Have you ever wished you could simplify the holidays?
Ahh, the holidays — a time of joy, cheer, and giving.
So much giving, in fact, that it can result in lots of clutter. Let’s admit it, aside from the routine sweeping that accompanies the putting up of decorations, the holiday rush gives us barely enough time to clean up after ourselves!
If we’re to save ourselves the trouble of getting rid of all the wrappers, packaging, and assorted holiday knick-knacks that need to be thrown away later, we can just nip everything in the bud by observing these simple living tips for the holidays.
These tips are sure to keep the clutter away, making your holidays (and the cleanup days after) much less stressful! After all, a minimalist house leaves room for the enjoyment of finer things — such as the spirit of this special season.
1. Start with what you buy.
We mostly buy two things during the season.
First, there’s decor, and second there’s gifts. Both of these come with their own clutter trail, but the first thing we need to right-size is the buying itself.
Let’s start with the decor.
It’s natural to have only a few staple decoration pieces, and to want to buy more to spice things up every year. But consider first what twist you can give the decor of previous years to make it look like new!
This can be difficult because decorations, when bought, are often made to fit a certain vision we have for that year. Not all those visions are flexible, though. You might need extra time figuring out how to rework existing ones so they can be like new.
And if you don’t have them yet, the idea of having staple decoration pieces is good for those who want to keep their holidays minimal. A “staple” decoration piece is one you can use year on year, one whose looks you can vary with minor accessorizing to achieve a new look should the mood strike you.
This is helpful since it gives you an “anchor” or set idea on how to decorate, saving you much effort — and money too! Staple decors mean you need to buy less and less new decorations every year.
As for gifts…
Well, it’s much harder to be a minimalist with gifts than with other items.
That’s because you’re extending the minimalist idea to the person who will receive your gift, as well. Remember that at its very core, minimalism isn’t just about saving money — that’s just incidental. Minimalism is all about getting more for less; in other words, getting as much quality into as few things as possible.
With this in mind, go for useful gifts instead of flashy ones.
Something a person can wear, read, or otherwise use often isn’t bad taste if chosen carefully.
These are the gifts that also make your life easier since they’re proven and tested. That means less stress over whether or not your gift will even last the holidays with the recipient, or will be regifted outright.
2. Simplify the holidays by volunteering.
Another source of stress during the holidays is planning where to go and what to do.
While everyone’s flying off on vacations and filling up tourist destinations, give yourself the double benefit of a simple break and a warm feeling by signing up to volunteer in charity work instead!
Check out the benefits: no long lines, no complicated preparations, no worries about how things will be “when you get there,’ no big expenses.
As a massive plus, you’re really helping spread the holiday spirit by giving to others!
Again, minimalism is all about quality — and the time you spend in volunteer work surely counts. Check out your local kitchen, church, or shelter for details.
3. Stick to your traditions, or make new ones.
These tips to simplify the holidays are not all about trimming down. You can also add new and meaningful traditions to your holiday list.
If you think this is counterintuitive to the minimalist mindset (traditions fall on the “to-do” list, not on the “strike-off” list!), it really makes perfect sense. Most of the stress we encounter during the holidays has to do with just figuring out what to do next.
Decision fatigue is real, and it’s a beast.
This is true for everything – from decorating, to choosing gifts, to just figuring out something else to do.
But if we’re following an established tradition — such as cooking a particular family meal, or making a particular set of hand-made gifts — we typically already know what to do. Everything is easier and faster, resulting in more done with less stress and less time. Now that’s minimalist!
So instead of fussing about what to do this holiday, fill up your time continuing or making a tradition that holds special meaning for you and your loved ones. Then, make it a point to do it every year onwards!
4. To simplify the holidays, be ready to decline invitations.
One way to simplify the holidays that can make the most impact is simply saying “no”. Being coerced into a holiday activity one has not planned for is pretty stressfiul!
So instead, practice saying no.
Fewer unplanned activities give you more time to put your other planned activities in order. There’s also less chance of something going wrong and causing more stress in the future.
But of course, it’s the holidays — if you want to say “yes”, then by all means do so!
5. Remember it’s just a season.
The last tip to simplify the holidays is just a simple reminder.
The rush of consumerism takes us all by storm every holiday season. We think it’s nice to collect anything and everything holiday-related. Then, just a couple months later, all these things are just taking up space in storage.
Like most other things, the holidays will come and go — and that should tell us to make the most of its limited time with quality, not quantity, in true minimalist fashion!