Haul out the holly! Yup, you heard it here first, it’s the holiday season. The holiday season should be one of love, thankfulness and joy, but it can quickly turn into a season of stress, urgency and irritability. Much of my holiday stress comes from the cost of the holidays and simply trying to do too much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we have to totally dismiss all gift giving and holiday traditions, but we need to keep our expectations in check and practice minimalism during this joyous season. Here how I practice minimalism during the holidays.
- Handmake gifts
Depending on your personality type, handmaking your gifts could be stressful, but to me it’s relaxing. I love knitting while I’m watching movies, so I end up completing several projects throughout the year without even trying. I also think of the person that I’m going to give the gift to as I make it, that’s love, folks.
One year, I even did a handmade holiday challenge where I challenged myself to handmake all of my gifts. (Here’s the results, if you’re curious.) Stumped about what to make? Here’s 20 low-cost gifts to make this holiday season. Speaking of low cost, handmaking gifts may also be less expensive than buying gifts which leads me to…
- Commit to only spending a set amount
By looking at what you can truly afford and setting a gift budget, you’ll ensure that the only holiday regret you have is how many cookies you consumed. But budgets don’t have to be a bore. One year, I challenged myself to do a $100 holiday challenge. I could not have done the challenge without coupons and the help of my crazy, couponing mom who made shopping, dare I say, fun.
- Give experiences, not things
One of my favorite gifts to give is an experience. It’s great for those people who already have everything or people who live in a small house, like I do. I’ve given the ones I love Groupons for golf lessons and pottery classes. Groupon also has a new feature called Groupon Coupons that gives promo codes and discounts for experiences. I found discounts for travel sites, like Orbitz and Expedia and a home-based experience like Gold Metal Wine Club. A weekend getaway and wine sent to my house each month sounds like the perfect gift. (Hear that, honey?!?)
- Shop online
Similarly shopping online can take some of the hassle out of the holidays. I love the ease of shopping online. There’s no fighting for parking at the mall and there’s no waiting in line or getting up at the (butt) crack of dawn for a deal. I simply point, click, and wham, bam, thank you post man, the gift is sent to my house.
- Shop in advance
I used to be a terrible holiday procrastinator. I think it’s because I wanted to get the perfect gift for everyone. But newsflash, it’s not about the perfect gift. It’s about being with the ones you love. Now, if I see something in October (or earlier!) that reminds me of someone close to me, I’ll buy it. This year about half of my holiday shopping is done without even trying. High fives!
- Manage your expectations
Perfect gift giving also brings me to expectations. By trying to make the holidays perfect we take the fun right out of it. No one’s holiday is going to be perfect. Your uncle is going to be drunk, your grandma might hate your gift no matter how much time and effort you put into it, and someone will always get in fight with someone else. (Isn’t that the plot to Christmas Vacation?) Yes, the holidays should be magical, but if you set your expectations of yourself, of others and of the holidays too high you’ll be disappointed.
- Simple recipes
Shopping isn’t the only stressful part of the holidays, there’s also the never-ending list of holiday functions to attend. I’ve learned that I can’t do it all and if I’m going to make it through the holidays I can’t bring a four-course homemade meal to every function. I love Pinterest for finding easy crock-pot dishes and sometimes I just stop by Whole Foods on my way to the party. Let’s be real.
- Learn to say “no.”
I love a good holiday party (hello champagne!), but I’m also an introvert and I recognize that I need a lot of time alone to relax and recharge too. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to that holiday event. You need time to binge watch Christmas movies and get a holiday massage too. Is a “holiday massage” a thing? It should be. Which brings me to…
- Practice self-care
For me, practicing self-care means getting away for a bit. In lieu of gifts, my husband and I usually say “too-da-loo” to our family at some point during the holidays and take a relaxing trip. The trip doesn’t have to be long or far away. It simply gives us time to be alone together (so refreshing!) and time to talk about goals and dreams for the upcoming year. You don’t have to take a trip to practice self-care though. Self-care might just mean getting in 10 minutes of meditation or simply writing down what you are thankful for. Don’t forget about yourself this holiday.
- And last, but certainly not least, remember, it’s not about the “stuff.”
You don’t have to get a gift for everyone. Period. If you are reading this, you probably have enough and your family and friends do too. Being a friend, or sister, or husband is enough. Instead consider lending a helping hand to someone this holiday. Help them wrap gifts, help them make a meal, help them clean their house for guests. Being a good friend/sister/husband is enough. It’s not about the stuff, it’s about the season.
How do you practice minimalism during the holidays? Talk to me in the comments.
This post was sponsored by Groupon Coupons, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. Sponsored posts help to pay for hosting and upkeep of this blog. Thank you for reading.