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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Less is More Project: Week 47 - Home stretch

Steven Depolo, Flickr

One month until Christmas, and less than six weeks to the New Year. The American Thanksgiving and Black Friday constitute "shopping season kickoff": retailers typically earn a generous portion of their yearly income right before and during the holidays. Meanwhile, simple consumers like you and I dish out an equally generous amount of money from their pockets - or, more precisely, from lending entities (credit card debt, anyone?).

On top of the expenses incurred, many factors contribute to our heightened levels of stress in times when we should either be celebrating, reflecting on the year that's ending, or preparing the one to come.

We are stressed because we want the house to feel, look, smell and sound warm and welcoming for family and friends. But who has time to clean and decorate? 

We are stressed because we want to put special foods and drinks on the table. But what if we don't enjoy cooking and baking? 

We are stressed because we want to find the perfect present for that someone special (or those "someones specials", in many cases). But why are some people so hard to please? (And what about those who "already have everything"?)

We are stressed because we want to look good for the holidays. But shopping for clothes is exhausting, and good hairstylists aren't cheap. 

We are stressed because of all the other season-specific obligations, be they work or family related.

Wasn't this supposed to be the season to be jolly? 

Or was this intended to mean a "jolly ole bag of nerves"? Because if so, we are being remarkable at it.

It doesn't have to be that way. This year, I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to Bethany Rosselit's initiative, the Simplify the Season calendar. Along with other, bigger names such as Adyashanti, Seth Godin, and Tara Brach, I wrote a piece on how to "Simplify the Season". 

To receive the calendar (which will entitle you to all the Simplify the Season articles), you simply have to subscribe via this link, after which you will receive one post per day during the holiday season (beginning this Friday). Bethany has set the price at the pocket change amount of $2. If you were to chose to donate more, the entirety (100%) of the proceeds will be forwarded to an entrepreneur in a third-world country (more details to come on onlinelifecoaching.info). Because 'tis the season for sharing, isn't it?

Bethany Rosselit, onlinelifecoaching.info


I set foot in a shopping mall! Christmas is coming, and the children will receive presents this year as any other year. To simplify the shopping, we asked them to make a list, and to review the first draft to come up with the items they really, really want. 

Then we put said list through the "four gift rule", and decided to get them: 

  1. Something they want (a toy/game of their choice - right now they are obsessed with Lego)
  2. Something they need (new, good quality mitts for the harsh Canadian winter to come, for example)
  3. Something to wear (they grow so fast that it won't be a luxury)
  4. Something to read (easy, since they both put specific books on their lists)

And then some chocolate, because Christmas is not Christmas without chocolate.

Whereas between us adults, instead of gifts we will offer each other some quality time: going out to a restaurant or to see a play, for example (but hush! the details are a secret!)

Your turn to share about your struggles and victories of the week! What did you resist? Did you donate or get rid of anything? Did you face any challenge? Please comment below! And...

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  1. We have downsized Christmas just as we have been downsizing our possessions all year.....the budget was cut in half, the decorating took half an hour, the card list is down to a very small hand full. Even the menu will be downsized.

  2. My family has done Thanksgiving differently over the years depending on who would be there and whose home we would be at. We would make a meal, have a pot-luck with friends, go to a restaurant or even order a full meal and have it at home. Most of them turned out pretty good!

    I hope you had a good one, Julie!!

    1. Good point there: any celebration works if the company is good. :-)