My Own Mincemeat Pie Filling
Note on suet: I have found that it works very well to simply take the juices from when you cooked the meat, and put it into a jar 'til it solidifies; use only the white fat on the top and not the grease below. Also just using butter works very well. Surely, though, suet is the best -- I think you can get it for free at grocery stores.
If you decide to use white sugar instead, put in a spoonful of molasses or sorghum.
Surely if you don't want to use so much brandy, you may use half brandy and half cider, or some other fruit juice (or even water, really). You could also use only juice, of course, but it's especially nice with brandy or rum.