Family Life, Motherhood

How to Enjoy the Holiday Season as a Minimalist Family

We can enjoy the holiday season with less stuff and create more meaningful traditions.

Enjoy the holiday season with less stuff, holiday minimalism


Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the  entire holiday season have become synonymous with shopping. Basically, we use the end of the year to buy lots of stuff and produce tons of waste. 


It’s projected that each individual will spend approximately $1000 and help produce an estimated 1 million extra tons of waste per week – all in the name of holiday festivities. 


As a parent I’m trying hard to find a balance between celebrating the holidays and being conscious about the lessons I’m teaching my daughter: 


  • How can I tell her to care about environment and then contribute to the holiday waste overload?
  • How do I tell her this season is not about gifts and then inundate her with dozens of toys?


I need my actions to align with my values and that’s why I making an effort to create holiday traditions that aren’t center around lavish gift-giving. There is another way.


Here are some ideas.






1. Plan to share time instead of gifts

Time is one of our most valuable assets and it’s an amazing gift to share with the people you care about. Instead of a gift make the time for friends and family. Even if you can’t get to the same destination, clear your schedule and make time to video call and chat. It matters.


Things to do as a family when you are together include:

  • Play board games
  • Watch a movie
  • Get outdoors
  • Take family photos (instant cameras are great for this- no checking if everyone looks great)
  • Karaoke
  • Trivia

Spending time together is immensely more valuable then a cheap item imported from China. 



2. Start a tradition of storytelling

There is power in storytelling. It’s how people shared memories and kept cultural traditions alive. We have moved away from storytelling and this may be because of modern technology and social media. But I’d argue that we can use modern technology to continue sharing stories in a more creative way.

  • Create a photobook of pictures taken throughout the year. This is great for doting grandparents.
  • Find a single photo you love of a friend or family member and have it blown up and framed. Be sure to write a story on the back of the image.
  • Create a group story. Give everyone a chance to add to the storyline and read it together afterwards. It can be uploaded and share via email.

The stories we tell now, can become a part of our family traditions. 



3. Prepare the holiday meal as a family

I’ve always heard that you can have too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s true. But during the holidays, we can make an exception. 


Get everyone involved in the holiday meal prep, even the family member or friend that burns everything. It’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience. 



4. Do some Winter cleaning and donate the goods

Lots of people save deep cleaning and organization for the Spring; however, Winter is a great time to get rid of stuff too. Once you created a pile of stuff you no longer need, it can be donated to people who are in need. 


Making the trip to the donation center can be a family tradition that allows children to participate in a noble act.



5. Limit the number of gifts per family member

Growing up we often received several gifts and do you remember what happened? In just a few short days, many of them were forgotten. Too many gifts can be overwhelming and wasteful.


Instead, we can give focus on quality and not quantity. It’s a good balance between celebrating and consciousness. 



6. Volunteer at a local shelter

Volunteering as a family is an amazing way to teach children about the true meaning of the holiday season. The entire family is often assigned roles and it usually doesn’t take more than a couple of hours.


Shelter volunteering can help remind everyone in the family of how blessed they are to have a home and food to eat. Sometimes, we forget to thankful for what we have, when we are on a quest to get more.



What things do you do with your family during the holidays that don’t involve gifting?






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