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Make Your Holidays More Meaningful This Year – Simplify!

Holidays

It’s that time of year again, and for many of us it’s not quite the “most wonderful time of the year.”  It can be a time when the accumulated losses of life hit us the hardest. If you’ve been on the Earth for a while, chances are you are missing some very special people who have either passed away or moved away.  At the same time you’re being bombarded with media images of intact, ‘happy-all-the-time’ extended families in beautiful settings with piles of gifts and tables laden with elaborate dishes. Despite the pervasiveness of these glossy images, it’s not the reality for many who may be feeling overworked, under-financed, unwell, stressed out, or sad about missing loved ones. Just because you or your family have always celebrated the holidays in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing what no longer works. You might want to try something new. It helps to spend time on activities that feed your spirit and increase your focus on experiences instead of things. Maybe you can cancel some time sucking activities that you don’t enjoy in order to free up time for the things you do enjoy! If you have kids, what they really, really want is your time and attention, not more stuff - no matter what they say! You could create some crafts, take a hike, attend a free program or performance at the Library, volunteer your time to a good cause, play a game, do a puzzle, visit an elderly relative or neighbor, check out some Library books, read aloud, or deliver gifts to people who actually do need stuff.

Some Other Ideas:

  • When you need help, ask for it - free yourself from the illusion of perfection. Shared experiences are worth much more than a perfect anything.
  • Simplify meals. Cook a couple of satisfying dishes instead of many elaborate ones (make ahead and freeze if you can). Spending time together is more important.
  • Consider spending less time baking. If it’s not fun anymore it may be time to cut back.
  • Maybe the kids don’t really need so many gifts. One article I read said 4 is more than enough: one that they want; one that they need; one to wear; and one to read.
  • Instead of ordering gifts online or frequenting huge stores, take a stroll on a town’s main street, or visit a craft fair. Buy less. Shop locally and share a fun day with someone at the same time.
  • Draw names from a hat so that each family member buys a gift for one other person rather than everyone buying for everyone. It will reduce shopping (as well as time spent on returning and exchanging) while extending your budget.
  • Stay away from the sales and the lines! Why buy what everyone else is buying? Dare to be different. As challenging as it is, try to limit your kids’ screen time so they don’t get brainwashed by ads for the latest new thing.
  • Try wrapping any gifts that you do give in plain brown paper or newsprint. Have fun decorating them together with crayons or paint. You’ll save money and do something good for the planet at the same time.
  • Give the gift of time and experience – an offer to babysit, an invitation to lunch, a ride to a doctor’s appointment, a home cooked meal, or offer to teach someone something you know how to do that they want to learn.
  • Visit a nursing home or a shelter, spread some joy –  it will make you feel better too!
  • Honor the memory of your missing loved ones by making donations to charities in their names.

And…. Enjoy some of our offerings at the Islip Public Library! :

The Library is collecting toys and items for kids and teens through the Family Service League’s PROJECT TOY.  We’re also hosting a family community service event - The Gift of Giving, on the evening of December 20 to create toiletry bags to be delivered to guests at a local soup kitchen.

There’s a special volunteer opportunity for teens on December 15 - the teens will be wrapping gifts that patrons bring in to the Library. It’s free and we supply the paper and ribbons too!

Two special (free of course) performances are happening at the Library in December: For kids and families there’s Once Upon a Snowflake by Plaza Theatrical on Sunday, December 9. For everyone, there’s the Long Island re-Sound Handbell Ensemble performance on Sunday, December 16.

Bring your child to the Library to read aloud to a therapy dog on December 20. Animals have a special non-judgmental way of slowing us down and keeping us grounded.

Don’t miss meeting Mary Poppins herself as she makes a special appearance at the showing of the Mary Poppins movie on Saturday, December 22!

Stop in to see the Polar Express train set that will be gracing a large table in the Children’s Room during the month of December – magical!

As always there are many free programs to attend at the Library including some new drop-in programs for kids.

Take advantage of the Library’s Museum Pass program. Passes are free. Enjoy a fun, educational day. Reserve a pass from our websitewww.isliplibrary.org

Stretch your gift budget by visiting the Library’s sale shelves to buy some gently used, very inexpensive books and DVDs.

Take a look at our newsletter for more information about Library programs.

For even more ideas about simplifying the holidays while making them more meaningful, you may want to visit these websites:

Lauraine Farr

Lauraine Farr

Lauraine Farr, the Assistant Library Director has been a librarian since 1981. She has been an avid reader forever, and is usually in the middle of at least two books. She has a BA in the Humanities, with a Minor in English, and an MS in Library Science. She especially loves reading contemporary literary fiction and historical fiction, as well as discovering new authors. Her other interests include yoga, writing, embroidery, hiking, and exploring Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Washington DC with her grown sons and husband. Click here to subscribe to Lauraine Farr's blog posts!

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