how do we make them special?  Just saying no seems so dull. Related article:  This Holiday, Just Say No Saying yes with thoughtfulness and intention is a positive way to approach any task or project because it sets your priorities and helps you manage your expectations.  Too many expectations and you feel stress and failure if you aren't able to achieve them, and too few (or zero) expectations and you feel unmotivated and run the risk of missing out on positive experiences. So consider these possibilities for saying yes this holiday season, and craft a Christmas that is less harried and more happy. 6 items

How to Declutter Christmas Decorations

Image
It's time to get out all your boxes of ornaments and the artificial tree (or trees) you store every year.  Do you set aside an entire day, or even more, to get all your decorations up?  Are you risking your neck to hang Christmas lights?  If you've been accumulating holiday décor for years (or decades), you probably have almost enough stuff to set up shop. Now maybe decorating for the holidays is one of your favorite events of the season.  Maybe you gather family or friends, put out some snacks, play suitable music, and have a ball filling every nook and cranny with mementos of the season.  If it's a tradition you crave each year, and it brings you and your companions great joy, go for it!  Minimalism, after all, is about intentionally making space and time for what is most important to you. Related article:  Minimalism Makes Room for Joy But maybe it's become more of a chore than a joy, or maybe you're just tired of storing a dozen boxes of décor.  Maybe you want

What Is Gratitude and Why Does It Matter?

Image
We all know we're supposed to be in a thankful mood at this time of year.  And of course we know – in an academic sort of way – that we have plenty to be thankful for.  But as we look around the world, at our own cities and neighborhoods, or maybe even into our own homes and relationships, we see things that don't make us happy. The world is far from perfect.  Many horrible things are undeniably real.  It would be easy to just give up in despair, and believe me, I'm sometimes tempted. But darkness is not all that exists.  Our world also contains so much beauty, and human beings can be brilliant and kind. The feeling of gratitude doesn't require blindness to reality, but it is a choice . Sometimes gratitude is easy. Did you know Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti was a survivor of tetanus? Just after WWII, as a boy of 12, Pavarotti was hospitalized with the disease.  He was in a coma for two weeks and given last rites twice. This is what it's like to nearly die and then

Waste Less and Give More With These 5 Effective Ideas

Image
Maybe you're broke.  Maybe you're appalled at the environmental costs.  Or maybe you're tired of compulsory consumerism. I get it.  I've been to those extended-family Christmases where there's a ten-minute turmoil of present opening, a tornado of ribbons and wrapping paper, and piles of presents that are destined to be tossed, returned the next day, or stuffed into the back of a closet. The average monthly car payment in the U.S. is $568.  Which is ridiculous.  Yet most people are spending far more than that for Christmas gifts. Average household spending on Christmas gifts in the U.S. is $886 .  Women do most of the shopping, and spend an average of 20 hours searching for gifts. Additionally, 41% of U.S. adults say they're willing to go into debt for Christmas gifts.  Is it worth it? Let's look at the waste. Americans spend $15.2 billion on unwanted gifts , and about 61% of people surveyed expect to get at least one gift they don't like. 1 billion Chri