Blogmas #4: A Minimalist, Mindful & “Conscience” Christmas

Christmas is next weekend!

Aside from small tokens for neighbors and our friendly crossing guard, I’m actually done all of my shopping.  This year, Michael and I began our shopping in October at the big arts festival that our city has. I budgeted for it with a set amount of cash, and we walked around seeing what we could see.  When something would pop out at us for someone on our list, we would buy it.  From there, I made the decision that all gifts would come from a local small business, an artist, or a privately owned chain like my beloved Boscov’s.  So far, so good.

Shop Local 1To top off my “conscience Christmas shopping”, I made an additional decision to not give gifts wrapped in paper.  As such, everyone’s gifts will be in cute reusable shopping bags.  (After the big day, I can’t wait to share a sampling of what we gave this year!) I was able to keep the principals of shopping small, bind them with frugality by giving useful and mindful gifts, and presenting them in an eco-friendly way.  I feel like these are new principals that I’m going to evolve from now forward and this makes me excited for Christmases to come.

Thank goodness for early starts…

These past few days were pretty labor intensive with work, home and horses.  It’s left me feeling a tad worn out and in need of extra sleep.  I realize that by applying my minimalism and careful planning to Christmas this year, I’ve had plenty of time to do just that.  In fact, I was up a full 1/2 than usual putting today’s start time at a fresh 4:30 am.  That “extra” time was greatly appreciated.  Throughout the day I was able to focus on things without feeling rushed or crunched for time.

Having the experience of creating a mindful Christmas this year, I can’t imagine falling back into the frenzy of rushed consumerism.  I’ve become addicted to taking my time and thinking the purchases through from the recipient’s perspective, and then paying cash.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still human.  Every now and again I wonder if what I’ve bought “is enough” since it’s a few nicer things rather than a bunch of “stuff”, but I think that anytime that you set out to do something different from the current system that you feel is joyless, it’s going to feel a bit odd.

Today was so pleasant having a cozy day in my office.  I plotted along doing my work, and even had time to start sorting out my new day planner and bullet journal.  I left work with a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I had headed off some potential problems, and checked off a few things that was on tomorrow’s “To Do” list.  I’m not sure I would have had my head in the game this much had I not started to prepare for Christmas in October.

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I promise you, there is something about having the bulk of your shopping done by Thanksgiving, and your tree up the day after black Friday that lets you really enjoy Thanksgiving and gets you excited for the holiday season.  I don’t remember any past Christmases being this relaxed, and for anyone new to my blog – I have a 5 year old.  Trust me when I say, if I can do it then you can do it!  My tips:

  • Shop at local gift shops and small retailers.  This gave me so many opportunities to meet people in my city by talking to shopkeepers and owners.
  • Budget cash.  The January hangover thing is so 1999.
  • Look in your city paper for any flea markets, craft fairs and holiday markets.  Take out a set amount of cash and go look around.  Keep your mind open and let ideas for specific people pop out at you.  Also note dates of fairs you didn’t make it to but wanted to.  Odds are, they will happen around that same time next year.  Now you’ll be prepared!
  • Re-think gift wrap and presentation.  I have no idea how I will top gifting in cute reusable shopping bags, but I have a year to think of something!

I’m looking forward to sharing my haul – with ya’ll – the day after Christmas!

The countdown is on!

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