Creating a Minimalist Home: Day 19 – Christmas

Can you believe there’s only 10 days until Christmas?!

Are you feeling the holiday crunch? Stores are packed with last minute shoppers, people are frantically trying to get everything wrapped up and shipped out, and the credit card bill keeps adding up.

Honestly, I wouldn’t know…


This year we decided to have a talk with our family about Christmas. As we have all gotten older, and our lives have gotten busier, and we’ve moved out of town, we’re finding that we’re spending less time with our families. We talked about the stress of holiday shopping, the financial crunch, and the expectations put upon those opening your gifts. But if Christmas shopping and gift giving was stressing us out, why were we doing it?

Christmas is a time of year to get together with those that you love, celebrate the season in each other’s company, and really just spend quality time together.  There’s nothing in the world that you could buy my that I would love more than my friends and family, so what I really wanted for Christmas was time.(#alliwantforchristmasisyou, but a little less corny?).

We decided as a family to have a #GiftlessChirstmas, and to value experiences over things. We will save our money to spend more quality time together on a family vacation (with less mishaps than the Griswolds). Instead of braving the malls, we’re chatting about where we’d all like to go, looking for deals on flights, and looking forward to scratching off experiences from our bucket lists.


If you’d still live to give a gift this Christmas, or even consider for next Christmas, here are some Alternative Gift Giving Ideas:


Have an Abundance Swap:

Have the family tap into their minimalist side and go through the items they no longer need (clothes, decorative items, appliances, etc.). Have everyone get together with their unneeded items  to put on display for the rest of the family to peruse, (perhaps some that were boxed up and put into storage that you didn’t touch all year). You can swap items or simply give them to those who want them. Any items not claimed by the end of the party will go into a box to be donated to charity. It’s a win/win/win. You clean out your house, get items you need without the price tag, and give items to people who may otherwise not have the means to buy them.

Secret Santa:

Rather than buying for everyone, you draw names and only buy for one person. Elfster online makes this process easy, including name drawing and wish lists.  It’s important that you set a spending limit that is attainable to all those participating. You don’t want to make the other participants feel bad buy buying outside of the spending limit, so be sure to follow the rules (unlike Mr. Michael Scott). I’ve found that secret santa seems to work better when you participate with others that know you well enough to know what you like/need. You can also step this up with a game of “Yankee-Swap”.

DIY Gifts/ Consumables

Create a handmade gift for someone. An ornament for their tree, a blanket to cozy-up by the fire, or maybe a care package for someone headed off to college. I like to receive consumables (aka food), because I love to eat, and keep my house minimalist.

Last but not least, I came across this article last year about Santa’s gift giving intentions. It suggests that parents should consider that Santa give smaller gifts, and parents give the more expensive gifts. This way parents who may have less money to give gifts “from Santa”, it doesn’t feel as if Santa is discriminating against some children and favouring others.  Give it a look! I’m interested to hear what you think.


Think you could have a Minimalist Christmas?

What gifting alternatives have you tried?

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