04 December 2012

Simple Christmas: Should You Fuel the Money-Making Machine?

December brought Christmas time to Norway. Red and green, sparkling lights, smiling faces, shopping... Far from simple, if you ask me.
Christmas market in Norway
The Christmas market opened on December 1st.
This morning Radio BBC Scotland, which my husband loves to listen to, posed the question if online shopping will kill conventional trade, especially in the holiday season. The British were quoted to spend around £10,000 (around $16,000) a second online all in the name of Christmas, starting yesterday, or Mega Monday.
Buy handmade this Christmas

People were conversing about our "duty" to support "high street" and to enjoy all the holiday ephemera combined with the appropriate audio background in the name of the "Christmas spirit".

Did I tell you that a great percentage of Brits have still not repaid their credits from last Christmas?


Can't we just have a cozy, quiet family Christmas? Non-commercial? And in accordance with our current circumstances? All these wants disguised as needs by the big business, that we're force-fed only to fuel their money-making machines... we can live without that and enjoy way fuller lives. 
Snow fallen on an apple still on the branch, Norway

Once you get brave enough to evaluate your priorities and differentiate between what is important and what is not in your life, everything will get clear.

You don't need THINGS to be happy. Same goes for your loved ones. Or your friends. Happiness, if nestled in a subject is not in your possession.

Think hard enough.

Find out what makes the people around you happy.

Do it for them.

They will love you in return.

And you will be happy.

That is the Christmas spirit. Simple and clear. Make someone happy.
Norwegian house

You don't need to do what everyone does to do the right thing. Because there is not just one right thing. Be flexible, adjust to the rhythm of YOUR heart.

Let this Christmas be the first step on a road you have been afraid to take. Because if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.
  • Make it a simple Christmas. 
  •  Avoid big shopping areas. Support local artists and crafters. 
  • Hand-make simple gifts that are filled with your presence. They will be dearly appreciated by grown-ups and will guide children.
  • Help someone in need and don't expect anything in return.
  • Remember that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, it is a quiet, self-reflecting period of the year when people spend time with their families.

EDIT: Here are some amazing ideas the Kanelstrand readers shared in the comments that I am sure you will be inspired by!

  • Don't spend beyond your means. (Riorita) 
  • Make or buy handmade. (Paige)
  • Bake your gifts! (Anne Lawson)
  • Make mindful choices because most Christmas gifts end up in a landfill. (Annightflyer)
  • Ignore Black Friday. It's OK to wait. (Kim)
  • Stay out of the malls. (Melissa)
  • Buy on Etsy. (Melissa)
  • Teach your children about the season of Advent, a time of preparation and waiting. Hold off on Chrismtas decorations, songs, movies until much later in December. The children need to know that it is NOT YET Christmas... it is Advent. (Melissa)
  • Give the gift of travel. (Artisanallunwound)
  • Support local artists. (Lisa H.)
  • Give the gift of experience, f.ex. daddy & daughter sewing class. Since it is typically moms who spend creative time with their children, it's an unusual, but surprisingly fun way for dads to enjoy creative time, too. (Lisa H.)
  • Focus on shared time and shared experiences instead of stuff, f.ex. see a ballet performance with a friend. (La Alicia)
  • Use your own produce for gifting. We have a LOT of lemon trees on the property...WAY to many lemons for even a large family to consume...so I am making lemon baskets for my friends. I got the baskets from the thrift store... I have shredded paper grocery bags for the base. In the basket I am giving homemade lemon curd, my favorite lemon recipes, and of course beautiful fresh organic lemons. I have also composed on a list for each person entitled "The gifts you are to me" which I have put on a small handmade wooden scroll. (Being Julia)
  • Scour the thrift stores for good books in good condition. The compile a personalized stack of 3 or 4 books per person (books I know from past experience that person would like) tied with a ribbon and a handmade book mark. This is always a hit as they are surprised and pleased that I would notice through conversation the books they would enjoy. (Being Julia)
You guys are amazing, thank you for sharing a bit of your simple but mindful holiday gift ideas with us!

Now, let me know, how are you going to simplify your Christmas cleberation this year?