Honestly, if you’re just starting to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, and it’s running up to the Christmas season, I feel for you.
Even for a minimalist pro, it can be an overwhelming time of year. The holiday season has to be the most excessive and over-the-top thing we encounter.
- 1. Limit Exposure to Holiday Advertising
- 2. Say “No” to the Holiday Excess
- 3. Don’t Neglect Your Mindfulness Practice
- 4. Make Christmas Decorating Meaningful
- 5. Decorate with Aromatherapy
- 6. Send Electronic Christmas Cards
- 7. Enjoy Low-Fat Holiday Treats
- 8. Make the Gift-Giving Fit a Budget
- 9. Organize Your Holiday Visiting
And, with so much access to media and advertising, it can become quite an overload on the system in every possible way.
However, all of that said, it’s not at all impossible to enjoy a minimalist Christmas and place less stress on the environment.
Note: A minimalist Christmas or holiday season is going to mean different things to different people. Don’t feel it has to be a certain way to count as minimalist. Make it work for you in your circumstances.
To get you started, here are 9 tips to help you keep your holiday season as minimal and stress-free as possible, plus more eco-friendly at the same time:
1. Limit Exposure to Holiday Advertising
The very first thing to do to reduce your stress and feelings of overload is to limit your exposure to holiday advertising.
It can be tricky if you spend a lot of time online, but it can be done. And, if you’re spending that much time online, maybe you need to minimize that, too.
Give yourself consistent breaks from any place that advertising is plentiful. Turn off the television and radio, take breaks from your phone or tablet, and don’t make unnecessary trips to the mall.
2. Say “No” to the Holiday Excess
At the beginning of the Christmas season, and as soon as those first jingles hit the airwaves, put your foot down. Firmly.
Decide right from the start that you’ll do Christmas your way and in line with your values. If your neighbor piles expensive gifts under the tree, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
Let go of the mindset telling you that you must do what others do or what media drills into you. Keep your focus on what makes you feel right with you.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Mindfulness Practice
Even though the Christmas season is generally hectic, it’s essential to keep your mindfulness practice in place. You’ll need it now more than ever to stay grounded and make intentional choices.
And, if you don’t have a mindfulness practice in place, now’s a good time to get started with cultivating higher consciousness. Live in the present moment to give your Christmas true meaning.
4. Make Christmas Decorating Meaningful
One way to keep the excess at bay is to do your decorating with intention and make it meaningful.
Instead of feeling you have to make every corner of your home scream Christmas, choose only items that have special meaning for you and display those.
Holiday decorating is one of those areas where minimal will take on different meanings for different people.
For some, it will mean choosing decorations with a minimalistic style. For others it might mean paring down what they traditionally do. And still, others may choose not to decorate at all.
The main thing is for you to decide what suits your values and circumstances. You may want to keep the way you always decorate, but go minimal with gifts or parties.
5. Decorate with Aromatherapy
Another trick that works really well to support minimal holiday decorating is using aromatherapy. (Assuming no one in the home has sensitivities.)
Nothing says Christmas like the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg or the scent of pine needles in the air. There are plenty of essential oils and scented candles on the market designed to create the smells of the season.
Even with just a tree in the corner and a wreath on the door, the right scent can conjure up warm feelings of the holidays.
6. Send Electronic Christmas Cards
The eco-friendly aspect of going minimal is a big draw for many people these days. We live in a time when every little bit to help the environment is needed.
And so, with nearly everyone online these days, it’s easy to swap out the paper greeting cards for electronic missives.
It’s easy to personalize a Christmas card online and send it right away. No rushing to meet deadlines at the post office.
Hallmark has a large selection of eCards to choose from, for example.
7. Enjoy Low-Fat Holiday Treats
While food is one of the things many people enjoy about Christmas, it’s also an area where many wind up regretting the excess.
A few treats is not a bad thing, but massive overindulgence can be unhealthy and excessive.
One way to cut down on going overboard with food is to include some low-fat treats in the mix. There are tons of low-fat recipes online to get you started.
Keeping some of the meals and treats low-fat will minimize the effect of the holiday fare on your health, and it may even save some money, too.
8. Make the Gift-Giving Fit a Budget
This is a common tip for keeping the reins tight during the holidays, but it’s popular because it works if you can stick to it.
Before the shopping season even gets underway, sit down and do up a budget for gifts, decor, food, and entertaining. Set reasonable limits to what you can and are willing to spend.
Revisit your budget sheet every week leading up to the big day and make sure you’re sticking to the script.
This is a good thing to do with a “budget buddy.” Get a friend to start this activity with you and keep each other accountable with reminders to stick to the plan.
9. Organize Your Holiday Visiting
One of the things that exhausts many people over the holiday season is the amount of expected visiting and entertaining. It’s especially true for people who still have to work at this time.
Again, planning and saying no are the key factors here. Give some thought to what you can reasonably expect to accomplish that isn’t going to wear you down. Politely, but firmly, say “no” to the rest.
Saying no to offers that are too much is not mean. It’s being kind to yourself, keeping your own health and sanity uppermost. It’s just self-care at its finest.
Use these 9 tips to create a minimalist Christmas that aligns with your values, needs, and priorities. Make the holidays merry on your terms and try to be more eco-friendly for the health of the environment.