To continue my efforts to Reduce Clutter; Make SpaceI have to be more conscious of the decisions I make this holiday season.  For me, reducing physical and mental clutter is about being mindful. I didn’t get rid of so much stuff this year just to acquire more. So I really want to be aware of the things I buy, the things I give, and the things I receive for Christmas.

Many of my family members want to keep the gift giving simple this year, too.  In fact, instead of giving each other big gifts, we adopted a family together.  Although we won’t get to see the kids open their presents, it sure feels good to give without expecting anything in return.

Here are some ideas and small changes you can make to simplify your gift giving while keeping the true meaning of the holiday season in perspective.

1) Bag the Gifts

How about instead of buying gifts for friends and family, you find a local family in need of the necessities.  That way you ensure your gifts won’t go to waste and you’ll be helping those who truly need it.

2) Give Experiences, Not Stuff  

How about giving a zoo membership to that special family in your life, or offer to baby-sit for those new parents, or consider planning a potluck game night with your best friends.  These types of experiences are so much fun and usually way more memorable than the stuff. (What about an e-course? Gift certificates are available for my new session of Inside Out!)

3) Limit the Dollar Amount   

I mentioned that my immediate family decided to adopt a family rather than give big presents. But we still like surprises and opening gifts.  So we’ve decided to draw names and buy one gift each for $25 or less. Limiting the dollar amount will help you to not go overboard and it actually forces you to be more creative in choosing the right gift.

4) Recycle, Reuse and Re-gift!  

What can you make using recycled materials?  Did you see my felted sweater projects?  Check out Crafting a Green World for more ideas.  And I know some of you may think re-gifting is taboo, but think of it this way:  Look around the house for something that is very special to you, yet it has served its purpose and you are now ready to let it go.  I’m not talking about giving a white elephant gift or something you don’t like, but actually consider giving something you love that you are ready to pass on.

Another idea:  How about making your own wrapping paper out of brown paper bags and your tags out of scraps you find around the house?

5) Avoid Plastic  

It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose.  Isn’t that horrifying when you think about that stuff filling up our landfills?  Look for natural and organic items when possible. Check out Hip Mountain Mama’s shop for ideas.

6) Buy Local & Support Independent Artists  

If you do plan on spending money, consider doing so in your own area and from independent artists and businesses.  This is a great way to support your local community.

If you don’t know many artists in your area, check out Etsy or online shops.  There are many amazing independent artists who offer beautiful and unique products!

Here are a few of my favorite online shops: ArtsyvilleAmpersand Shop, Blue Tree Art GalleryGypsy Forest, Hand Grown GoodsInfinite Life Learning photographyKreative Notions, Lani Light JewelryMishmish Market, Muses of a DaffodilNicole Warrington Fine Art, and Tenacious Lace.

7) Make Gifts With Meaning  

I’m a sucker for handmade gifts.  I love receiving things made from friends and family and I really enjoy making gifts, too.

Lavender Bath Salts
* glass jar
* 2 cups Epsom salt
* 2 T baking soda
* approximately 20 drops of lavender essential oil
* contents of two chamomile tea bag
(makes one jar)
Mix all of the ingredients together and fill the jar to the top.  Another option: add olive oil to the top of the jar for added moisturizer.  Remember to make an extra one for yourself and treat yourself to a relaxing soak in the tub!  

Check out my Pinterest board Holiday Fun for more ideas.

I’m by no means an expert in this area, but reducing clutter over the last year has been a wonderful learning and life-changing experience for me.  I am fully enjoying the season and don’t have the stress that can be so prevalent this time of year.

Simplifying this year’s gift giving will help you reduce clutter and create space for the quality time we all so desperately need.  Let’s give presence, rather than all the presents, and make our celebrations more mindful, meaningful and memorable!

Your Personal Reflection:  

Are you getting caught up in the frenzy of the holiday season?  What simple changes can you make this year to be more present with your loved ones?  Take a deep breath, slow down and find stillness…doing so will be the greatest gift you can give yourself.

 

Be well and enjoy the season!

xo-shannon-blue

 

 

 

*This post is from my 2010 archives.

 

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