Applied Simplification 101

Apparently, I’m not the only one.

Faemom has asked me what this process might involve. While I am far from the expert on simplifying things (I like my things nice and complex, mostly), some of my ideas are below. I’d love to hear from others on this. If you are simplifying, what are you doing? Let’s hear some good ones.

Not buying a live tree. Besides being a fire hazard, who needs to spend the $80 on something that’s going to die a horrible death in your living room, and then in your back yard? Add to this live wreaths and candle holders made from “holiday greens” and you save quite a bit of time (no watering) and money (have you seen the greens on L.L.Bean??).

Not sending Christmas cards. At least not actual paper ones. I use an online service to send virtual cards. You can even upload the requisite family-in-flannel holiday pic.

Downsizing gift-giving. I love giving presents. But seriously, do you think your postal worker wants another fruitcake?? Rather than buy a bunch of prewrapped spa kits or gift cards (which may or may not work), make something. My mom has a great date ball recipe, handed down from my grandmother. My sister makes all sorts of culinary delights, and my Dad gave people rolls of cookie dough in pretty cellophane one year. Infinitely more memorable than a Starbucks card.

Making an appearance. We have five parties already on the calendar. This year, we’re going to one. Yes, I know, I sound like one of the Kranks, but it’s really not necessary to go to every one you’re invited to. Weigh your reasons for feeling like you have to go, and if you decide not to attend, send a small hostess gift to wish them well. I like a small floral arrangement or a bottle of wine.

Take advantage of the freebies. This weekend, there’s a holiday parade in my town. SO much fun for the kids, and not a penny spent. A good friend takes her little girl to see a Santa at a community center- totally free. Get a gift thats re-giftable? DO IT. Just remember where it came from- and make sure and shoot the gifter a thankyou email. Have cards left over from last year? A pair of scissors and some card stock and you have new cards (if you must go with the real kind!).

I think it’s perfectly possible to be generous without breaking the bank…it just takes some creativity and thoughtfulness. This is a hard time to stop and breathe, and think a little about what you’re doing, but…it’s worth it.

I’d love to hear some other ideas. Let me know how (and if) you’re simplifying.

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3 Responses to Applied Simplification 101

  1. Emily says:

    We give to charity instead of gifts for the grown-ups.

  2. faemom says:

    Great ideas!
    When you said look at the trees from L.L. Bean . . . I thought, do I really want to? All that cash. I grew up with a fake tree because my brother’s allergies, and I just made the investment on a nice one last year.

    Emily has a great idea too!

    I started making the mix jars (you know the ones with all the dry ingredients to make cookies or something) for all the couples we know. Last year I added a cinnomon/applesauce ornamtent to that.

  3. antropologa says:

    Our real tree was only 20 bucks.

    For adults we just do stockings and you only get assigned a couple of stockings and there’s a gift price limit. And I’m making a lot of things this year. And giving food. Everybody needs food and it’s not something you have to keep around and pack, etc.

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