At this time of year, the malls are busy, parking spaces are impossible to find, and you just don’t know what to buy for people on your list. We’ve all been there and sometimes we end up being so stressed out that we barely manage to enjoy ourselves. Maybe you can re-evaluate how you celebrate Christmas this year.

LESS IS MORE: Think “OLD SCHOOL” – way back when life was simpler. The emphasis wasn’t necessarily on the gifts, (how many – how big – how expensive). Instead of making your living room look like a toy store, try to limit your gift giving to a more reasonable limit. This shouldn’t be a competition, and going into debt is ABSOLUTELY OUT!!

MAKE SOME OF YOUR GIFTS: You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to do this. Kids love to help out and receiving something from them will mean a whole lot more than a hastily bought gift that has little meaning behind it. Buy some tins at the Dollar Store and fill them with homemade baking, (there are some really easy recipes on the internet). The same goes for crafts – you can get as creative or as simple as you like there.

SPEND TIME TOGETHER: This may sound easy but in an age where everyone is tuned in to their electronics, finding time for one another can be hard. Walk around the Legislature grounds (or your neighborhood) to see the lights and decorations. Dig out the old board games and play some Monopoly or Sorry or Pictionary, (once you start you’ll remember how much fun it is!). Get outside and go skating or tobogganing or build a big snowman! Get a group together and go caroling (if you don’t know what this is then look it up ).

DO SOMETHING CHARITABLE: Helping others should be an important part of Christmas. It can be as simple as visiting someone who doesn’t get out much, or volunteering for a day. Fill up a shoe box for a needy child overseas or hand out candy canes to the neighbors. Giving of yourself is one of the most rewarding things you and your family can do this Christmas season. Whatever activity you choose to do, I GUARANTEE that the happy memories you make will last longer than any toy ever could.