My First Minimalist Christmas

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It’s nearly Christmas Day, and I have only got one wrapped present – for my brother – this year. Yes, one.

I’m practicing the art and principles behind a minimal lifestyle. With the prevalence of mass consumerism and materialism during the holiday season, it seemed to be the perfect time of year to get to grips with minimalism.

Christmas Cards
Any card I sent out were all handmade. When I was around 12, I was an arts and crafts fanatic – from flower pressing to card-making, I had a lot of ventures back in the day.  As adult colouring books were not helping curb my anxiety issues, getting back into card-making eased any stresses or worries I had during the dark November evenings.

I used simple designs on each, artfully adorned using glitter pens. Clothes pegs worked a treat for drying the cards overnight.

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This was not totally zero waste as the blank cards and glitter pen tubes I purchased were in plastic packaging. In addition, I could have bought 100% recycled paper card sets from Paperchase but I dismissed its hefty price tag in favour of a 50 pack from a local craft store; the remaining blank sets would be useful for creating handmade cards for any other upcoming occasion(s).

Gifts and wrapping
As I have mentioned, I wrapped only one present this year: my brother’s iPhone case. I used brown paper packaging – which I frequently use for sending packages, such as any eBay or DePoP items I have sold – and some ribbon left-over from previous years.

No sellotape or gift tags had been used – I made sure the ribbon was knotted tightly to hold the wrapping in place.

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I sent a friend a parcel for Christmas. Some sellotape was used, but it has been the only bit of tape for this year. If anyone has a great alternative to sellotape, please let me know!

As for my other family members and friends: my sister and I are off to Morocco in the New Year, so we decided to abandon our usually frivolous Christmas giving ceremony in favour of saving funds for our week-long Middle Eastern escape.

In the last five years, I have been giving my parents gifts of experiences (from vouchers for a fine-dining French restaurant to cinema tickets for the new Star Wars film this year).

Lastly, my school friends and I tend to skip the gifting process most years as a couple of us are still in tertiary education. It is safe to assume this festive season has been one of the most inexpensive to date in terms of gifts.

Decor
I am currently living with my parents, and our Christmas decor – for years now – is composed of a fake tree, some red baubles, and a few wreaths and Christmas lights for different parts of the house. My mother purchased a few items from end-of-season sales in the past month, which will hopefully last a few years.

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Christmas Day
This will probably be the biggest source of waste this holiday season in our household. My family and friends have bought plenty of wrapping supplies, we will be consuming fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, and my turkey alternative is being supplied by Marks & Spencer this year. We’re opting for a shop-bought panettone instead of the classic British Christmas pudding, and plenty of bottles of wine will definitely be consumed.

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M&S: Roasted butternut squash, almond and pecan nut roast. Picture from here.

It’s not entirely as zero waste as I’d like, but adding pressure to my family and myself to administer these changes to our ‘Christmas Day routine’ immediately would take away the supposed enjoyment and gratitude surrounding the holiday season. Let’s not let the aim of the game (minimalism) cloud over the reason for celebrating at this time of year (friends, family and good fortune).

Next year?
Now, it’s too soon to be talking about next Christmas, but I have spotted ways in which I can prepare myself for the 2016 holiday season:

  • use 100% recycled paper for my Christmas cards. Bonus points if they’re made by myself, too.
  • implement furoshiki-style wrapping for any gifts under the tree.
  • find a more eco-friendly alternative to sellotape.
  • (as inspired by this great article by Besma from Curiously Conscious) use of a potted Christmas tree.
  • peruse a supplier for an organic veg box (such as Abel & Cole) and ask specifically for minimal packaging.
  • make my own nut roast for the big day ahead. I’ve already got a Pinterest board dedicated to this turkey alternative; it’s time to finally introduce it to the table in 2016.

 

I hope this festive season has been inspiring for many of you. Have a great Christmas ahead!

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