This post originally appeared on SlowChristmas.org.

Recently I have begun to wonder. Just when did Christmas go from this:

it's a wonderful life

 

 

 

 

to this?

usb christmas cushionUSB Warmer Seat Cushion

 

 

 

 

 

The world is a fast place, filled with stuff, so I guess it makes sense that Christmas would reflect that. The trouble is, we’re all a little broke from living this way, and the planet is groaning from last year’s stocking stuffers. So what if this year, instead of spending time at the mall buying family and friends stuff they might not even like, we spend time with those people instead?

Let’s slow Christmas down. Take a walk with hot cider and take in all the lit-up storefronts and decorations. Make Christmas cookies from scratch, go sledding, go to a church with a good choir and sit in the back and bask in the goodwill and beautiful music.

Let’s prove our generosity by remembering those in need all year round by signing up for a monthly donation to our favorite cause in 2010. It’s a fair bet your local food bank is facing fewer donations and three times the need, and it doesn’t get any easier after Christmas.

Let’s give the gift of time, not money. Experience gifts are the best way to give your friends and family permission to do new things they’ve always wanted to try. Skip the trip to the mall, and bundle the kids up for a walk to check out the best light displays around town.

It’s time to reclaim the Christmas spirit. Christmas is about being nice to people on the sidewalk, sharing instead of spending, and yes, even burying the hatchet with annoying relatives. Let’s do it right this year.

Join me in pledging to keep Christmas slow by giving an experience gift, a donation, or something homemade this year.

As Linus Van Pelt said: It’s not such a bad little tree after all, all it needs is a little love.

porter mcconnellPorter McConnell is founder of SlowChristmas.org, a website devoted to keeping Americans sane and sustainable during the holidays. Slow Christmas features recipes, gift ideas, and reflections on the season.