How to Embrace Minimalism This Holiday Season
What do you think of when you envision the holidays? For many of us, overflowing presents, an abundance of flickering and twinkling lights, nonstop holiday music, and a plethora of delicious food.
After the holidays, our bodies may feel overstuffed while our wallets feel thinner than ever. But what if there’s another way to celebrate? One that leaves us feeling light, refreshed, connected, and good about our global footprint?
We’re here to tell you that minimalism is not only possible during the holidays, but it may also very well be preferable on a spiritual, soulful level. After all, we want to celebrate life and love, not necessarily go broke, create unnecessary waste, and expand our waistlines.
If you’ve already got boxes of decorations in your garage or basement, by all means, hang those string lights and collectible ornaments! If you’ve already got your presents picked out and wrapped, don’t feel like you have to go and return them. But if you don’t already have these items, we’re going to show you how to make the most of this holiday season while celebrating a minimalist lifestyle!
Keep reading if you want to find out how to celebrate the holidays in a minimalistic yet warm and loving style.
How to Embrace Minimalism This Holiday Season
1. Invest in Meaningful Gifts
One of the most ubiquitous – and even frustrating – aspects of the holidays is the gift-giving. While you may love to shower your friends and family with gifts, it can be hard to determine what someone wants or needs, what they’ll actually use, and what will end up in the attic collecting sentimental dust.
After all, the holidays should be about spending time with friends and family (safely, of course), and not about going broke trying to buy someone’s love or affection. Here’s a helpful hint: If they love you, they’ll love any gift you create or give.
That’s why this is a good year to try preparing more meaningful gifts for your loved ones, perhaps even those that are homemade. You might even forego the gift-giving this year and try to focus more on connection than material goods.
But, if you’re set on the idea of presents for the holidays, try getting creative!
You can make something like these cute apple pie drinks that come with a cinnamon stick in a mason jar. Wrap a small piece of red or green ribbon around the top – which you can get from a dollar store –, and you’ve got yourself a beautiful, handmade gift that anyone (over the legal drinking age, of course) will enjoy!
Check out these 55 inexpensive Christmas gift ideas for even more inspiration.
Try Secret Santa!
Another great way to go about the gift-giving aspect of the holiday season is to practice the fun and exciting game of Secret Santa. This is a gift exchange wherein everyone involved is assigned to buy a gift for someone else – mysteriously, of course. Typically, each member of the group’s name is drawn on a piece of paper, folded, and placed into a hat or bowl.
Then, every individual draws a name from the hat – the person whose name you’ve drawn is the person for whom you’ll be buying a gift. There is also generally a price limit for these gifts. This way, everyone receives a gift, but no one has to go broke in the process!
2. Skip Gifts & Head to Your Local Donation Center
If you’re really focused on living a more minimal, generous lifestyle, this would be the perfect year to go through your belongings and donate anything that you’re no longer using or that may be taking up space.
A good rule of thumb for whether to keep a certain object or not is to ask yourself if you’ve used it within the last six months. If not, it may be time to let that object (which may have ended up in the trash) become someone else’s treasure.
Giving back to your community will not only lift your spirits and raise your vibrations, but it will also help you clean and declutter your house from old, unused objects and stale energy – making room for new experiences and positivity!
Read this article next for more inspiration: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Clothing for a Year
3. Get Crafty With Decorations
Just because you want to live minimally doesn’t mean you hate to decorate, but let’s try to think of ways to get creative and thrifty with our decoration choices! After all, homemade ornaments are often the best.
If you have children in your family, this would be an excellent time to create your own ornaments and décor. Take a trip to the dollar store and grab a few craft supplies, like wooden sticks, glue, glitter, and anything that catches your eye.
Take your supplies home and try making a night of it. The whole family can get involved, creating one-of-a-kind holiday decorations that you can treasure for years to come. In fact, you can repeat this process each year and start building a collection of hand-crafted, sentimental ornaments that cost less and mean way more than store-bought.
4. Take a Sparkling Drive at Night
One of my favorite things to do was look at the Christmas decorations outside of people’s homes as a kid. My parents even made a game out of it – whoever saw and counted the most houses with lights and decorations would get a dollar at the end of the drive. (Spoiler alert: It was always myself, an only child, who got the dollar.)
Driving through town and admiring the twinkling lights has now become one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. And this is an inexpensive, minimalistic tradition that you can easily create with your family – or even with your own inner child!
Wrap yourself in your warmest, fuzziest coat, pour some hot cocoa in a thermos, and take a drive around the neighborhood, delighting in the lights, the sounds, and the red-nosed reindeer.
5. Volunteer Your Time
It’s always nice to receive gifts from the universe, but giving yourself can be even more fulfilling and rewarding. And with the holidays being such a chaotic time in general, this is the perfect time of the year to volunteer your time and services to your community.
Nursing homes and senior centers, homeless shelters, food kitchens, hospitals – these are all organizations that are busier than ever during this time, and they’re often short-staffed. Even volunteering an hour or two of your time a week will lift your spirits and help you feel more connected to the Universe.
What better gift can you receive than the look of appreciation from someone who truly needed your help?
6. Look for Opportunities to be Kind
Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who can’t visit their family this year who could use a freshly baked loaf of bread. Or perhaps you can make a homemade card for a friend that you know is having a rough time this holiday season.
Spreading kindness is something that infuses this global community with positivity. Think of it in terms of the butterfly effect: When you perform an act of kindness for someone else, both of you feel more uplifted. In turn, that person may decide to perform their own act of kindness that day, lifting someone else’s vibrations. And so on, and so forth.
Kindness is a currency that you will never run out of, so give as much of it as you can, as often as you can!
Here are 10 random acts of kindness you can do today and throughout the holiday season!
7. Assert Your Boundaries
You might have to say “no” more than you would prefer this season, especially if you’re trying to be both minimalistic in your approach to the holidays, as well as safe in the face of a global pandemic.
It’s important that you stick to your guns and stand up for your boundaries this year.
Don’t let yourself feel pressured or guilted into activities that you are not comfortable with. Politely decline any invitation that does not align with your values this Christmas. You may even suggest that someone join you in your creative, alternative celebrations. But whatever you do, don’t give in to the holiday peer pressure.
8. Celebrate One Another
The true meaning of the holidays – regardless of what holiday it might be – is the celebration of friends, family, and loved ones. And there are myriad ways to celebrate our loved ones that don’t involve lavish gifts, elaborate decorations, or a soup kitchen’s worth of food on the table. It’s perfectly fine, perhaps even preferred, to scale it back slightly and try focusing more on our intimate connections than a superficial display.
Write letters, make a hand-painted card, or simply pick up the phone more than usual this holiday season. Something as small as checking in on a loved one can brighten their day, week, or even their whole month.
A Minimal Holiday Season
There’s no reason you should have to play into the social norms of the holiday season. We are bombarded with advertisements and commercials that convince us that spending gobs of money and buying millions of presents is the only way to have fun for the holidays. So much so that we often forget that the holidays are all about celebrating the people and the connections in our lives.
Focus on gratitude and connection this year. Concentrate on celebrating one another in whatever manner you choose. Not only will you strengthen your bond with friends and family, but you’ll feel better about your commitment to saving money and creating less waste.
How will you celebrate this year?
Related article: 10 High-Vibe Affirmations to Help You Enjoy the Holidays