Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Oh My, the Holidays

Trying to live slower and simpler is going to be a challenge around the holidays!  Life is so busy and complex anyway, and then to add all that the holidays entail...

So I'm starting the conversations now with my family about expectations and spending.  Perhaps we can all agree to get back to homemade gifts, whether sewing a pillow or a gift certificate for a service, a homemade meal or special dessert?  We already gift the grandchildren with "adventures" (a special day out with the grandparents) instead of "things".  We all don't need the stuff, let alone the expense.

And, of course, I found a blog that talks about just this.  (Odd, I know, that I'm not the only one thinking this way???)

Fight Holiday Spending with a Simplicity Challenge

It’s not even Halloween, so you might be wondering why I am writing about holiday spending. I’m writing about it because it’s time, and because I want to get to you before they do. You know who I’m talking about. I’m sure there are Christmas commercials and decked out showrooms appearing already, so I hope I’m not too late.

This is an opportunity to start focusing on what truly matters to you during the holiday season before festive advertisements, black friday teasing, and all things tinsel and tantalizing invade your brain. The companies that create those glittery ads and attractions know that if they can distract you for just a moment, they have an opportunity to remind you what the holidays are all about, for them.

Holiday spending and accumulation isn’t just about gifts either. You will be tempted with holiday focused food, decor, entertainment, charity, sales and other things designed to make you feel like you aren’t good enough unless you fully participate in the spending mayhem. Spending on any of those things isn’t bad or wrong and in some cases, it’s wonderful, but it is so important to be aware of why you spend what you spend AND to decide in advance how much you want to spend or can really afford to spend.

Before you make the decision of what to spend, know that …

§ Nothing you buy will make you a better person.

§ Nothing you give will make someone love you more.

§ Spending won’t make you happier.

With all of that said, this is an especially challenging time not to spend. It’s time to be vigilant about what matters most to you during the holidays.

Fight Holiday Spending with a Simplicity Challenge

Stay focused on simplifying your life even through the holiday season. You will be pleasantly surprised in how that allows you to fully engage in the spirit of the season. You might struggle with your decision to stay home the day after Thanksgiving instead of shopping, or feel guilty because you didn’t overspend on people you love, but once that initial feeling passes, you’ll discover what you love most about the holidays and every day.

Compare that with how you feel after going into debt to do Christmas or the exhausted feeling of battling the malls and superstores from years past and you’ll quickly find that simplicity is not a sacrifice but a blessing.

To help you further simplify, choose a simplicity challenge now instead of waiting for the new year or a better time.

§ The Minimalist Game. Find a friend or family member. Someone who’s willing to get rid of some of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day of the month. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go! Read more about this awesome challenge from my friends Joshua and Ryan.

§ 100 Thing Challenge. Live with 100 personal items for a set period of time. Read about challenge creator Dave Bruno‘s personal challenge in  The 100 Thing Challenge and then create your own.

§ The Reverse 100 Thing Challenge. The point of the 100 Thing Challenge is to live with 100 things. The Reverse 100 Challenge invites you to dump 100 things before the end of the year. If you’ve always thought that the 100 Thing Challenge is extreme, and that it would be impossible to only live with 100 things, then giving away only 100 things should be a breeze.

§ Project 333.  Reducing what was in my closet motived me to reduce all of the other stuff in my life. This minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 month will keep you away from the sales all season long.

§ No virtual shopping. You don’t even have to get dressed to go into debt spending for the holidays. Just turn on your computer, select a deal in email or surf your way to spending on anything for anyone. If shopping online is a bad habit for you, stop it. Boycott one click shopping for the rest of the year. You’ll shop less when you have to physically hand over your cash, wrap your own gifts, and stand in line at the post office.

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