Christmastime is here, along with gaudy decorations and swarms of shoppers. This year, buck the trend and have a non-commercial Christmas, stripping the season down to its essentials.
Step 1: Simplify decorations Trim down the trimmings and keep decorations simple. Donate what you don't use to a children's hospital or nursing home.
TIP: No decorations to begin with? Make your own.
Step 2: Limit gifts Do a Christmas swap with your family, where each member gives just one gift to one other person. Set a modest spending limit, or, better yet, make gifts instead. Donate the money you save to charity, or put it toward a meaningful family purchase.
Step 3: Give a gift that gives back If you are buying presents, give gifts that give back by purchasing from artisans in developing countries. You'll not only find unique and handcrafted gifts, you'll also help people in impoverished countries earn a fair wage.
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Step 4: Easy and festive foods Don't get caught up in preparing an extravagant Christmas feast and creating lavish tablescapes. Foster a sense of community by hosting a potluck Christmas dinner -- make an easy entree and have your guests bring the sides and appetizers.
Step 5: Focus on others Focusing on others is essential to celebrating a non-commercial Christmas. Make an effort to reach out to an overlooked friend or colleague, and reconnect with your nearest and dearest. Spending quality time with the ones you love this holiday season is something you can't put a price tag on!
FACT: In a 2010 survey of American consumers, 56% said the recession made them rethink gift giving, opting for less expensive presents, setting a budget, and making presents.