Christmas is the season of excess and when I first discovered minimalism I thought that it would be a nightmare! But in many ways it has made the festive season easier.
Here are a few of my ponderings on being a minimalist at Christmas!
The challenges with both giving and receiving gifts, but being a minimalist makes decisions easier!
I now never panic buy a gift just because I feel I “should” give a gift. If there isn’t a specific thing I want to buy someone then I go for vouchers or consumables rather than buying them something they may not need or want. I feel like there has been a shift in the last few years – with people buying fewer gifts, but focusing on quality rather than quantity and supporting independent shops and designers. That makes me very happy!
The other thing to consider of course is handmade gifts. Something handmade is the ultimate thoughtful gift! But the run up to Christmas can get a bit hectic and I’m really good at being hugely unrealistic about what I can achieve… I know I’m not the only one who has gifted an unfinished Christmas present! So this year I decided not to make gifts, but to give myself the gift of time… Instead panic knitting on Christmas eve this year – I’ll be doing some relaxed selfish knitting.
I very rarely receive a gift that I don’t like or won’t use – but when I do, I find it easier to let it go. I used to hold onto things because I felt guilty that someone had spent time and money choosing and buying the gift, but now I re-gift or donate as soon as possible.
Sometimes people miss the mark and buy something you don’t like or won’t use, but the old saying “it’s the thought that counts” really is true. Re-gifting something doesn’t change the fact that the giver thought of you or that it was given and received with love. The person who gave you the gift wouldn’t want it to clutter up your house or give you feelings of guilt! So just let it go… let someone else enjoy it.
Christmas decorations aren’t very minimal! We collect them over the years and store them away for the majority of the year. However, they are definitely “just for when” items rather than dreaded “just in case” items so I think that makes them okay?
I condensed my Christmas decorations right down last year, but a few new ones have crept in – including a beautiful beaded bobbin made by my friend Steph as a wedding gift. It has our initials and wedding date beaded around the sides and I absolutely love it!
Christmas is a time where we can be unashamedly sentimental and nostalgic. I think this is reflected in a lot of peoples decorations. So I’m just going to try my best to keep my collection to it’s two small boxes!
This is where I start to struggle! I’ve barely bought any new clothes for the last two years and most of the time I’m happy with that. I have plans for handmade additions to my capsule wardrobe and having less clothes makes life so much easier! But every December all I want to do is buy cosy jumpers and sparkly dresses.
Even if I’m not actively going shopping – it’s impossible to avoid the adverts and I really do love sequined dresses!
This year I’m working very hard to resist temptation, but next year I want to make either a cosy festive jumper or a new sparkly dress, top or skirt. Maybe I can pick up some sequined fabric in the January sales…
As I said in last weeks Festive Jumpers blog – I want to have something I can wear every year and for more than just Christmas day.
Food & Drink
The Excess doesn’t end with clothes and “stuff”. In our house there is a huge excess of food & drink and it can be difficult to avoid waste. I get serious food fomo and always eat far too much at Christmas!
We generally don’t keep much sweet stuff in the house because we both have a sweet tooth and just don’t know when to stop. If there is chocolate and cake around then I can’t resist and when I mix that with a few glasses of bubbly… I always end up going to bed feeling sick on Christmas day.
This might not sound like a minimalist issue but I definitely think this is something I should approach with a minimalist outlook! I think limiting myself to one desert per meal would be reasonable? It’s very difficult to avoid excess food at Christmas, but if I can avoid eating so much I feel ill then I’ll be happy!