5 steps to a sane and simple Christmas

Christmas is a consumerist paradise…and hell for would-be minimalists like me.

Here are five steps to keeping Christmas sane and simple:

1. Plan your budget in advance.

How much are you going to spend on each person? On each child? Plan a budget and stick to it. If you can put savings aside through the year, that’s better than having all your expenses come at once.

2. Double-up with joint gifts for children.

Buy one great gift the wole family will enjoy. For example, this year we’re buying a games machine for my kids, plus some games. They’ll both love it, and can share it, plus we’re sharing the expense between them.

3. Buy one great gift, instead of lots of little things.

Small gifts can really add up! $20 here, $40 there, and before you know it you’ve spent hundreds with just bits of plastic rubbish to show for it. Instead, buy one great gift that will be really appreciated and that will last.

4. Give experiences, not stuff.

Have older loved ones? Why not take them out? Ideas for elderly relatives include:

  • River cruises
  • Picnic in the park (if the weather is suitable – I live in New Zealand, and it’s summer at Christmas!)
  • Take them fishing
  • Take them to a play
  • Take them to the zoo
  • Buy them wood for their fire, or pay a bill for them! (many companies offer vouchers)
  • Book them in to a hotel for a night
  • Mystery flights
  • Take them to Carols By Candlelight
  • Take them to work at a homeless shelter with you – and learn the real meaning of Christmas!
  • Volunteer together at a lost animals home
  • Have a day out at the Botanic Gardens
  • Do “brunch” at a lovely little boutique cafe
  • Visit a baby animal farm, or farm sanctuary together
  • Go on a winery tour together
  • Eat fish and chips huddled up watching the waves in the car by the beach

5. Give greenery for gifts.

Instead of stuff, why not give the gift of living things?

House plants, seeds for the garden, herbs, or even donating to a charity that plants trees to offset carbon – these are all great gifts that won’t clutter up your loved ones’ lives.

Merry Christmas!


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