My usual Holiday Shopping routine went something like this:
- Work 70 hours a week
- Wait till two days before Christmas
- Panic shop, over spend, and not necessarily get a gift for people that they actually wanted.
Not everyone in your circle of friends or family may be on board with your Minimal tendencies- and that’s ok, we don’t want to force our beliefs on people, especially around the Holiday season. I have noticed, though, in the last few years that most gift requests have gotten more manageable. Let’s be real- not everyone will be happy if you don’t give them something heartfelt, just because you are not accepting gifts.
In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, and my relatively new–found Minimalistic lifestyle, I have compiled several tips I use to get you sanely, and on budget, thru the gift giving season.
Step 1: Plan Ahead. Ideally, you would have been saving money thru the entire year in an account specifically for gift-giving. If not, no need to panic, you can still get a gift people will appreciate. In planning ahead, draw up a full list of everyone you can think of that needs to have a token of appreciation and love for the year. This can be everyone from family to your favorite barista at the coffee spot. Once you have this full list, you can then go thru and really narrow down priorities (and assign dollar amounts).
Step 2: Cull the List and add a column for hobbies or favorite activities. Little Johnny likes trains- Add his name to the list, and mention trains in the hobby column. Springboard from there. I also will add a column to my list for max dollar amount I would like to spend, just to stay on track for debt management and prevention.
Step 3: Never Underestimate the power of Hand-Made and Hand Crafted. If the item is hand made by you, even better- it will be easier on your budget as well as showing someone that you care enough to make something just for them. I am not a crafter, but I love shopping on Etsy for one of a kind items that also support artisans in their craft. For instance, one of my favorite rings is a hand forged silver piece made by jewelers living on the coast of Bali. The story behind it’s creation adds to the beauty of the piece.
Step 4: Experiences vs. Physical items. This is a concept talked about everywhere these days. We tend to remember experiences more than getting an item. Case in point, all the electronics I purchased over the years that when to waste in less than 6 months when the item was already outdated. Again, you can support local businesses by choosing restaurants that are family or chef owned- you may find some gems in nearby towns that you and the gift receiver would love to try. Or if you are handy in the kitchen, invite friends over for a post-holiday meal to help them recover from the crazy season.
Step 5: Relax. Even if it’s for 10 minutes a day, try to separate yourself from the swirling chaos that retailers and businesses have made this season into. As a Christian, I try to remember to take time to reflect on the reason for my holiday season- and remember to calmly think of the gift we were given thousands of years ago. It has nothing to do with wrapping paper, shiny bows, or expensive lighting on the house. But it does remind me to take time for my friends, family, and myself to count my blessings. Enjoy the season, taking in all the simple joys it will bring.
What steps do you take to enjoy this season? I am always looking for new Minimalist ideas on how to slow down, simplify, and step back from commercialization. Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂