The holiday season is one of the few times we can celebrate love, thankfulness, and joy with those we love the most. But as we near closer to the holidays it can quickly turn into a season of stress and urgency. Much of my holiday stress comes from the cost of the holidays and finding the perfect gifts for my family. For those who are minimalist minded, living simply and intentionally during the holiday season can especially be a challenge.
Growing up, I’ve always loved giving gifts and embracing age-old holiday traditions. Like many, my community went all out in celebrating the season. As I embrace my own version of minimalism in adulthood, I’ve taken a slightly different and less traditional route to celebrating the holidays with my loved ones. Whether it be gifting experiences instead of things, or being mindful of the waste I produce, my holiday celebrations look staunchly different than that of many of my friends and family. Along with the constant bombardment of holiday movies, music, and advertisements, it’s easy to feel like everyone is having a better holiday than me. While this certainly isn’t true, it’s easy for the strongest of minimalists to feel alone in how they celebrate the holiday season. If you’re anything like me, growing up in a family and community that went all out may make you feel like you’re celebrating it wrong.
While surviving the holidays as a minimalist is certainly difficult, it’s manageable. Here are a few reminders to make it through the feeling of being alone and to make the most of your holiday season.
Remember your “Why”
There’s a reason you chose to live more simply and to do more with less. In the toughest moments, it’s hard to remember the reason why you chose to pursue minimalism. We forget that minimalism is a mindset shaped around our own values and goals. We rely on this mindset when making decisions to practice our values daily. While the stress of the holidays can certainly deter you from living simply, remembering why you decided to pursue minimalism may remind you of what’s important and your overall larger goals beyond the holiday season.
Forget the rules
Tradition shapes a lot about how we celebrate the holidays. If you grew up in a community that regularly pulled out all the stops (like I did), celebrating in a way that differs from those traditions may make you feel like you’re doing it wrong.
But the wonderful thing about the holidays is that there’s no wrong way to celebrate! Forget the rules and investigate. The holiday season is a wonderful time to reconnect with your minimalist values and to find new ways to make the season even more meaningful.
It’s not about the stuff
Think about the best gift you’ve ever received. Was it an object or an experience? Experiences live on in ways that possessions can’t. You will always have the memory of a weekend getaway, trip to the theater, or restaurant experience rather than the dust-collecting, rusting possession sitting in your basement from a Christmas past.
Like many, I unfortunately become victim to the case of “holiday procrastination,” waiting to find the perfect gift for my family members. I’ve come to realize I was focusing my efforts on the wrong thing: the gift instead of quality time with the people I love. Remembering that it’s not about the stuff has helped me reconnect with my loved ones and with my minimalist values.
Whether or not you celebrate the season with gifts or with the traditions you grew up with, the most important thing is figuring out what will make your holiday season full of love, joy, and simplicity instead of stress and irritability.