I love the holidays, they are my most favorite time of year. Some of my best childhood memories are from the holidays. Making cookies with my mom and the smell as they bake in the oven. All of the family going to cut down our tree together. Listening to Christmas carols while we hang our ornaments on the tree. And of course Christmas shopping and wrapping all those gifts.
However, the holidays can also be stressful. There’s pressure to find the “perfect” gift for all your loved ones, keep up with family obligations and attend all those parties that sometimes it begins to feel more like a hassle than enjoyable.
This year I’m approaching the holidays with a new attitude. We’re having a minimalist Christmas. You may have heard of the term “minimalism” – it means focusing on things that you value and getting rid of all the other “stuff”. And for me, this has become even more important as a mother and we start our own traditions with our son. When I think of the holidays, there’s a lot of stuff – we stuff our faces and waistlines, we drop lots of dollars on stuff (decor, gifts, cards,) that sometimes we lose the true meaning.
Now I’m not saying we’re going to go all “Christmas with the Kranks” and be Scrooge-like. We’re just going to be more mindful and intentional.
Here are some simple ways you can practice minimalism and enjoy the most this season has to offer:
1.) Mindful gift giving – The thought of inundating every room of my house with even more toys gives me so much anxiety, I’d rather step on a lego. This year we’re going by the rule of 4 – something you want, something you need, something you can wear and something you can read. Not only does this help avoid excess clutter but it also helps to be more mindful of the person we are buying for. (Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some gift guides for your friends and family following this “Rule of 4” guideline)
2.) Focus on experiences – One of my favorite Christmas memories was when my parents, sisters and I went on a cruise for the holidays. All of our friends thought we were crazy foregoing gifts and going on vacation during Christmas, but to be honest, we had the best time with each other as a family and we still talk about it to this day. For us, the experience will last a lifetime and that is a true gift. Find ways that you can have meaningful encounters with each other whether it be a Friendsgiving, getting the kids dressed in their jammies and driving around to look at Christmas lights or skipping gifts with your sisters and spending the day at the spa.
3.) If it stresses you out, nix it – Dread sending out all those holiday cards? Procrastinating on baking cookies because you don’t feel like doing a cookie swap this year? Don’t feel like going to that annual Christmas Eve party? Skip it. No one says you have to do those things. Talk to your partner and your kids about the traditions you enjoy and you want to keep and those new things you want to do this year. Make a holiday bucket list.
4.) Give back – use the holidays as an opportunity to teach your kids the true meaning of the holidays – being grateful for all you have and giving back. Volunteer at a local food pantry, help sponsor a family in need. These are experiences that will leave a lasting impression and show that this season is more than receiving gifts.
I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas. What are some ways your family is intentional this time of year?
Also stay tuned for my minimalist gift guides over the next few weeks!