A Minimalist Christmas

Hello, friends. As we approach the various gift-oriented holidays this season (Christmas for me and my family), there may be a lot of questions swirling in your mind about what this means for your pocketbooks and the clutter levels in your home. Indeed, navigating the holiday season can be hectic at the best of times, never mind having to stop and think about the ethics surrounding consumption. I’ve been neck-deep in the sustainable living community and lifestyle for a few years now and even I find this season pretty daunting. By the way, I should note that I’m not a minimalist, I just love the philosophy behind minimalism and embracing some of the ideas has seriously helped me curb my compulsive consumption habits.

The Minimalists have a fantastic essay/blog on the issue of consumption around the holidays. But basically, for me, the easiest way to put a dent in my consumption and move towards a more minimalist Christmas comes down to a couple of really simple things. If I’m asking for gifts, I ask for

  • things that support my long-standing hobbies. Paints, camera gear, gardening stuff. This provides long-term enjoyment, vs. asking for something that I just happen to be interested in at the time.
  • things that can be used up and won’t create clutter long-term. Things like coffee, chocolate, candy, candles, makeup.
  • experiences like movie tickets, game tickets, restaurant gift cards.
  • things I actually need. One of my favourite cardigans bit the dust recently, so this Christmas I asked for a new chunky cardigan to replace it. I will more or less need one eventually, so I may as well get it for Christmas.

This can also be a great jumping-off point if you’re looking for a gift to give, too. Think about what the person in question could use up in a meaningful way. Do they love diffusing essential oils? Are they obsessed with going to the movies? Have they been trying to take up painting? Is there something they will actually need? These are the easiest places to start if you’re trying to have a sustainable or minimalist Christmas.

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