Simplicity at Christmas Time by Rhonda Hetzel

[caption id="attachment_3409" align="aligncenter" width="625"] Image source:[/caption] This is the first in a series of posts to help you find the pleasures of simplicity this festive season by Australian blogger and author, Rhonda Hetzel. Christmas has the potential to undo all your frugal efforts throughout the year. You hear that "ho-ho-hoing", see the advertisements with the warm and fuzzy family around the Christmas tree with stacks of gifts under it, and you start thinking that maybe you should get your credit card out and buy gifts for the 30-plus people you gave gifts to last year. Christmas isn't about the gifts, it's much more significant than that. Christmas can be about celebrating your religion, celebrating your family or it can be a time to withdraw from the world to relax, think about the year just passed and plan for a new year and all the opportunities it may hold. It could be all three, the choice is yours. Now we know that excess and waste is causing climate change and unsustainable pollution, more than ever there is a need to cut back and save. The days of extravagant gestures for your best friend's brother are gone; you don't need to give to everyone. A few years ago I stopped sending cards and giving a lot of gifts. Now my gift giving is heart-felt and meaningful; I usually give only to my close family members and a couple of friends. To the rest I give a warm and sincere wish for a wonderful Christmas, sometimes I invite friends over for a Christmas drink, sometimes there might be a small homemade gift. What we do give is our friendship, we share the events of the past year and we look forward together to what will come in the new year. There is a lot of good will, my friends know - really know - that I love them and they know that by my actions and words, not by the gifts I give. Reducing your gift list requires a bit of soul searching and you need to be kind to yourself and understand that you aren't being selfish or mean. What you are doing is making your life simpler and better, you are sticking to your budget, living true to your values and you're not falling for the commercialism that is now a big part of Christmas. It's probably a good idea to tell your relatives and friends that you're not giving as many gifts as you did in the past. If you really want gifts to be a part of the day, maybe you could have a secret Santa with your family so the cost is reduced but small gifts are still exchanged. I think you might find that some of your family members will be relieved that someone decided to stop buying gifts for everyone. It's not just making it easier for you because your actions will have a flow on effect by reducing the expense of Christmas for the whole family. With a busy year coming to an end, it's easy to dive into the holiday season and forget the simple values you lived by during the year. Sometimes you might think that you deserve to splurge after being frugal during the year, but doing that now will undo all the hard work you've already put in. I hope that instead of going backwards you plan your Christmas gift giving and continue on your simple, sustainable path. In the next blog I'll write about Planning and budgeting for Christmas gifts. Rhonda Hetzel is author of the much loved Down to Earth blog and the book "Down to Earth: a guide to simple living". From her home in the hinterland of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Rhonda gently encourages readers to find the pleasure and meaning in a simpler life, sharing all the practical information she has gathered. Please look out for Rhonda's new book "The Simple Home" due in March 2016.
Back to blog

New arrivals

1 of 12