4 Easy Ways To Change Your World This Christmas


It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the more, more, more and bigger and better this time of year.

I still struggle with it. I see people in town with huge bags of gifts and I think, am I taking something vital away from my son’s childhood or my family’s happiness? Are we missing out by turning our backs to the commercials and urgent call to buy more?

We’re not missing out. We’re leading a richer life. We have less stuff but more time for the things that really matter to us: health, hobbies and each other.

We’re also slowly changing our little corner of the universe. And that feels really good.

You can do it too.

Four easy ways to change your world this Christmas.

Volunteer/Donate: it doesn’t have to be a big cheque or weeks at a soup kitchen. Give what you can where you can. Think different. Instead of sending holiday cards, Jo donates to a cause. See this list from Vicki for different ways to give (if you’re reading this site you’re probably already donating goods to a local charity – well done!).

Buy Local. If you can’t find, or don’t need, something locally made, support a local retailer. Independently owned shops need your business to survive. I know, I know, you can find it cheaper on Amazon. I’m not saying buy everything local this year but aim for 10% of your holiday gifts from a local independent retailer. Enjoy shopping in person in your community and watch your dollars stay where you live. Also, think climate change while you shop.

Give less stuff. Giving more is actually seen as giving less according to this study cited in a Globe and Mail article. While that should be reason enough to curb the overspend this year I will give you one more: the environment. It’s overwhelming to think of the carbon footprint of all that we purchase: out of season produce, electronics manufactured overseas, anything that wasn’t grown and produced locally. Let go of the guilt and simply buy less. One great much wanted gift rather than a sackful of junky filler gifts from the dollar store.

Smile. An easy way to spread abundance and joy this holiday season: smile. Smile on the street, smile at your children, smile at your spouse. It is contagious. It feels good. It’s good for your health. A smile is the easiest way to go viral.

My last tip: put up some mistletoe. I found fresh mistletoe the other day and couldn’t resist. Christmas 2011 will now be known as the kissing Christmas in our family.

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  • It is hard to buy less when we are bombarded with the opposite message. It is a struggle to resist, but I am doing much better this year!

    And regarding Amazon, they provide a very useful service. I have purchased many items from small businesses who sell their goods through Amazon. Some of my hometown small businesses utilize Amazon and other online retailing venues to grow their business, and I think that is terrific.

    I understand what you are saying about buying local, though. Our only bra shop (the only place in town that could properly measure and fit you) is closing its doors. I often wonder how many women buy their bras as Victoria’s Secret in the wrong size because they have never had a proper fitting.

    • I know what you mean about bra shops. When I was growing up, my mother owned one of those shops. After she showed me how a bra should fit, I instantly started noticing how many women’s bras were quite improperly fit (you could see how they bulged through their shirts).

      I would also like to believe that many local shops practice what my mother did. To keep her customers happy, if she didn’t have something a customer wanted, she would call another local shop to see if the other shop had it and would send the other customer over. This way she kept her customers happy while promoting many local businesses in the area. Her customers were loyal to her because they knew she cared about them. A win-win-win for everyone!

    • To clarify: I just meant the bigger stores on Amazon. It’s true, I’ve found local (UK) suppliers for some of our no-dairy/no-grains baking through Amazon. Small shops can get some great exposure through the Amazon marketplace.
      Bra shops: best bras I have ever owned were purchased and fitted at a small local bra shop. So right, you really do need someone to fit you. Of course, I haven’t bought new bras since I finished up with nursing. I cheaped out and am wearing some ill-fitting hand-me-downs from my sister. Need to add that to my buy list for next year.

      • Rachel: Do put that on your “to buy” list! Such a good investment. You feel better and look better in a well-fitted bra.

        Paige: Now the closest bra shop is over 200 miles away from me. Sigh.

        And, Rachel, I figured you were aware of Amazon’s connection with smaller retailers , but I know people who blast Amazon because they equate it to an online Wal-Mart and I don’t think that is a fair comparison. That is why I felt the need to comment on it.

        For me, I often use Amazon to shop as opposed to going to a Wal-Mart or Target. But then I am also able to find items that I can’t get locally, which is nice, too.

        The community in which I live has a pretty vibrant small business market and I very much appreciate the goods and services offered by these stores.

        Thanks for your thoughtful posts on Christmas! I enjoy reading them.

  • Oooo good idea about the mistletoe! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it fresh for sale, but will look when I’m out tomorrow…. us new parents could use a little extra kissing… who couldn’t though?

  • Just received the calendar Second-Born made at school for me. It has a picture of his beautiful face smiling. Underneath it says “The world is like a mirror, If you face it smiling, it smiles right back’. Such a perfect Christmas gift – nothing could top that!

  • On a separate comment Christmas is a toughie because there are others to consider. I like to think we manage the balance and at the same time stay true to our principles. There is some buying going on, but it doesn’t turn me into stressed-out-mommy (nor does it break the bank)… A little thought goes a long way when giving gifts…
    Thanks for the shout-out Rachel, and watch out for the postie xx keep in mind the word ‘rustic’ :-) (polite term for amateur in my case)

  • Up late baking cookies to give to all our neighbours and teachers for the holidays. I LOVE baking and its a small token of appreciation for those so important in out lives. Plus it helps when I am about to ask them to collect our mail while we are away!!

    Great article, great timing and all the best for the holiday season!

    As well – loved the bra talk, crazy the conversations that get started here…

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