1. Set limits. Be it monetary, culinary or time management, before the season gets into full swing decide how much you’re willing to put up with (and how much is really worth it!)
2. Stop. Take some time for yourself and just be without worrying about the societal pressures of the season.
3. Mute the TV. How many times can you hear “Every kiss begins with Kay” before losing your mind? (for me it was 2.) Why not just remove torturous jingles from the equation?
4. Reconnect with the joy of handmade. It really is the thought that counts in this season but buying something just to cross a name off your list usually ends up with the giver overspending and the givee politely pretending they really don’t hate it. With a little bit of time and research everyone can find a creative gift project. (Start with the list on p. 76 of The Simplicity Connection!)
5. Be practical (with gift giving). A book of stamps or a gift certificate to the vet may not be the sexiest gifts, but you know they’re more likely to be used (and appreciated) in the long run and not end up in the junk drawer with the 1990s Furby, the pogs and the Tamagotchi pets.
6. Order online. If you still want to give capitalism a boost, reconsider the trip to the mall and let your fingers do the walking and ordering. Why truck it to a store, just so you can truck it home? If you can, choose ground shipping instead of air shipping: it’s 6 times more fuel-efficient.
7. Cut calories. How many years in a row is your New Year’s resolution going to be “lose the 15 pounds I put on over the holidays?” This year, before the trays of food go out on the table, consider donating part of your meal to someone who needs the calories more than you do.
8. Try the $100 holiday. Consider putting a cap on the amount everyone spends. (That’s not $100 a piece, that’s $100 total!) Read Bill McKibben’s Hundred Dollar Holiday for tips and inspiration on how to make it happen.
9. Cut the waste. A quarter of American trash is generated between Thanksgiving and New Years’ Day. Why not use reusable gift boxes, bags and wrapping instead of 1-time use paper that heads straight to the landfill :30 after unwrapping?
10. Rent a living tree. Why not try the ultimate in tree-recycling by not even cutting it down in the first place.