The holidays should be a time to celebrate meaningful moments with friends and family. But sometimes they become so commercialized that their value gets lost amid the stress of shopping, wrapping, and cleaning up. This year, why not take a break from the frenzy? Plan a special celebration with your loved ones that maximizes the quality time you spend together and minimizes the stressful hours you devote to shopping. At home, consider the following ideas to enrich your festivities:
Recycle used ribbons, bows and decorative wrappings. Store used paper and accessories in a convenient place for the next birthday or holiday occasion.
Try alternatives to storebought wrapping paper. Leftover fabric, lightweight wallpaper, colorful scarves and even the Sunday comics work just as well.
Buy a live holiday tree. The tree will survive inside for about a week with ample watering and somewhat cool air temperatures. When you're ready, transplant it outside to a spot you have already prepared, or donate it to a school or community center. If you buy a cut tree rather than a live one, recycle it.
Decorate with delight. Ask your children to make garlands and wreaths from leftover construction paper, wild berries, fruits and nuts. Craft homespun centerpieces from boughs and pinecones gathered in your yard. Brighten up doors and hallways with holiday greeting cards. Trade decorations with friends or family to add a "new" flair to your home without having to buy new products.
Purchase greeting cards from a non-profit organization. In many cases, a part of the purchase price can be deducted as a contribution to the organization.
Entertain efficiently. Replace throwaway plates, cups, silverware and napkins with durable goods you can use season after season.
Reuse cookie tins, baskets and festive food containers. Refill these next year and give them as gifts.
Try catalog shopping. You'll save energy and reduce your own stress levels by not driving back and forth to various shopping malls.