10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations

10 puntas (10 Tips in Spanish) | Christmas | Easter


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10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations

Holidays & Rites of Passage (like Weddings, Birthdays, Graduations)

1. Plan ahead. Instead of going on auto-pilot, hold a family meeting to decide what the group really wants to do and who's going to do what. Observe appropriate preparatory periods before Christmas and Easter, possibly with a study/action/prayer guide or calendar.

2. Focus on relationships with family, friends and other people, and with God, rather that on "stuff." Spend your time, energy and money nurturing people, not things.

3. For symbols of holidays, look to faith, not to commerce. Do Santa and bunnies tell the story you want to tell? Let's tell the real stories of our faith and values.

4. Avoid debt and gluttony. Refuse to be pressured by advertising to over spend or over eat. Build community with a meal of mostly locally produced food - planned, prepared and cleaned up by the whole family.

5. Avoid stress. Give to yourself. Don't assume that things have to be the same way they've always been. Make changes slowly but persistently. Don't try to change everything and everybody all at once. The resistance may make you feel defeated and lonely.

6. If you need to give gifts, give appropriate ones. Get to know the recipient. Give what they want to receive, not what you want to buy. Give children one thing they really want, rather than many gifts. Set a price ceiling. Put gifts out shortly before opening them. Take turns opening them, not all at once, so that each gift can be admired and each giver thanked.

7. Give alternative gifts. Give at least 25% of what you spend to the needy... individuals or groups locally, nationally or internationally. Instead of conspicuous consumption, show conspicuous sharing.

8. Give of yourself, not just "stuff" - a coupon book for future services (such as baby-sitting or an "enchanted evening") or something baked, sewn, handmade, composed, etc. Consider more time for volunteering rather than entertainment. If you need to give cards, make your own.

9. If you need to buy gifts and clothing, buy those from developing countries at alternative gift markets, not from commercial importers, so that the artisans receive a fair price for their work. Avoid mass produced knickknacks, novelties and toys. Fancy, expensive clothes are signs of status, not respect for God. In church they show an inappropriate blend of culture and faith. Decline to compliment people for their finery. Avoid a "ritual display of plenty."

10. Choose simplicity of decoration over extravagance. Avoid plastic and imported flowers and trimming, fancy papers and bows, and consumables (such as balloons and foam plates).

For more help visit SimpleLivingWorks.org

©Creative Commons (originally 1999 Alternatives for Simple Living) Used by permission.
Also available at SimpleLivingWorks.org >> Archives: Treasury of Celebrations: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don't Cost the Earth; The Alternative Wedding Book: Create a Beautiful Wedding That Reflects Your Values and Doesn't Cost the Earth. (recycled paper)

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Page updated 12 Dec. 2013

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