1. Help those in need.. It’s better to give than to receive and so here are some things you can do to help those in need this year: help kids deliver homemade holiday cookies to a retirement home, schedule a visit to the children’s cancer ward at a local hospital to deliver baskets of toys or help serve a holiday meal at a homeless shelter. If you’re looking for more volunteer opportunities, visit volunteersolutions.org.

2. Make your food count. Reexamine the food choices you make and the buying patterns you have. By doing so, you can calculate how much you spend on junk food and with that extra money, you can give to charities that need it.

3. Create a ritual or tradition. Rituals give kids a tradition and a sense of continuity that they can pass on to their children in the future. It can be as easy as lighting candles, singing songs, or saying a special prayer. Even throwing a holiday party counts.

4. Share. Explain to your children that not all boys and girls have gifts to open on the holidays, and ask if they’d like to share some of theirs. Adults also share toys/gadgets as well such as cell phones, old computers, etc. Check out justgive.org for more ideas.

5. Turn off the TV. You can’t stop holiday commercialism, but you can refuse to partake. Stop watching your television and spend time with your kids, family and friends more in festive activities.

6. Simplify. Six to ten weeks before the holiday season, sketch out a weekly calendar with all your holiday obligations  and then start eliminating.

7. Let your purchases reflect your values. Make gifts more meaningful by shopping on websites that help artisans in developing countries (find a list at fairtraderesource.org) and buy at small, local stores.

8. Me time. Take some time for yourself to meditate, do yoga, hike and more. meditation, introspection, yoga, a solitary hike, gazing at the evening stars. Just make sure to take some time out of your day for yourself.



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