Whether you are new to the minimalist lifestyle or an old hand, the one time everyone likes to splash out and live lavishly is the holidays. What most don’t enjoy is the the credit card bills that show up the next month. However, the question becomes is it possible to be a minimalist over the holidays and still have fun and the answer is yes with some care and planning.
Making sweeping changes across the board without considering how those changes will affect the quality of the holidays you and your family enjoy will only end up making you and your family unhappy.
Instead, take some time before the holidays to make the decisions that will help you make changes that will suit your minimalist lifestyle while still making sure you have fun over the holidays.
1. Make a Budget
Budget, or the B word as some people like to call it, gets a bad name especially when it comes to the holidays. However, a budget is key for getting through your holiday shopping without breaking the bank. Call it a spending plan, if you like, but pick a number and stick with it. Talk to your partner to make sure you are in agreement about the amount you are willing to spend and hold each other accountable to that number.
2. Make a List:
A gift-giving list is necessary to make sure you don’t miss anyone and it goes hand in hand with your budget. Along with the name and possible gift you are giving, put a dollar amount next to it. This will help you stay on budget as well as allowing you to do a rough total before you hit the stores to make sure you will stay within your spending limit.
3. Regifting Is Not A Sin:
Regifting is one of those things that people seem to have very strong opinions about, with some seeing nothing wrong with it and others seeing it as a mortal sin. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I think it’s possible to keep the sentiment behind the gift without having the gift in my home gathering dust. I have a shelf in my closet for gifts that I receive that don’t suit me and pull them out come holiday time for possible regifting. The main thing with regifting is to not gift the gift back to the original giver.
4. Avoid The Tradition Trap:
Holidays are full of traditions and many seem to revolve around gift giving. If you find people on your list that you only give a gift to because they always have one for you, it’s time to reevaluate. Getting off this merry go round might seem impossible but it is indeed possible. If it’s someone that you are close to, a simple conversation to forego gifts this year should do it. It might be a bit awkward but imagine the relief you will feel to cross one (or a few names) off that list. If it’s someone you not as close to, a simple mention of how tight things are this year should do it.
5. Think About Going Homemade:
One type of gift that never ends up on my regifting shelf is homemade gifts. Whether it’s a tin of cookies or a hand knitted scarf, I love them all and use them in my daily life. People appreciate the time and effort it takes to create something more than something picked up in a store. Therefore, if you have a gift in the kitchen or with crafts, homemade gifts could be a good way to go.
6. Pick Your Parties Carefully:
It’s hard to conceive that parties could affect your holiday budget. After all, they are free but not really when you consider all the things that go into being a guest at a party. There is the outfit to buy, the salon visit to pay for and the gas to get there. All that doesn’t take into the account the time and energy to get ready and go.
Picking your parties carefully is a good way to make sure you stay on track with your holiday budget. Instead of going to everything you are invited to, take the time to consider if this is a gathering you will really enjoy attending. If not, even if you’ve always gone in the past, a simple negative RSVP can free up both time and money.
7. Plan Your Parties Carefully:
If you are in the habit of giving a holiday party, you know how expensive it can be. However, instead of canceling, try thinking outside the box. A potluck is a good way to reduce the cost of food. Another trend that floats in and out of fashion is a traveling dinner, where one house is responsible for a course in a meal. It’s a good way to interact with your neighbors as well as ease the cost of hosting a party alone.
8. Avoid The Media:
The holidays are big business for big business with some companies receiving the bulk of their sales at that time. This means a big advertising push that seems to start earlier and earlier every year. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype of whatever ‘it’ thing is this year. This is especially true if you have young kids in the house. Therefore, this is a good time of year to cut down on the TV watching. Read a book, take a drive to see the lights or spend the evening (TV off) baking or crafting with your kids. They’ll enjoy spending time with you and you’ll enjoy the break from the media blitz.
Bottom line, holidays can be fun without breaking the bank with a little time and effort. Both of which will be worth it come January when you don’t have to dread opening your bank statement.
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