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Happy Links: From Holiday Gift Giving to Gratitude

Photography by Tammy Strobel

{Every week, I share a roundup of 10 happy links that I think are worth reading, listening to, or scrolling through. I hope you like them, too!}

When I was in my twenties, the Christmas season stressed me out because I spent too much money on stuff, and I placed unreasonable expectations on myself. Now, I stick to a holiday budget for food and gifts. Getting clear on how much I can spend during Christmas, and with whom I want to spend my time, has been incredibly freeing. As a result, I look forward to the holiday because I’m in touch with my needs, wants, and how I want to feel.

If you celebrate the upcoming holiday, I hope this week’s link-round up is helpful. It features gift ideas and books I love, as well as articles to help you get through the holiday season with less stress and more gratitude and love.

Enjoy the links!

1. I loved Courtney Carver’s recent post on holiday gift giving because I have a similar philosophy. For example, Logan and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts anymore. However, we still give presents to loved ones. We focus on gifting experiences and give friends and family gift cards to local restaurants, cafes, or to local shops. I’m also a fan of gifting books, consumables (like chocolates, wine, and coffee), donating money to my nieces and nephews education fund, donating cash to local charities, and writing gratitude letters.

2. Great tips from Leo: How to survive (and thrive) during the holidays when you feel alone.

3. I enjoyed reading this list of minimalist Christmas gifts! It gave me a few good ideas.

4. Last week, I bought the Kindle version of The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I finished the book in two days. Rhimes’s memoir was brave, honest, and funny. I loved her perspective on writing and success, and her words made me consider how I want to end 2015 and begin 2016.

5. And speaking of books, if you want to give a loved one a good book, check out the list of books I read and loved during 2015.

6. So good: I’m dreaming of a minimalist Christmas.

7. I loved this idea: A holiday gift exemption certificate.

8. Here’s another essay I wholeheartedly agree with: I’m Dreaming of a Minimalist Christmas + 15 Posts to Read Instead of Shopping this Week.

9. Useful planners and calendars: HOBONICHI TECHO planners | Mindful Budgeting Planner.

10. I miss my dad deeply during the holidays, and my gratitude practice helps me through the rough spots. PBS News Hour posted a helpful article about gratitude titled: The secret ingredient to getting through holiday stress? Gratitude.

The piece is geared toward caregivers, but the advice offered in the essay can be applied to anyone. As you close 2015 and begin 2016, give yourself the gift of a daily gratitude practice.

With gratitude,
Tammy

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