What is a minimalist Christmas, anyways?
I mean, I get the basic concept: if you keep things small and simple for the holidays, you will save more money and have less stress, and possibly be happier.
But even as I’m writing this post, I’m wondering to myself, “When trying to be minimal, what do you go small on? Everything? Is it just going small on how many presents you buy or is it also no decorations, no parties, and no big feasts too?”
I’m sure every single one of us could answer these questions differently based on our ethnic backgrounds, current financial situation and even just family traditions and values. The following is simply my take on a minimalist Christmas, some of the things I love about this approach as well as things I would not recommend.
- Minimalize Material Presents
The greatest strength, in my opinion, of a minimalist Christmas is its rejection of materialism. Joshua Becker, the founder and blogger at becomingminimalist.com, says it best, when he argues for “quality over quantity, needs over wants, and experiences over products.” If we spend less time focusing on physical presents, we can have more time for quality relationships, and I think that’s always a good thing. This year, I will be trying to find more things that I and my loved ones can experience together as opposed to a material gifts. Trying using this worksheet, to chart out gifts and prices for loved ones.
- Minimalize Consumerism
Several years ago, a guy named Bill McKibben started a campaign called “Hundred Dollar Holidays.” He created it because he believed “the $100 figure was a useful anchor against the constant seductions of the advertisers.” I think it’s a brilliant idea. It’s not just presents that can kill our finances during Christmas, it’s also the decorations, the parties, the cookies and drinks, the new outfits and more. A true minimalist Christmas makes the bold statement that you are content with what you have and don’t need to buy anything to make Christmas special. It’s certainly something to think about as you start planning for that next holiday party. Looking for a Christmas Budget Worksheet? Try this.
- Don’t Minimalize Gathering Together
I do love experiences and one of my favorite things to do is eat with people. I don’t know if it’s possible as an Indian woman to be a minimalist when it comes to hosting and food (in general and especially during the holidays). It’s part of my love language, and it’s part of how I enjoy quality time with people. Whether its Christmas, Thanksgiving or the 4th of July, our family invite lots of people over and we eat a lot of food. Now, I know that buying and cooking a lot of food can require a lot of money and time. That might not be in everyone’s budget, but you can certainly still find time to have people over, drink some hot cocoa (or just water, for that matter) and spend quality time together.
- Don’t Minimalize Love
Also, don’t be a minimalist with your love. I know there’s a lot of sites out there that tell you to find time to retreat and get plenty of “me time” during the Christmas holidays. I’m not saying that you can’t have a space to relax. In fact, I’m an introvert by nature and I need that rest or else I can feel very overwhelmed by big holiday activities. That being said, I also make sure that I don’t hide from relationships either. I intentionally pursue people, invite them over and, when they come, I try my best to be all there and engaged. If we’re not showing abundant love to the special people in our life during this holiday, I think we’ve seriously missed the mark.
Find the Balance:
I don’t know where you’re finding yourself this holiday season. Depending on how you’re feeling emotionally and physically, this list may be encouraging or discouraging to you. I get that. You might just want to take a few ideas and make up your own version of a minimalist Christmas. That’s just fine too.
The important thing is to find that balance between caring for ourselves and caring for others, keeping it simple while also going deep, enjoying the festivities while also not going broke. You get the idea.
Have other suggestions? I’d love to hear them!