Happy Thanksgiving from UCEC! We hope your table is filled with friends and family, and that the day is one where warm memories are made. As the holiday season kicks off with pumpkin pies and festive lights aglow, we wanted to pass on three ways to keep things a little more simple this holiday season. Enjoy and happy thanksgiving! 

1. Use Black Friday to Your Advantage

We know, it's counterintuitive to kick off a "less is more" post with tips about Black Friday. But consider this: do you have a list of gifts you know you will purchase this holiday season? Items such as a gift for your parents or your kids' teachers? Buying them online can take just minutes and can be done in the comfort of your jammies. Plus, you'll save a bit AND have your gift shopping finished. (But skip the stores...we have our limits!)

2. When You Can, Go Simple

It's not imperative that you accept every invitation extended to you this season. Choose the best of the best. Cookie decorating party not your thing? Send your regrets. Look at the holiday season as a menu and you're the restaurant patron.

If you're hosting a big family meal, ask for help with sides. Keep the fancy china stashed in the closet and use your everyday dishes this year. No one will mind. Drop the adult gift exchange if possible and save everyone the money and hassle. After all, if you want something, you can save for it and buy it yourself. Focus on the kids and grandkids...gift giving is magical for the younger family members. 

3. Focus on What Counts

Research into the practice of gratitude shows that greater well being springs from practicing thankfulness. Many of us know this, but life's irritations still fester and produce complaints. Try to make gratitude part of your daily life by adopting a "gratitude journal" or setting an alarm on your phone to pause and reflect. 

For the loved ones in your life, take time to let them know what they mean to you. Do this with a letter or in person. Even a quick text can brighten someone's day. If the holidays bring more grief than joy, enlist the help of a trusted friend and or family member to help you create new traditions (or honor old ones that have been shelved for now). 

With a little thoughtful preparation, the holidays can be reclaimed for deeper connection and quiet reflection. Here's to the simple life! 

 

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