Here are our tips for simple ways to get maximum enjoyment out of the holidays with minimal consumerist stress.
Welcome to your minimalist Christmas and holidays guide
The last thing any of us needs is more stuff that we don’t love and won’t use. Most of us have been on the receiving end of a gift that wasn’t something we wanted or needed. Knick-knacks gathering dust on a shelf or a piece of fast fashion that fell apart on the third wash.
Giving a gift that recipients really want means it is less likely to be binned, preventing the resources like energy and water that went into making it from going to waste. Make sure gifts are durable and they will last even longer.Planet Ark
At Good On You, we’re inviting you to give mindfully with our guide to sustainable Christmas gifts and holiday presents. From gifting experiences to eco-friendly stocking stuffers, this list has you covered when it comes to conscious consumerism over the holidays.
Think about the number of trees, dyes, and chemicals used into making cards and gift wraps each year. Then think about how much of that is put into landfill. Seems like a waste of energy, right? Both yours and the planet’s. Here are a few ideas to reduce your impact:
Wrap in cloth
Why not wrap your gifts in something that is also a gift? Grab some vintage scarves from an op shop, or “wrap” your gifts in a reusable tote bag. This is by far the most sustainable way of wrapping, and as a bonus will make your gifts shine with individuality. Our friends at Baggu have some great tips on how to use their bags for wrapping. Or, learn the art of Furoshiki—Japanese fabric wrapping. All you need is a piece of fabric to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes.
Re-use and recycle
Can’t avoid the paper? Try opting for a reusable bag where possible. They will last for many more holidays than flimsy paper. Recycled newspapers are also a unique wrapping material. Lastly, try to refrain from releasing your inner animal when present opening—the earth does not benefit from us shredding our wrapping to pieces. Instead, be delicate and keep those pieces in good nick to be used again next year. This also goes for any ribbons and cards.
Rather than spending money on loads of generic decorations, consider making personalised ones. These can also be lovely gifts, and making them is a fun way to entertain the kids or bond with family during the holidays—not to mention transforming your living space into a Pinterest board dream. Here are a few of our favourite ideas from around the internet:
Make your own wreath
Wreaths are a simple, traditional decoration that are so easy to create yourself. Unlike a plastic wreath, a real one can be much more minimal and authentic. Personalise your wreath by picking a leaf type that flows with your home décor. You can also add berries or flowers for a pop of colour. Rosemary, bay leaves, or baby eucalyptus go down a treat, but here’s your chance to get creative. Go for a wander around your neighbourhood and see what natural flora grows in the area for some inspiration.
The Christmas tree debate seems to come around every year. If one thing is clear, is that neither option is an outstanding winner. So, why not go treeless? Plastic trees are usually made out of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic and other chemicals that harm the environment. ZME Science writes that regarding energy usage, a PVC tree needs to be used for 20 years before its energy usage meets that of a real tree. Real trees, however, would provide a much larger benefit being left in the ground.
Instead, go on the hunt for a fallen branch from a park nearby and adorn it with some LED lights. You could also use a potted plant you may already have in your home. Or, design a wall piece out of leaves and branches and set your presents underneath. These options won’t take hours to set up or take down, will be kinder to your wallet, and, most importantly, will place far less burden on the environment.
Create gorgeous candle holders
These cute, unique citrus candles will look sensational and smell divine. Choose from oranges, limes, or lemons. The best part is you can blend the leftovers into a nice cold pitcher of OJ. Perfect for décor or gift giving.
Add a touch of green
Sometimes, all you need is a touch of green. Rather than going all out with tacky tinsel or over-the-top splashes of colour, why not sneak in some nature instead? A branch here or there to hang some knitted stockings or a string of pine cones can really bring a modern, minimalist feel to your holiday décor.
Craft from the heart
As a kid, I used to love making Julehjerter, or Danish woven heart baskets—so easy and fun. Hang them on the tree, hide little presents in them, use them as envelopes. Pro-tip: recycle cards or gift wraps from previous years to make these decorations unique and sustainable.
The ethos of minimalism is all about simplicity and need-based possessions. Taking the time to think of a meaningful gift or even craft it ourselves is a wonderful opportunity. It allows us to reflect on our loved ones and give a gift that truly means something they can cherish for years to come—happy minimalist holidays.