Here's the beginning of an article of mine that's in this month's Yes! Magazine:
If Christmas is about presents, then in 2007, my little family and I had no Christmas. I mean, we had the caroling and the uncle playing the piano and the cousins running around with my three-year-old, Isabella, and the grandfather coaxing her to sit on his lap and the good food.
We had, in other words, an amazingly good time.
What we didn’t have, though, was the average American’s $800 hole in our bank accounts, gouged out by Christmas-present spending. Nor did we have the credit card debt still unpaid by June. Nor the forcing of smiles for gifts we didn’t really want. Nor the buying of extra luggage to bring home those unwanted gifts. Nor the stressful rush of last-minute crowds at the mall.
Without presents, you see, we didn’t have the sensation that I, at least, normally associated with Christmas—the stress. And without stress or presents, it’s not Christmas, right? But of course it was. It was the best of Christmas, the part that, research shows, makes people happiest. It was all the upside without the downside...
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Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.