Reflection: Simplify the Holidays

Jan 3, 2010 by Joannie Pan | Story Popularity: 2


Although I did visit the malls this Christmas and New Year season, I was not trapped by the shopping, spending, and usual holiday commercialism. I planned my gifts in advance and reflected on each person I was giving something to, on what would be a good gift for them.

Does this mean I spent less money on gifts this year? Not necessarily so, but more well spent.

How about time spent? Ok, I can definitely say that I spent more time on holiday giving this year than any other year. Time spent reflecting, planning, looking for the right materials, and carrying out. Time spent volunteering. Yes, time is probably the biggest gift I gave to my friends and community this year, and I hope to give more of it in 2010.

There was an occasion where I was tempted to buy a friend something because I felt lazy. There wasn't much time left to make something and I didn't want to think about what I could make him. I was tempted to just buy ANYTHING. It was okay if he didn't like it and had to return it...I just had to give something. Yikes! However, when I thought about my public commitment to Simplifying and making this a more Meaningful season, I found the strength to make something from my heart.

When Christmas had passed, a co-worker, inspired by Kanu Hawaii's STH campaign, organized a "reuse greeting cards" session during our lunch hour (as pictured). We turned our received Christmas cards into new greeting cards, for all occasions. I made a thank you card for a very special co-worker who retired on 12/31/09. Receive & Give back from the heart. It's the perfect cycle, and teaches you that the best gifts aren't the ones that have a big price tag, but the ones that have the touch of love.

I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to Simplify my Holidays this year, and inspired me with your wonderful ideas. Mahalo!

Now, I want to hear about what you did!


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  1. Ryan Namba says:

    I love that your coworkers were moved to not just act for themselves, but to organize for the office as well. Inspiration is contagious. Very cool, Joannie!

  2. Joannie Pan says:

    inspiration *is* contagious, especially when the ones involved are passionate, consistent and expressive about what they're doing! love it! thanks for your comment! : >

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