Holiday Excess

I’m no scrooge… in fact I love the holidays.  I love spending time with friends, our annual snow day, holiday baking, Christmas movies and staying warm by the fire.  Most of all, I love the excitement and wonder in my children’s eyes.  What I don’t love is all the waste.  Extra packaging, over indulgence and so much stuff!!!  My kids don’t need a lot… and they have WAY too many toys already!  I know some people love the excess of the holidays… and if that works for you, great!.  If, however, you are overwhelmed and looking for a few tips to minimize the overabundance, here are a few simple things I do to avoid all the excess.

1. Packaging

Now I love a beautifully wrapped gift as much as the next person, but it drives me nuts to see all the trash after the holidays (even if it’s separated and recycled).  A few years ago I bought some fabric bags at a craft fair and use those to wrap the big stuff – honestly they would be easy to make…but let’s just say I like supporting small business.  Another thing I love to do is use my children’s art as wrapping paper – this both gets the art out of my house in a meaningful way and reduces waste. We also will wrap in brown paper and let the kids draw on the box- which they love!  Now… I know how much fun it is to tear paper off so I do wrap small gifts and stocking stuffers so they don’t miss out on this (although often I reuse paper from previous large gifts).

2. Gifts

I love my kids beyond measure.  That said… I don’t think their Christmas gifts are representative of how much I love them.  I love them so much that I don’t think they need expensive or excessive gifts to get that point across.. it’s already clear to them.  Presence over presents.  I also prefer to support local and small businesses wherever possible.

3. Food, food and more food (…and then dessert)

Overindulgence is huge over the holidays…it makes me sad to see some people eating and discarding so much while others have so little.  We make a conscious effort not to over indulge.  We still make Christmas cookies – as it’s super fun with kids- but then we share them. We have Christmas dinner – but it’s not extravagant and we invite friends who don’t have family in town. I can’t wait for my kids to be a bit older so we can do more in the community to give back over the holidays.

May your holidays be warm and wonderful! And if you want them to be simpler…don’t be afraid to try something different. Sometimes less is truly more.