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Simple Living 101

Let's Talk About Christmas!

Instead of going on auto-pilot the day after Thanksgiving...
Schedule a family meeting as early as possible in October or November.

Getting Started

Before your meeting, if possible, share this planner with friends and family. Do some homework, gather some ideas, but be willing to modify or even abandon them for the sake of the group.

Brainstorm during the meeting! No idea is too goofy. No ridicule allowed.

Then refine the ideas and try to reach a consensus. Vote on ideas only as a last resort. (Voting can sometimes become competitive, even divisive.) Afterwards, share the results tactfully with the others in your celebrating circle, even with those who did not make it to the meeting. Post the results in a prominent place in your household.

Use a format that works for your group:

  • the outline below: copy and paste into a word processing program on your computer
  • a grid like the original PDF on a large sheet of newsprint
  • one of your own devising

    Resources

    The following free online resources from Alternatives will be helpful before, during and after the family meeting:

  • Christmas Campaign Kit (contains over 20 resources like this planner)
  • Unplug the Christmas Machine Workshop Leader's Guide, Text and Audio.
  • Treasury of Celebrations: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don't Cost the Earth, 288 pages.
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas video.
  • Many resources on paper, in Alternatives' web site archives at SimpleLivingWorks.org » Archives or on the CD-ROM Simply the Best: Over 30 Years of Alternatives.

    Visit www.SimpleLivingWorks.org

    Also available from your public library or your local independent bookstore:

  • Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas by Bill McKibben, 96 pages, $12.
  • Simplify & Celebrate: Embracing the Soul of Christmas, 208 pages, $16.
  • Unplug the Christmas Machine (the classic for simplifying Christmas), 207 pages, $13.

    Let's Talk About Christmas! worksheet

    Questions: Ask the following questions for activities that apply to you. Some of your activities may include more items and details than other activities, depending on the emphasis of your celebration. Make notes here or on a larger sheet.

    1. WHAT: What are we going to do this activity to celebrate Advent and Christmas? Yes/no. What's its priority (1-10) if we decide to cut back?

    2. WHY: Why do we do this activity? Personal beliefs? Needs? Tradition? Habit?

    3. HOW: How are we going to do it? The same or differently than before?

    4. WHERE: Where will we do this? At home? Another place? A public place?

    5. WHEN: When will we start and finish the preparations and the activity?

    6. WHO: Who will do the work? Can we divide up the tasks differently?

    7. COST/BUDGET: How much will we spend? Is there flexibility? Are we willing to spend less on ourselves and give more to the truly needy?

    8. SIMPLIFY: How can we simplify this to reduce stress and cost, to nurture relationships instead of stuff, to curb overconsumption? Set a goal to simplify at least three activities.


    ACTIVITIES

    A. Decorations

    Inside:

    Advent Wreath

    Manger Scene

    Tree, Greens

    Outside:

    Gift Wrap

    Other

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    B. Travel

    Shopping

    Trip

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    C. Gifts

    Children

    Adults

    Family

    Friends

    Relatives

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    D. Alternative Gifts

    Cash

    Volunteer Time

    Material

    Other

    Local Recipients

    National/International

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    E. Entertaining

    Advent

    Christmas

    Epiphany

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    F. Food

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    G. Family Entertainment

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    H. Cards

    Relatives

    Friends

    Associates

    Close by

    Far Away

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    I. Church Activities

    Advent

    Christmas Eve/Day

    Sunday School

    Choir

    Other

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    J. Home Devotions

    Reflections

    Services

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    K. Music

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    L. Clothes

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    M. Other

    Postage

    1. WHAT
    2. WHY
    3. HOW
    4. WHERE
    5. WHEN
    6. WHO
    7. COST/BUDGET
    8. SIMPLIFY


    As with most resources produced by Alternatives, the original purchaser is authorized to reproduce (preferably on recycled paper), but not to sell, this worksheet. Please credit Alternatives on each copy as follows; send us a copy of reprints, quotes.

    © 2016 Creative Commons (1996, 2003 Alternatives for Simple Living) Alternatives' mission is to 'equip people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly.' For resources (some in Spanish) for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, weddings, and other celebrations, visit www.SimpleLivingWorks.org

    Recycled Paper


    page updated 01 Nov. 2016

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