It’s not yet Thanksgiving and already the store shelves are crammed with plastic Santas, cheap chocolates, and plastic-wrapped gift sets. Electronic gift guides have started to arrive in my email in-box. Even the small, family-owned corner store near me has already gotten into the action with a Christmas-tree shaped pyramid of beer cans adorned with tinsel — spotlighted in their window.

Last year, stores rallied for Black Friday gift sales by opening their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving. To compete, online companies lured shoppers in by offering Thanksgiving Day sales. I’ve heard rumors that some brick-and-mortar stores will be starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving! EEK! The one holiday that has as yet remained sacred as quality time to spend with the people in our lives.

The madness has already started. But it isn’t too late to stop it. 

I want us to unearth the simple joys of the season that get buried beneath the blizzard of shopping lists, soirees, and shoulds. Will you join me in my mission to create a holiday season that is debt-free, stress-free, and full of connection to the people we love? I want us to Occupy Christmas! (Insert dramatic music here.)

As many of you know who have been following Simply Celebrate for a while, last year I campaigned to get people to create low-or-no-cost gifts that nurtured relationships. One of my popular suggestions was —and is— the Love List. This continues to be one of my all-time favorite gifts to make and give.  You can watch a two-minute video that tells how to make it and I promise you this gift will be a highlight for someone — not just of Christmas, but of their whole life. It is absolutely free to make, but its impact is profound.

I have lots of other low-cost gift ideas that I will be sharing with you throughout the next few weeks.  It’s really important to me to be a catalyst for change in the way we view celebration and gift giving. I know from my own experience that what really matters is spending quality time with the people I love. It is sharing experiences. It’s knowing that people in my life feel seen, heard, and loved.

Isn’t it the same for you? I mean, is it really worth all the stress and insanity to meet the high standards set by culture and catalogs to create the picture-perfect Christmas? And truly, doesn’t that “picture-perfect” moment feel kind of stiff and formal, without the zest of real life ease and spontaneity? I know for me, I'd choose a quirky, spontaneous moment full of joy over a predesigned "perfect" moment anytime! (And I sure am grateful to the people in my life who have taught me that!)

So this year, I am again campaigning for a different kind of holiday. Just like last year, I am repeating over and over: We must put the creativity and connection back into the holiday.

But, here's something new this year: I am also enlisting your aid.  Will you help me?

I want to hear your ideas for how you streamline the holidays and keep the focus on simplicity, self-care, and spirited connections with people you love. What kinds of meaningful gifts, experiences, or gestures of love do you give? Will you email me or leave a comment below to let me know?

I’m convinced that it is possible to do things differently. That we can share ideas and support one another in living lives that feel like we’d always imagined — even if they look nothing like what we’d imagined. Let’s Occupy Christmas and create less stress, less debt, and less waste.  Let’s stir up some more color, joy, and magic for ourselves and the people we love.

Are you in? I’d love to hear from you with any thoughts you have!

Wishing you a spirited and connected holiday season,

lots of love and delight,




Illustration © Can Stock Photo Inc. /prawny