I want to learn to celebrate simply. I want to learn how to raise kids non-materialistically. I want to rejoice in day-to-day pleasures. I hear the words “celebrate lavishly” and I see dollar signs, children having tantrums and adults who are always on the hunt for the next “big thing.”
However, my frenetic cost-counting at the holidays is proof that this “simple living” mantra is equally fraught with danger. Just as we don’t want to become the spoiled children featured in stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, neither do we want to be the Grinch, Scrooge or the countless other stingy and unhappy characters of holiday lore.
Having reached this conclusion, I decided that the theme “celebrate lavishly” was designed for people like me. While simple living is an admirable goal, sometimes we also need the reminder that we live in an amazing world and this is a cause for unbridled joy. More importantly, I’m realizing that these ideas aren’t opposites; they’re complementary. Celebrations don’t have to come with a heavy price tag or over-the-top expectations. With that in mind, I created a list of ways to celebrate lavishly without breaking the bank.
Have a popcorn bar for dinner.
Make a huge batch of popcorn. Separate it into a few different containers, then flavor each section a different way. Try salt and vinegar, cheese, butter, truffle oil and of course caramel corn for dessert. (Popcorn is a whole grain—score a mama point! Serve with cheese and a carrot sticks to round out the meal if you must.)
Throw a dance party.
Spontaneous dance sessions are great, but why not capitalize on that enthusiasm? Send out invitations to your family, put colored bulbs in your lamps and make a playlist of your funniest, favorite dance songs. No one can get through A Tooty Ta without cracking up. Do the Hokey Pokey with your elbows, nose and ahem, bottom, for guaranteed laughs.
Set up a treasure hunt.
Keep it to 3-5 simple clues for young kids and reveal a simple surprise at the end. You don’t need a reason, but if you’re celebrating a birthday, this is a fantastic way to lead up to the gifts.
Hold a fancy tea party.
Invite a few kids or keep it to family, but be sure to wear your fanciest outfits, layers of jewelry and serve food on the best dishes. Eat by candlelight and talk in your stuffiest accent. Crumpet, dahling?
Have a karaoke party.
Everyone loves to belt out Christmas songs. Borrow a karaoke machine, load it with favorite Christmas music and enjoy the show. Or configure your own karaoke machine with one of the microphones your kids already own. Many karaoke CDs are DVD- enabled to play directly on your TV with no additional equipment.
Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with love notes.
The days following Christmas can lead to holiday blues, but you can reclaim the joy with a simple tradition. Starting on Christmas morning and going through January 6, the traditional twelve days of Christmas, write a love note for each family member, each day. In each note, tell your children or partner one thing that you love about them. This is a lovely way to celebrate the people in your life.
With a handful of inexpensive ideas, I’m ready to celebrate lavishly, and guilt-free, this winter. Join me?