Happy Rudolph Day!

Christmas will be here in three months. Does that scare you even more than ghosts and goblins on Halloween? Do you feel stressed and over-whelmed just thinking about the gifts and parties and decorating? Neither fear nor anxiety is conducive to the peaceful and joyful spirit of the Christmas season which we all desire. Over the years I have found that the more I prepare ahead of time, the more likely I am to recognize and enjoy the magical moments in December. That’s one of the main purposes behind Rudolph Day, and the HHP as well.

I would not call myself a minimalist, but we can learn a lot from those who are. Here are some ideas and principles that seem worthwhile to me. I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well.

From How to Have a Minimalist Christmas You’ll Never Forget (click the link to read the explanations for each point):

  1. Be Intentional
  2. Do Less
  3. Buy Less
  4. Do Something New
  5. Put People Before Things

This article, Six Rules for a Miminalist Christmas, has similar ideas. The one I like best, and have used frequently, especially for neighbor and teacher gifts, is to give everybody the same thing. For example, instead of searching all over town trying to find 20 unique ornaments for 20 different friends, you give each of them an identical one. (Our traditional gift is Rocky Road.)

My take away from this list was to “be content with your current season of life.” Embrace the chaos that little children bring and only decorate the top half of the tree – or don’t put one up at all! Skip your friends’ parties for a few years and enjoy the holiday concerts at the elementary school. Take a holiday cruise and let someone else be in charge of Christmas dinner.

Here’s one more list of principles, from How to Have a Minimalist Christmas:

  1. Choose which traditions to keep.
  2. Keep decorations simple.
  3. Do gifts a little differently.
  4. Take the stress out of getting together.
  5. Make time to slow down.

These lined up pretty well with the first list, didn’t they? Principles do that. Here‘s a good example of someone who used focus, balance, communication and service to put these principles into effect.

And if you want more links, try here, even though a long, complicated post filled with tons of ideas is definitely not conducive to minimalism! In fact, just this is probably too much.

However, I am going to add one more idea, this from an article called Why We Aren’t Doing a Minimalist Christmas This Year. It’s okay to ignore the “buy less” instruction if it interferes with “put people before things.” You can “be intentional” and “do something new” by giving a bunch of gifts. Part of the magic and joy of Christmas morning, especially for young children, is opening lots of presents and feeling the excitement and love. It’s an interesting concept, don’t you think?

Someday kids will be mature enough to understand that life is more than big presents, and that there are people in the world who are less fortunate. Someday will come soon enough. For now, ten dollar store gifts mean more to him than one nice book. . . . The magic of Christmas for kids is in the frivolous and fun. If the wrapped box is huge, they have a blast unwrapping it. It doesn’t matter to them that they will probably forget that toy exists in less than two weeks. The item served its purpose right there on Christmas morning. In a few weeks/months, when the kids have forgotten the items, I can haul them off to Goodwill for someone else to enjoy.