Thanks for your patience with my unplanned vacation and offline time this month. It was great to see family, enjoy my beloved Vancouver and finally, after a day and a half of travel, return home. We’re now over the jet-lag and prepping for a quiet and relaxed holiday season. I’ll have a few posts in the coming weeks about keeping things sane and simple and our very merry minimalist holiday plans.
Please tell me no one camped out over night for Black Friday sales.
Hey, I love a bargain myself but really, are the savings worth a night in the cold, the crush of humanity and the hollow feeling of victory as you lay down your credit card at the till? Shopping shouldn’t be a sport. Or a hobby. Reports of pepper spraying and brawls just reinforced to me that Black Friday isn’t a bargain, it’s a sad commentary on consumerism.
You may have noticed I now have an ad for Holstee on this site. I am dipping my toes in the advertising pool and this is the first company I have come across that is selling, and living, a lot of things I value. Upcycled goods, supporting locally (American in this case) made, giving a percentage of profits to charity (Kiva) and, wow, not only not taking part in Black Friday but shutting their doors. For me, minimalism isn’t about never buying anything, it’s about feeling good about the purchase. Part of the feel good is buying from retailers that are doing good, like Holstee.
I’ll be writing more about holidays, gift giving and how I am managing the rest of the world’s expectations with my own, in the coming weeks. Here are some ideas for getting on track for a simple and joyful holiday season:
Know your limits. Some people can go out every night and still feel refreshed and on track. I’m not one of them. If I’m out of the house more than 2-3 nights of the week I get squirelly and run down. It’s not just about late nights, it’s about quiet time and recharging. While I like socializing and connecting with people I am by nature an introvert (for a real look at what it means to be an introvert or extrovert click here). I recharge with alone time. As a parent, alone time is at a premium. I usually find it in the early morning and after 8pm. Going out late at night and sleeping in a bit takes away any of that time. So sometimes I say no to going out to keep the balance.
No regrets. Spend within your means. Avoid credit as much as possible. I say as much as possible because my mom used credit for a lot of Christmases. I know that for parents struggling to make rent this is a really tough time of year. They want to light up their children’s eyes on Christmas morning. So light them up with one gift, not many. One thing they really want. Fingers crossed it’s not an iPad
No guilt. If you are handed a gift and don’t have one to give back, do not run out to the store for one of those impersonal prepackaged bath and soap sets. Thank the gift giver and be gracious. True gifts are given without expectation of being reciprocated.
More doing, less stuff. The dinner table conversation this time of year can easily turn to countdowns to Christmas and wish lists. Stem the gift frenzy as soon as it starts. Plan some new activities, things you might like to carry forward as traditions. Family ice skating, a trip to the local mountains for fun in the snow or a late night walk through a neighborhood decked out for the holidays. This is also a great time of year to volunteer for a charitable organization. Family conversation should be steered toward doing, not buying. I’m still not sure what we will get Henry for Christmas but I am really excited for the Santa Train this weekend.
Be gracious when receiving. Don’t steal any joy from the person giving you a gift. Be thankful and excited. Even if you know the item is going to donations in January.
Get a daily dose of simplicity. A friend of mine signed up for Marianne Elliott’s (Zen Peacekeeper) 30 day holiday course this year. The course is about finding peace and zen in the holiday madness and the delivery method is one email a day for the 30 days leading up to Christmas. We’re having what most people will consider a quiet holidays season but reading about this course hit close to home. Who hasn’t set themselves up with ridiculously long baking lists and said yes to too many social engagements at this time of year? When you’re pulling sugar cookies out of the oven at 2am on December 23rd, it’s too late. Committing to a daily reminder for simplicity is a brilliant idea.
While this course is now closed you can still get that daily reminder of peace, simplicity and focusing on what really matters. Commit to 10 minutes of daily meditation, yoga or staring out the window with a cup of tea and letting your thoughts go. Find small ways to remind yourself that less is more for the holidays too and that by keeping plans simple and gift giving thoughtful and not obligatory, you can have a restful and joyous holiday season. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed create a mantra for yourself. Simple Christmas. Joyful season. Love not stuff.
How are you keeping the holiday season simple and restful?
PS. Still tweaking it but what do you think of the new look here? I wanted to move to something a bit simpler and easier to read.
Just a quick note for any budding entrepreneurs or authors, the Only 72 sale starts today at noon.
Last year the bargain sale was on minimalist and simplicity books. I bought $1000 worth of e-books for $97. Still very happy with the purchase and all the inspiration and how-to I got from it. Some of those books helped propel me past the I’ve done three trips to donations and now I’m in a funk stage of de-cluttering. I also read Adam Baker’s Unautomate Your Finances (sorry, no longer available) that was part of the package and got even more resolve to get out of debt.
This year’s book and course catalog is from online entrepreneurs and authors. If you’re starting a business, thinking about it or want to get published or self-publish a book there are some great tools here for you. These products and contributors cover an unbelievable variety of online business topics… everything from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN to SEO, Niche selecting, blogging for business and productivity.
The Business “Launcher” Package is $1,033 worth of books for $97 (90% off for the 72 hour sale period).
The Business “Amplifier” Package is $4,344 worth of books and courses (including everything in the “Launcher” package) for $497 (89% off).
Contributors in the sale include:
- Launcher Package: Tyler Tervooren, Nick Reese, Scott Young, Shane Ketterman, Sean Ogle, Chris Garrett, David Risley, Sean Malarkey, Lewis Howes, James Clear, Srini Rao, and Danielle LaPorte.
- Amplifier Package: Chris Guillebeau, Pam Slim, Desiree Adaway, Ashley Ambirge, Johnny B. Truant, Greg Rollett, Laura Roeder, Corbett Barr, Erica Douglass, David Risley, Jonathan Mead, Jen Gresham, and Charlie Gilkey.
Quick reminder: these books are a great deal if you read them. I quickly tore through a handful of the books in last year’s package and got great value from my purchase. Make sure you are going to commit to using and reading the material before you buy. Otherwise it’s like buying books to dust (and I hate that!).
If you’re interested head over to Only72.com for more information. And best of luck with your book and/or business!