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No way, it can’t REALLY be only 36 days until Christmas!


Can it REALLY be only 36 days until Christmas?

I love the Christmas holiday season.  I always have, and I always will.  I have a huge Italian/Croation family, and it seems like there is a family event every single weekend, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.  And I love it.  I love the food, I love the kiddies, I love the family “banter”, I love the traditions.  But holy mother of all that’s good,  it’s a lot of freaking work!

Am I right?

Yes, there are times I have to REMIND myself how much I love this season.  I have to remind myself how amazingly muchy it feels to be spending so much time with my family, and how much I love the traditions.

Right now, I just feel stress by the number of days until Christmas.  I wonder if all of these people reminding us of this are deliberately TRYING to stress us out?

Because really, I put this work on myself.  And I’ve cut down the work, A LOT.  I no longer string cranberries and popcorn to display on my Christmas tree.  Yes, I used to do that.  And no, no one misses it, least of all me.  I also no longer let holiday decorations take over my entire house, Griswold style.

So I’m going to challenge you.  What is one holiday tradition that stresses you out?  Can you skip this year and NO ONE will miss it?  And if someone misses it, you can delegate it to THEM to complete?

I live in New Jersey, and we’ve had a hell of a fall here.  Hurricane, Nor’Easter, Earthquake, all in a matter of days.  I was one of the lucky ones.  Sure, I had no electric/water/heat for over a week, but I had a warm place to stay, and the electric came back, no harm done.  Oh, and there’s a tree on my deck.  I’ll get to the tree eventually!  What was interesting to me though, is all the STUFF.  At one point, watching all of the people on TV who lost their homes and all their possessions, I started to think about what I needed to get out of my house in case something happened to it and I could never go back.  I ONLY CAME UP WITH TWO THINGS.  Some jewelry, and family recipes.  That’s it!  Every other single thing I have can be replaced. (remember, I’m a geek, so most of my pictures are saved digitally)

So now, there are 36 days until Christmas, and I have a shopping list a mile long.  For what?  More STUFF that no one really needs?  Right now, everywhere you look in the media, you see pictures of street after street of garbage, peoples’ possessions that are now heading to a dump.  My heart goes out to all of the people who lost everything, it really does, but when I look at all the STUFF I wonder how we became this possession filled society.

So this year, I’m going to try to be creative with gift giving.  I can’t go “stuff-free” cold turkey, but I’m going to start moving towards that.  I can’t talk too much about what I’m going to do, in case YOU’RE on my gift list!

So challenge number two.  Think about what you can do this holiday season to reduce the “stuff”, and then DO it.  Baby steps, just one or two things.

One blog post, two challenges!  Comment below and let me know what you can eliminate from your holiday to-do list, and also give me some of your “reduce the stuff” ideas.  Let’s see if we can get creative together!

To all my friends in the USA, I wish you a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving.








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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Natalie November 20, 2012, 2:42 pm

    Hi Karen, Great post! I love the holidays too, but it can be easy to overcommit during this time of year, especially if you are a chronic overcommitter. Some of the best gifts that I have both given and received include services – like lessons, massages – and potables. Things that you will eat or drink and fully enjoy but don’t take up space. And remember, if you decide to get rid of some of your stuff … give it away – to a friend or to Goodwill. There is probably someone who could use the things you don’t need.

    • KarenYankovich November 20, 2012, 4:23 pm

      Natalie services is a great idea, and potables! My daughter is coming home from college for the Thanksgiving weekend, I’m going to suggest she bake for holiday gifts for her brothers, etc.

  • Leanne Chesser November 20, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Awesome post. I gave up all that stuff already. To me, it’s absolutely not about stuff and food and decorating and all the things people do that create stress. It’s about simplicity. Giving. Love. Family. That type of thing. I don’t do any holiday traditions. I don’t have a holiday to-do list. I don’t “get ready” for the holidays. I don’t have any stress around this time of year. I don’t have any decorations. I don’t do the crazy shopping thing. I give my family very basic gifts, or we don’t do gifts at all. We’ve done things for people in need in the past and that’s my dream that I’d love to be able to do freely.

    • KarenYankovich November 20, 2012, 4:24 pm

      Wow Leanne I’m impressed! I still love all the traditional holiday events, so I don’t think I’ll ever I get to where YOU are, but I’m definitely moving in that direction.

  • Stephanie Watanabe November 20, 2012, 5:41 pm

    I love this Karen! Especially the reduction of STUFF. As much as it fills my heart with childlike glee to see mounds of presents all wrapped in gorgeous paper with pretty bows, on Christmas morning — it definitely leaves you feeling kind of hollow after the unwrapping frenzy has passed.
    This year my family has decided to gift, one gift per person. I think it’s a great way to really focus on making that single gift, count. I also think that giving back together is a great way to actually experience the spirit of the holidays.
    Experiences live in the memory far longer than stuff. Especially when the experiences are with the one’s you love and involve you doing something good for others. 🙂

    • KarenYankovich November 21, 2012, 11:21 am

      Stephanie I can so relate to the childlike glee when you see piles of presents! We went to the grab bag plan in my family a few years ago, but still buy for all the kiddies. And still buy for parents, our own kids, etc. Still a lot, so I’m trying to find a middle ground! And I think I’m going to try to go with a family excursion, maybe a Broadway show or something. I love the idea of the memories!

  • kim November 21, 2012, 2:25 am

    family recipes? What about old family photos? Karen good stuff, each year that goes by I want less to maintain. Maybe it means I am getting old or maybe material things mean less to me. Hugs Kim

    • KarenYankovich November 21, 2012, 11:18 am

      Ah Kim most of my family pictures are scanned and saved digitally! BUT after this post, I’m going to get more on top of that over the weekend. I hope your family enjoys Thanksgiving together! Sending love and hugs to you all.

  • Kerry November 21, 2012, 5:07 am

    Great Post Karen,

    The last time I moved house after being in the one place for 8 years, I had that realisation of how much stuff I had and got rid of heaps of it! I really like the gifts I give to be useful, not just “stuff” for the sake of a gift.

    Still a bit scared that christmas is so close! Eeek!


    • KarenYankovich November 21, 2012, 11:21 am

      LOL Kerry me too! I’m trying to embrace it by listening to Holiday music, maybe that will help me get my head in the right place. Lets enjoy it! xoxo


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