More merry and less mad­ness this hol­i­day

Dayton Daily News - - L!FE - By Jenn Savedge Mother Na­ture Net­work (

In my al­ter-ego role over on The Green Par­ent, I’m host­ing the third an­nual hol­i­day post for the Green Moms Car­ni­val (www.or­gan­ic­ma­ green-moms-car­ni­val).

As a group, we have cov­ered al­most ev­ery as­pect of green­ing the hol­i­days over the years, so we de­cided to do some­thing dif­fer­ent with this year’s hol­i­day car­ni­val. Our theme, Hol­i­days With­out the Hoopla, will in­clude posts about keep­ing the hol­i­days sim­ple to hand­made gift and dec­o­ra­tion ideas. It’s def­i­nitely worth a look.

As for me, here’s what I’m do­ing to min­i­mize the hoopla for my hol­i­days:

Reeval­u­ate ev­ery­thing. Ev­ery year, I go into the hol­i­days with some sort of plan. It’s not set in stone; it’s just a gen­eral idea of gift ideas, hol­i­day tra­di­tions to en­joy, recipes to try, and so on. But this year is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. While I still have a gen­eral plan in my head, I’m mak­ing a con­cen­trated ef­fort to reeval­u­ate ev­ery­thing from at­tend­ing the an­nual cookie ex­change to dec­o­rat­ing my home, to see if it still fits with my de­sire to avoid the mad­ness of the sea­son. Just this past week­end, my girls and I de­cided to skip the pic­tures and visit with Santa in lieu of mak­ing (and eat­ing) cook­ies at home. We had fun, felt fes­tive and shared spe­cial time to­gether with­out the anguish of wait­ing in line at the mall or shelling out tons of cash for a cheesy 5by-7 photo.

Skip the hol­i­day cards. In the past I have sent out e-cards to my wired friends and a hand­ful of pony­ex­press cards to friends and fam­ily who are still off­line. But in this age of Face­book, YouTube and blogs, I just don’t think my an­nual hol­i­day card is nec­es­sary. Friends and fam­ily around the world al­ready know about my fam­ily’s ma­jor mo­ments for 2010, and they’ve al­ready seen the most re­cent pic­tures of my kids that I posted just a few weeks ago. So I of­fi­cially will take a pass on hol­i­day cards this year and spend those hours do­ing other hol­i­day things, or maybe just kick­ing back and re­lax­ing with my fam­ily.

Give back. I know it sounds cliche to say that I’m mak­ing sure to give back this hol­i­day sea­son, but I am — and I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it. Just ask my Girl Scout troop. Ev­ery year we do a num­ber of ser­vice projects to­gether as a group, par­tic­u­larly around the hol­i­days. This year we have been cram­ming in ser­vice projects ev­ery which way we can — from hol­i­day food drives over the week­end to mak­ing blan­kets for the lo­cal women’s shel­ter and writ­ing hol­i­day cards to sol­diers on school nights. Now more than ever it seems that there are many peo­ple in need, and many of those peo­ple are right in my own com­mu­nity. It’s a no-brainer for me to use my time and ef­fort to help, and I’m glad the girls in my troop seem to agree.

So far, I have to say that this hol­i­day sea­son has been more re­laxed, more fes­tive, more fun and less har­ried than ever be­fore. Jenn Savedge has writ­ten three books on eco-friendly liv­ing.

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