Saturday, November 28, 2015

Minimalism: the Second Purge

In September, I wrote about how my family has been embracing minimalism. Between all of us, we removed about a third of our belongings from our apartment. It was a wonderful feeling, and we've continued the process, removing furniture, smaller items, and things we had even considered necessities at one time or another. I think I can safely say we own less than half of what we did when we moved in. Here are some of the things we've continued to narrow down:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Our Minimalist Christmas

As my husband and I have been embracing the minimalistic lifestyle, we wondered how it would translate into certain areas of our lives – particularly times like birthdays and Christmas. Birthdays have always been a simpler affair, with maybe one gift and a special meal. This is our first Christmas after purging nearly half of our belongings, and we hadn't gone through Christmas things. We had more than I realized, and after unpacking what we had, this past week, I said: “let's start with the tree and see how we feel after that.”

Our tree is simple, with white lights, red and gold ornaments, a box of candy canes, and a stream of gold ribbon. We've never found a tree topper that worked well, and we've didn't feel like the tree needed one. We also hung a stocking for each of us on the wall where our engagement picture and a picture of our little girl usually hangs. Once those were finished, we were so happy with the way things looked and felt, we left it at that and put away or donated the rest. One box of Christmas things feels much better than five.

We have a stocking tradition for Christmas Eve. They are filled with peanuts, oranges, candy (we NEVER eat candy, so it's super special at Christmastime), and a few, small gifts which are useful – like pens, socks, or soap.

For gifts, we have a strict budget, and my husband and me give one another a list of items we would love to have but wouldn't get on our own (mostly because of what it would cost). For our daughter, we get four gifts maximum, though this year we only got her three things: something she can use for play, something she needs, and something to listen to or read. We also include “something to wear” in the list, but she doesn't need any clothes, right now, so we passed on that.

I'm making a beet cake for Christmas day, and we'll buy orange juice to have in the morning. To us, those are really special things we don't have often, so they will be a special gift in their own way.

It has been simple, and we are enjoying the ways that minimalism has changed our mindsets in so many areas. It's actually a relief that I don't feel the need to be extravagant for the holidays. May it continue.