Have Fun With Your Family by Going for a Minimalist Christmas This Year
Are you looking forward to enjoying a minimalist Christmas with your family? Look no further, as you are just in the right place. Read along to get some insights into celebrating Christmas on a budget.
A couple of years ago my sister recommended that I read a book that was currently on all the most fashionable reading lists:
Marie Kondo’sThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
I tend to lean more toward mysteries than self-help books, but my sister’s recommendations have never steered me wrong, so I gave it a try.
It wasn’t long before I was emptying shelves and closets into the middle of my floor to sort through the detritus of my life so far. I found it enormously satisfying.
What surprised me was how quickly my husband, whose sentimental streak runs much deeper than mine, jumped on board the decluttering train.
We went through multiple rounds of purging. We would get rid of everything we felt comfortable discarding, but a few months later, the itch would hit us again, and we would make another round.
It was addictive, this letting go.
I, an English teacher, boxed up books and took them to a nearby used book store. My husband, a basketball coach, significantly reduced his collection of memorabilia.
We let go of possessions that we had been moving from house to house as we changed jobs and grew our family. We had moving boxes that hadn’t been unpacked in a decade. We opened them and either found a place for the contents in our home or got rid of them.
Today, I think I can honestly say that there is nothing in our house that is not either essential or beloved.
But, this can pose a problem when it comes to the traditional celebration of Christmas along with your family.
I grew up in a home where Christmas was a major production. It was magical. It was exciting, It was the highlight of my year.
Now that I have kids of my own, I want Christmas to be all of those things for them, but our minimalist lifestyle conflicts with a closet full of Christmas decorations or a pile of presents.
It may seem like Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without all of the trimmings, but we’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and have come up with a couple of ways to make our minimalist Christmas pretty magical.
So, here are a few tips on how to have a simple Christmas and do efficient budgeting for Christmas.
Two tips for a magical minimalist Christmas
1. Be intentional about decorations
When I was a kid, the first week of December meant pulling out boxes and boxes of decorations and ornaments.
Hours were spent decorating the tree and stringing lights in the front window and hanging wreaths on doors. It looked like Santa’s workshop exploded in our living room.
As a minimalist, I still love looking at the decorations around town, but I don’t miss the mess of having them all over my house.
Now, instead of drowning in decorations, we choose only a handful of significant items.
Rather than draping every available surface with the accumulated paraphernalia of store-bought Santas, and the tiny fingerprint reindeer made by one of your kids in preschool, allow each family member to choose a small number of personally memorable items to be displayed in a place of honor.
The smaller number of decorations makes those chosen all the more precious because they are not lost in a jumble of red and green.
Encourage each person to talk about the pieces they chose to share the memories and emotions attached to them.
The intentionality of choosing each individual piece allows for each family member to contribute in a way that is expressive and meaningful.
Plus, imagine the ease of putting away the decorations compared with years past.
2. Fewer presents, more presence
The whole idea behind minimalism is reducing the distractions in your life by reducing unneeded material possessions, which makes it easier to be more present and involved in the important parts of life.
Therefore, it would be counterproductive after all of that careful evaluation and elimination to refill that space in your house and in your life with more stuff. My solution here is two-fold.
First, if gift-giving is an integral part of your family’s Christmas celebration that cannot be left out, limit gifts to a small number of useful items.
Perhaps, choose something as a family that can be used and enjoyed by all: a game, membership, concert tickets, sports equipment, etc. Secondly, shift the focus away from gift-giving and onto time spent together.
The new toy your kid wanted so badly will be forgotten much faster than the traditions you make together.
We have a tradition with my brother’s family and sister’s family where the adults make up a scavenger hunt for the kids. Every year we make up a different theme and everyone has to be in character and solve puzzles to find clues.
If you asked my children whether they would rather get presents or work with their cousins to solve the scavenger hunt, I know which one they would choose.
“ Nothing that comes in a box will ever be as valuable as the memories they are making.”
Being a minimalist family doesn’t have to mean missing out on things. In fact, it’s about getting more out of life by recognizing the difference between temporary value and life-long value.
It’s about having more of what is truly important and keeping your focus on the big picture. Enjoy your holidays and have a merry minimalist Christmas.
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