No place like home for the holidays

My long absence from Minify can be explained by my last post: I’ve been hard at work on my writing project! I’ll save you the suspense and tell you: although I didn’t quite make it to 50,000 words with the National Novel Writing Month project I took on for November, I did come much closer than I have in years past! I’m planning on finishing up my project this month – I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I’m going to keep writing even now that November is over.

But for December, I’ve got a new project going:

HANDMADE CHRISTMAS!

Our family tree with homemade ornaments

My husband and I are hand making every Christmas present we plan to give this year, including our gifts to each other. We’ll be saving money, but we’re also donating some of the money we would have spent on gifts for family and friends to nonprofit projects that do good in the world. Any suggestions for nonprofits we should consider making a donation to?

I can’t post about any of the gifts we’re making without ruining the suprise, so those will have to wait until after the holidays. There are several blogs that have given me some food for thought about the commercialization of the holidays – one recent post from Zen Habits about gift giving summed up some of my own thoughts on buying and spending and selling Christmas quite nicely. I love gifts, and generosity, but I also love spending time with family, eating good food and laughing and celebrating what this holiday means to us.

In order to walk the talk about living more simply and sustainably, and cutting down on “stuff” and spending, my husband and I feel like it’s very important for us to celebrate the things Christmas does mean to us this year – chief among them are warmth and love and family. My own fondest memories aren’t of the stuff I received each year. They’re of the midnight candlelit service at church that we went to every year during my childhood. The first Christmas we were married, hosting a Christmas cookie making party with our friends. Baking cookies to hang on the tree with my Mother-in-Law, one of my favorite newer holiday traditions.

How will you celebrate the holidays this year, and what are your own fondest and most cherished memories?

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