I grew up in the 70s waiting eagerly for the one time of year that the holiday specials would be shown on broadcast television. You see, young whippersnappers, we lived and died by the TV Guide schedule. We could not have our own copy of any of these shows to watch at our leisure on DVD, or even on a VCR. There was no pause or rewind– you had to have your chores done and pajamas on to watch it or else!
When the Peanuts Christmas special aired, I always felt sorry for Charlie Brown and his little tree, but I was struck each time at how beautiful and meaningful it still was. The size of the tree made no difference — it was about how everyone felt being together and celebrating.
As we progress into the final few frenzied days of shopping and preparing for the holidays, let’s keep in mind the lesson of the little tree. Less is more. Fewer toys, more time spent playing together with them. Less stuff, more experiences. Less spending money, more spending time.
Consider spending one hour weeding out your possessions to make room for the new. This is particularly good to do with children and their toys, and your coats and sweaters can be lifesavers for those less fortunate. You can donate them to Goodwill, where the revenue will used to support job training and employment placement services for the unemployed in your community. Less is more.
Ask your family what is important to them about the holidays. You might be surprised to find out you don’t have to be elaborate to get the same magical effect. It may be that drinking cocoa out of grandma’s special Santa mugs is more important to your kids than winding the staircase with lights and garland. Less is more!