November 30


More or Less Christmas?

By Sue Ingebretson

November 30, 2010

Christmas, donations, gift giving, joy, peace

What does the holiday season really mean? If Christmas means shopping, baking, mailing, wrapping, hurrying, and a sense of “I’m already behind,” I could use less Christmas. If Christmas means worship, relationships, and joy-filled moments, I could use more — much more.

The question is, what does it take to make more of what we want and less of what we don’t want?

It’s not a question of need. It’s unlikely that anyone reading this needs holiday cookies, a red sweatshirt with glow-in-the-dark snowflakes, or a Santa who can boogie to an Elvis tune. Yet, these items will magically appear with the swish of a small plastic charge card. It seems, then, that we need to define what we’re looking for, and what we’re willing to do to achieve it.

If we’re looking for peace, comfort, and serenity this holiday season, here’s a few suggestions. Think of these as ways to decrease Christmas stress and increase Christmas joy. I hope this list jumpstarts your own!

–Consider saying NO more often in the next several weeks. Decline multiple party invitations (being over-scheduled is a perfectly good reason to say no) and simply pencil in one or two soirées to attend. Imagine the nights you can free up for fun family activities like movie and/or game night! Don’t forget to include a healthy meal with your family plans.

–If baking is a specialty of yours, consider doling out fewer items. Who says treats need to be dispensed by the dozen?  Stack a few cookies in a clear plastic cup and wrap with colored cellophane and ribbon. Put a few treats on a small plate or in a coffee mug. It’s the time and love you’ve put into the gift not the quantity that counts (in other words, don’t let your gifts go to waist!).

–Consider giving the gift of your time rather than trinkets. Destination gifts are a great way to make memories. Give movie or pizza gift certificates and plan a night out with friends or family. Give a gift card and plan a trip to your favorite bookstore or unique shopping destination. Plan a day of fun and education at local museums, art galleries, and sites of historical significance. Pack a picnic basket of goodies and plan a day at a local park, lake, or beach. Better yet, stop at a local farmer’s market first and then go on the picnic!

–Consider purchasing fewer gifts for family members and sending the money you would have spent to a single charitable organization. There are many reputable, conscientious organizations such as The Salvation Army ( and Living Water International ( that will use your donation wisely.

If you’d like to know more about buying less and loving more this Christmas season, check out the promo video on this site:

Wishing all of you a blessed and peace-filled Advent to Christmas!

  1. As we have gotten older; my husband and I have stopped exchanging gifts with friends and then with family. Our gift giving had turned into exchanging gift cards and why do that? As it turned out, the friends and most of the family were relieved we suggested stopping. We love having family here for a meal and then sit around and talk; it’s really quite enjoyable! That makes less hassle of shopping, wrapping gifts and worrying if we bought the right item.

    Now instead, we give money to those we know who are in need; when we do this, my husband and I feel we are the blessed ones!

    You have written great suggestions for a quiet and peaceful Christmas Season.

  2. Great ideas for lessening holiday stress and making the Christmas season more peaceful! Thanks, Sue! I loved the video about buying less and loving more!

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