If you are trying to declutter your life and home, the holidays can be particularly challenging. It’s hard not to get caught up in the wants and desires sparked by 1) beautiful design 2) effective marketing 3) expectations of the season. Here are five actions you can take to resist the temptation to add more, more, more to your home and others’:
Invite an Honest Dialogue About Your Desire to Own Less
According to a CNBC report from January 2018, Americans rang up over $1000 of holiday debt per person last year. Many families across the US feel the pressure of creating a picture perfect Christmas morning for their families, which usually includes gifts overflowing from underneath the tree. If we are going to take our holidays and our homes out of the hands of consumerism, starting the conversation with those we love is key.
The conversation may not be easy: some won’t understand and some may even get their feelings hurt (especially those whose love language is gifts), but others may actually feel a sense of relief from the gift-giving pressure. Conversations with family and friends may be difficult, but it may be less awkward than explaining what happened to that lovely napkin ring set they sent you last year...
Opt for a Family Gift
If getting rid of gifts altogether seems a bit extreme, opt for a family gift rather than many small gifts for each person. A gift that brings the family together can shift the focus of the holidays away from the “stuff” and toward building memories together. Loved ones who simply can’t imagine not giving a gift for the holidays can contribute to the family gift, bridging the gap between wanting to give and not wanting to take in more stuff.
Last year we added Duchess to our family for Christmas (Talk about a gift that keeps on giving…and taking— it’s the retriever instinct).
3. Give Consumables Rather than Things
Put on some Christmas music, gather the family and spend an afternoon creating something together rather than battling the crowds at the mall: recreate a family recipe, scan Pinterest for a DIY salt scrub or cocoa kit—the possibilities are endless!
My husband and I like to make specialty cocktail mixes for our friends, like this vanilla bean infused bourbon and the Candy Cane Cocktail. These are fun to make (and sample!) and we know our friends won’t have to fuss over where to display our gift when we come to visit (because likely it will be long gone by then, and not by way of a donation bin!).
Get creative with the presentation of your homemade gifts with custom tags, labels and jars (or in this case, bottles).
4. Shop with a List and Stick to It
If you or those around you love the gifting part of Christmas, then make sure you take some time to put together a shopping list, just like you would do for groceries. A list will help you stay focused and resist overspending or grabbing an extra for yourself because it was, “such a good deal” (Guilty of this one!). Financial experts also recommend setting a holiday budget.
5. Practice Gratitude
When you find yourself staring longingly at that beautiful window display (or is that just something I do?) remind yourself that we are being sold an image of what the holidays are supposed to look like and that longing for what you don’t have will never bring long-term satisfaction. Remind yourself of all the many things (and people!) in your life you have to be thankful for, reset, and carry on.
For further reading and inspiration, check out these awesome resources:
“How to Raise a Minimalist,” by Lisa Armstrong
Minimalism for Families: Practical Minimalist Living Strategies to Simplify Your Home and Life, by Zoé Kim
“Is it Time for Us to Rethink How We Give Gifts?,” by Joshua Becker
If your home still gets invaded by stuff this year, don’t worry. I’ll check in post-holidays for more tips and tricks for simplifying your home.
Until next time, keep enjoying this one & wonderful life,