I love Christmas. I love the whole season… decorating and Christmas music and beautiful lights downtown. Hot chocolate and snuggles with loved ones. Celebrating the birth of Christ and sharing in joy with those we hold most dear. Singing Christmas carols. Snow here in Colorado and my home in Indiana too (white Christmases are what I grew up with). And gift giving, I honestly love gift giving! But something simple like giving gifts at Christmas has turned into this enormous, crazy, materialism hype monster. And that can make practicing minimalism (especially if you’re a beginner) really difficult. Instead of getting overwhelmed or even giving up on minimalism, all we really need to do is be willing to think intentionally and know we might go against the grain a little bit (and that can be a good thing!). Here are a few ways you can practice minimalism during the holidays.
1. Mindful gift giving
Gift giving is a big part of Christmas, and I’m all about gifts! It’s a tangible way to show others how much we love them, and I think giving is a wonderful way to grow as a person. However, we can end up giving waaaay too many gifts or simply give gifts that aren’t useful. Of course, you have to know your people to determine what’s not useful, but generally speaking, if they’re getting another of something they already have, or they may or may not use it, or it’s *gasp* something they may not even like, they don’t need it! This also forces us to be more mindfully aware of our gift recipients- what they like, what they need, and what will be useful for them.
2. “No-clutter” gifts
No-clutter gifts are, simply enough, gifts that won’t add more clutter to your home. I typically think of anything consumable, like food, coffee, wine, or chocolate; gift cards, and experience gifts (and yes you are all free to purchase cruise tickets and send them to me hehe). These kinds of gifts are pretty much always useful, fun to enjoy, and, obviously, leave behind no clutter. Hinting at your non-minimalistic family members to give you no-clutter gifts helps you not take boatloads of stuff home and gives them gift ideas. Win win!
3. Evaluating traditions
Do you have to put up every single decoration you own every year just…because? Maybe they were once special, but if you are pursuing minimalism, it might be time to reevaluate those things. It’s also good to evaluate how you or your family spends your time during the holidays. Some traditions might be really special and enjoyable, but others might not be that great and yet stay on the schedule year after year because we simply don’t think to reevaluate. Don’t feel forced to celebrate in a specific way, especially if it’s a self-imposed expectation. Talk about traditions with your family or circle of people you’ll spend the holidays with, and celebrate with traditions that truly add meaning to Christmas.
4. Practice gratitude
Thanksgiving and Christmas offer the delightful opportunity to be grateful and share special memories with people you love. But we have to make the choice to be grateful and to love people around us. Practice living intentionally during this season! It’s a time when people become more naturally generous and loving. It’s also a time when people are more receptive to thinking about the deeper things in life, such as spiritual things and finding purpose and meaning in life. Don’t miss out on those conversations and moments.