This season, take a few ideas from Wanda Urbanska, host of the Simple Living television series on PBS, and make the holidays more meaningful. Urbanska is coauthor with Frank Levering of Nothing’s Too Small to Make a Difference (John F. Blair, 2004).
1. Make conscious choices. Instead of shifting into autopilot and following our consumer culture’s prescripted plans, you decide what constitutes a meaningful holiday season for you and your family.
2. Feel free to change. Just because you always “did it that way” doesn’t mean you have to repeat the tradition again and always. Remember that the most constant part of life is change, and you’ll feel more active and alive when you’re creating something new.
3. Don’t spend beyond your means. Don’t be pressured by culture—or even your closest friends—to compete dollar for dollar. When selecting gifts or hosting a party, arrive at a budget where you feel comfortable.
4. Shop inside your own house. Most of us have more than we need (or even know we have). Find a meaningful treasure and give it to someone you care for, with a history attached.
5. Give gifts of time and talent. Bestow gift certificates for your services: a home-cooked dinner for four, a massage, babysitting for an evening, a jar of apricot preserves, or a basket of holiday cookies.