Christmas is approaching. I tried to ignore it, but when I set foot outside for a run yesterday and realized it was only a few degrees above freezing, I really couldn’t put off the fact that Christmas is on it’s way, slowly and steadily.
As much as I love Christmas, I don’t love the extravagant expenses that come along with it.
It’s really easy to get swept up in the consumerism of Christmas. Whether your thing is buying amazing decorations, or hunting for the perfect gift for every single person you know, there’s literally something for everyone when it comes to Christmas and consumerism.
Just the other day I was looking around online for some Christmas decorations and I found bacon flavored Candy Kanes.
I can’t deny it though, my initial reaction was not one of disdain and mild disgust. It was “Cool! Those would be totally perfect for (Insert Name of Relative Here)!”
That’s the problem with Christmas. As much as I try to be smart and have a budget, there’s just too much good stuff out there to pass up. It seems like everywhere I go or browse on line, I see something that either I a) want for a decoration for my house or b) think would be absolutely perfect as a gift for someone I know.
This urge to go all Christmasy is conflicting with my minimalist tendencies. Normally, less is more for me. Besides upgrading my wardrobe and my home furnishings (both of which are still stuck in the university era) I don’t tend to shop much.
So what’s a frugal minimalist to do? Well, I don’t want to deny myself the joys of Christmas, since I do love this holiday. That said, I’m going to try and engage in activities that have less to do with the consumerist side of things, and more to do with the festive, family and charity oriented side.
Minimalist Ways to Celebrate Christmas
Bake gingerbread cookies
My sisters and I did this last year. The gingerbread men turned out, the icing, however, made them appear to have been grisely murdered rather than festively decorated. I think scheduling attempt number two this year would be a fun way to get together.
Trim the Tree
This year will be the first year that I get to have a Christmas tree of my very own. Last year I lived in a creative living situation, and before that, I was at University and would come home for the Holidays. I’m really, really excited to have my own tree.
As much as I’d love to go out and buy everything that caught my eye, I can’t. I’m still on a strict debt repayment schedule and money is tighter than ever now that my fiancé’s business is slowing down for the year. That said, I’ve already started saving for Christmas, so I should be well funded to buy a few decorations and presents for the people close to me.
Hand Make Decorations
My fiancé’s step mother is amazing at making Christmas wreaths, and I’m thinking there must be lots of ways to DIY Christmas decorations. Not only will it be a fun activity, it’ll save me money. That’s a win-win in my book.
Donate to Charity
I plan on gathering up a bunch of clothing to donate to local charities this year. I haven’t cleaned out my closet in a long time, so there’s no time like the present.
Remembering What Christmas is All About
I’m not going to go all “peace on earth, good will towards men” on you. In fact, I don’t participate in the religious aspect of this holiday, so there’s a whole other dimension of Christmas that doesn’t apply to me. That said, I think that Christmas should be about spending time with family and friends, and appreciating that beyond the freezing temperatures, the expense, and the stress that comes with attending four family events in 24 hours (I have a big family) I’m lucky to have these people to gather close and celebrate with.
In my ideal life, I’d be celebrating with these people in my brand new house with all brand new Christmas decorations and enough alcohol to get a horse drunk. This is my alternate life though, and I’ll take Christmas in my little four hundred square foot house, with my DIYed Christmas decorations, a few presents under the tree, and my young little family, and I’ll have fun just the same.
What’re you doing to keep the expense of Christmas at a manageable level? I want to know!