Friday, November 30, 2018

A Handmade Christmas

There's still time to hand make gifts for Christmas!

Several of the following projects can be finished in a couple of hours while you're watching a holiday movie.  Some can be done by your kids or with their help.  All are useful or will be used up, so they won't contribute to anyone's clutter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

7 Ways to Be a Minimalist Parent During the Holidays

By late November, toys have been relentlessly advertised for months.  Long lines of children wait to meet the mall Santa, encouraged to ask for whatever they want.  Letters to Santa, some asking for dozens of toys, are mailed.  At school, the dominant conversation is about who wants what and whether their Christmas wish will come true.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles, even kindly strangers on the street greet kids with the question, "What do you want for Christmas?"

In this atmosphere, the minimalist parent can feel like a Grinch and his kids can feel cheated if the holiday haul seems inadequate.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Gift List For People Who Actually Need Gifts

'Tis the season for "Best Gift Ideas" lists in every magazine.  These tend to be trendy, expensive, and full of soon-to-be clutter.  They also seem to be for people who have everything they need and most of what they want.

Here in northern California, devastating fires have destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.  While insurance will eventually help most people recover, many are currently homeless, jobless, and needing to move elsewhere to start over.  I haven't seen any "Best Gift Ideas" that would have value for them.

You may have friends or family who are seeking work, others who are in "starter" or other low-wage jobs, some who are paying off student loans or consumer debt, who are living on a fixed income, or who are living frugally in order to save toward a goal (a car, a house, their kids' college, etc.).  You don't want to insult someone or come across like a financial know-it-all, but you don't want to ignore the situation either.

A recent poll shows that young adults with student debt overwhelmingly prefer money to pay the debt, rather than a typical holiday gift.  That's probably true for anyone under the burden of debt, unemployment, or dependence on Social Security.  Haven't we all been in situations where just a little help would go a long way toward making life simpler and less stressful?

Why not give a gift that can make a difference?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Receiving Gifts

How does a minimalist deal with receiving gifts?  

Perhaps you think minimalism requires an offensive "reverse Scrooge" attitude that shouts, "Don't you dare give me anything that will clutter up my life!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

This Holiday, Just Say No

Every year I have to remind myself again that the most memorable events of the holiday season are the simplest.

Why do I need to complicate it, or get so busy that I don't have time or energy to savor the things that make me happy?

For a more satisfying holiday season, don't forget to say NO.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Ready for Black Friday

"Are you ready for Black Friday?"

It was just friendly chitchat from a grocery store clerk, but it caught me by surprise.  The aisles were packed with people shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, just as I was.  But in our consumerist culture, Thanksgiving Day has become Black Friday Eve.  In fact, if you count Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving is just the prelude to a very long weekend of shopping.