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FAMILY 411: Minimalist Christmas
DAYTON, OHIO -- Still don't have that perfect gift for Christmas? A nationally known author and speaker says there are better ways to put meaning into the holidays. Dayton native Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have a national following. They just released their fourth book and will start on a 100 city speaking tour in a few weeks.
Millburn says, I spent most of my life trying to chase happiness by purchasing things.
He doesnt anymore. The two now call themselves The Minimalists. After his mother died, Millburn says, I just started getting rid of things that were getting in my way. I kind of didn't know what was important in my life.
Getting rid of stuff and living with only what you need is their mantra, and they've started a movement. Before Josh ended up on a national stage he volunteered at The House of Bread, which feeds people 365 days a year. He says, I was just looking for a way to contribute. Melodie Bennett works there, and she says it can be a very changing experience for people.
Julie Tom brings her daughters Lauren and Emma to volunteer there. I feel like we need to think beyond ourselves. 17-year-old Lauren says shes learning about being thankful, especially during this season to realize what I have and what other people don't have. 13-year-old Emma says it makes her feel grateful. People who come to the House of Bread are thankful just to be fed. Bennett says, We never open and our dining room is empty.
The gift of contribution is one way to put meaning into Christmas. Charities would like you to be flexible and come when they need you, not just fitting them into your busy schedule. It's even nice to call ahead to find out what types of donations they need.
And that good feeling you have DURING the holidays? They need you to keep that spirit, and keep volunteering AFTER Christmas.
Heres another way to put meaning into the holidays. Millburn says, I think we gift experiences as opposed to stuff. He advises staying away from door buster sales which trick you into spending more, consumption, just for the sake of it. The first Christmas when he took on that philosophy some friends were skeptical, but he told them, I'd love to give something that's really meaningful. You know, go and get a Christmas tree together. How amazing is that? Millburn says your presence is the best present, and that presence still has meaning even when the holidays are over.
You can find out more about Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nikodemus, along with the Minimalist movement at their website www.theminimalists.com
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