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Plan ahead to simplify the holidays!

Nov 14, 2011 by Kari Z. | Story Popularity: 5

Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas...whatever holidays you celebrate, start planning ahead!

Make your grocery list and buy as much as you can from local farms and locally owned stores. Plan your menu so that you aren't running back and forth because you forgot items. Don't stress yourself out by planning to feed 100 people if there will only be 15. It's not about the quantity of the food, it's about getting together and enjoying one another.

Make your gift list. Challenge yourself to buy your kids toys that don't rely on batteries to work. Spark their imagination with art supplies, games, books, journals. Give a gift certificate for a museum, zoo, aquarium. Shop at local craft fairs, church bazaars, and independently owned local stores. For the adults on your list, books written by local authors, wine made by local wineries, art or jewelry created by local artisans...there is sure to be something in your budget that is one of a kind!

Can't shop locally? Then try to find a store that deals in fair trade products! (you can search the web. (here is one that I shop at that happens to be local for me: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/)

Speaking of budget...make a budget and stick to it! No gift is worth going into debt for (especially if it's for a teen/child who will want the next version of "expensive gift" next year.). Sure, kids deserve to be spoiled on the holidays, but you can find gifts that they will love that won't break the budget and just might create some memories that will last a lifetime. Just a few ideas: plan a special day hiking, have them take pictures and build a special book or frame them gallery style, go see a theatre production, visit a local city, visit the countryside. (okay, so this might be where you break down and buy a digital camera, but there are plenty of options and you have time to research a good one that doesn't cost a lot!).

Keep the spirit of the season...volunteer with a soup kitchen. Donate toys, food, and clothes to local charities. Have your children choose some toys they no longer play with and take them to Goodwill so that someone on a tighter budget than you can purchase some nice things for their own kids.

Let the holidays be about that feeling you get in your heart, that feeling of joy when you meet a stranger and they smile, the feeling that you are supporting others while celebrating. Simplify...and I'm sure you'll find it's the best celebration of all!



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