I originally had a different plan for this week's post, but received some inspiration that took me in another direction a few days ago when I was scanning XM Radio channels. I heard, on the station I refuse to play before November 29, a snippet of "My Favorite Things." Complete with sleigh bells and a full string section - Tony Bennett's version, if memory serves. I'm not alone in wondering when it morphed into a holiday song, and of course, I Googled - there's a more extended history than I knew. So when I sat down to write this week and realized I likely won't crank another post out before Thanksgiving, I got to thinking about the season and well...here we are.
Aside from whiskers on kittens, and Julie Andrews' voice, there is not much in the song that appeals to me. I'm more of a The King and I girl. But if you've read any of my holiday posts in years' past (or if you know me even slightly), you'll know I'm not big on stuff-giving. What does resonate for my list, and what could you do this year to cut back on the stress of shopping and the future soul-sucking curation of excess objects? I have some thoughts. I flirted with the idea of getting everything to rhyme in some sort of parody, but that was just working too hard for this time of year. Besides, do you know how many recorded versions there already are of this thing (I stopped counting around 210)?
So here it is, My Favorite Things, 2019 Edition. With apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein, read on for my ideas on gifts and cool things to do that make me smile whenever the dog bites or the bee stings...
1. Tickets. $-$$$$. To the opera. For an Amtrak ride. To the kids' school production of A Christmas Carol, complete with rattling chains and stakes of holly through the heart. To The Rise of Skywalker, or that Beatles tribute band concert. A ticket to any sort of trip or event, for any kind of taste, is available pretty much everywhere in price ranges to fit any budget. And if you get two, maybe you'll get lucky and be invited along to make some memories.
2. REI Opt Outside. Free. You've likely heard about REI's policy of closing its doors on Black Friday, and encouraging everyone to skip the consumerism and go outside. I have always thought this was a fabulous idea. Still, even though I haven't darkened the door of a store on Black Friday in years, I've never actually "opted outside" in an intentional way. I mean, I was a Girl Scout and all, but I'm not sure anyone would accuse me of being outdoorsy. Maybe this is the year to give it a whirl.
3. Dr. Bronner's Soap. $-$$. An object, yes, but consumable and sustainable. This stuff is amazing. We've been buying it for close to 20 years now after my husband discovered it on a business trip to Austin, TX. You can use it for darn-near everything (washing dishes, bathing Fluffy), but one of the best ways is to soak in a tub with a couple of spoonfuls in the water - lavender is my favorite - and read the label. Seriously, read the label. You can check out gift options here.
4. A library card. Free. I still vividly remember the day my mother took me to the library (I'm guessing I was five) to get mine. So first, there was this cool, grown-up looking piece of cardboard I could carry around in my pocket, and second, there was this massive building full of books. Total win-win. Even if your kiddos are not huge readers, there are usually all kinds of other wonders - when our kids were small, we used to check out puppets or board games. Our son was (and still is) big on audiobooks. Plus…ssshhhh. All. that. quiet.
5. Masterclass.com. $90/class, or $15/month annually. You guys - online masterclasses on everything from writing and music to political science and barbecue, taught by experts. We're talking instructors like Gladwell, Leibovitz, Wintour, and Elfman (tip of the iceberg). If you have a lifelong learner in your family with a little time on their hands, this gift could be heaven on earth (and despite my lack of free time, I've requested it).
What sort of non-stuff-accumulating ideas could you come up with for the holidays? What could we all do to make that gift-buying or event-planning stress go down like a spoonful of sugar? Oh...wait. Wrong musical. :-/
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate. See you in December.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?