The holidays are almost here and I have been thinking a lot about how busy and un-simple this time of year can seem. I think the holidays will always be just a bit busier than normal. There’s family to see, things to do, and often gifts to buy.
So how do we slow down? How do we buy less? How to we become un-busy during the busiest time of the year?
I have come up with a few ways to slow down both your days and all of the responsibilities that seem to come with this time of year- no matter what holiday you celebrate!
1) Needs vs. Wants
If, like me, you are trying to declutter both your space and your life it can be hard to know what to say when someone asks, “What do you want for Christmas?” The part of this question that I focus in on is the want part. I replace “want” with “need”. If you have wonderful, well meaning people in your life that love giving gifts- instead of telling them you don’t want anything allow them to buy something you need.
An example of this for me is what I asked for from my wonderful partner Andrew. I recently recycled my plastic, reusable water bottles because I’m trying to remove plastic items from my life. So when Andrew asked what I wanted I said, “A glass or aluminum water bottle please!”
What do you need? Take some time to brainstorm what you could really use rather than what you want. Have you been meaning to replace your winter coat? Your electric toothbrush? Your water bottle?
Instead of shutting down the sweet and generous gift givers in our life with a, “I’M A MINIMALIST NOW, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING!” Have a few items you have been needing, or meaning to buy, at the ready.
2) Change traditions
For some of us there are spaces in our life where we can simply stop feeding into the consumerism of the holidays and just give love instead. This year, one side of my family is not doing any gifts at all. My sister, my mom, and myself are all so excited about decluttering and minimalism that we decided (and promised) not to buy each other gifts.
If you have a space in your life where you can change the gift giving tradition- do it! Agree to not buy gifts for each other and spend time with one another instead. Maybe use that extra money to go to a meal together, or just save the money and give each other your time. Time is our most precious gift because once it’s gone we don’t get it back.
Who in your life would love some more of your time rather than another item in their home? I bet all of us can think of a few of those amazing people.
3) Gifts with a purpose
If there are people in your life that have no interest in minimalism or simple living, or if gift giving just brings you tons of joy, try to give gifts that serve a purpose.
Instead of buying your friend a trinket or new sweater, buy them a bottle of their favorite wine or tickets to a wine tasting at their local vineyard. Rather than giving your mom a ceramic plaque that says, “You’re the best mom ever!” take her to a fancy dinner or an afternoon tea for just you two.
For the music lover, instead of the newest pair of headphones, buy tickets to a band they love and go with them! Even if it’s a band you don’t personally enjoy but you know they love, putting their happiness before your own can make it even more special.
Give items with purpose or experiences rather than more “stuff”.
Instead of buying your nieces and nephews more toys, why not buy them movie tickets so you can take them to the cool new pixar movie that just came out! This keeps more unnecessary stuff out of their home, gives them quality time with you, and gives their parent or parents a nice two hour break.
For any parents, aunts, uncles, etc. reading, here’s a great rule of thumb for the amazing kiddos in your life. Give something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.
Also, if you think you’re letting the babies in your life down by not getting them the entire toy store, please take the time to watch this video. “Imagine! You want to give them the best you can, and the best is yourself.”
Try to find the slow and the simple among all the busy. I know it looks different for all of us and that it can be easier said than done, but give it a try. You may even find that other people in your life are stressed out and trying to slow down too.
Bonnie Rae xx