A Merry Minimalist Christmas

YOU CAN NOW FIND THE PUBLISHED VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE EDITED HERE

BUT JUST FOR FUN, I POSTED MY ORIGINAL UNEDITED STORY FOLLOWING HERE!

Here it is again. The most wonderful time of the year. Everything is red, white, green, gold, even pink and blue. One can fill their whole phone with saved pictures from the web of rooms filled with the most beautiful decor. And so many different styles, too. From the Dr. Seuss Christmas to the glam girl pink Candy Land themed rooms. This season is probably the best time for any company to make their biggest sales out of the year and bring home the best Christmas paychecks to their own families.

Yet, with that there comes so many expectations. And not only that, but also so many temptations. Christmas has a way of making anything seem like an amazing thing to have and add to your own life. The way everything is presented in the stores.

Wrapped in themed colors, beautiful shiny boxes, and everything seems to be on sale, too. It’s the time of the year where one may find themselves tempted to just make that extra purchase just because… It’s the end of a wonderful or wretched year, so we all may feel we deserve it after all.

So here are a few solutions our family has found to try and stay sane.

1. Make a budget first of how much you plan on spending this holiday season.

I’m sure nobody wants any long term damage for a temporary moment of joy. So the number one thing would be to come up with an action plan before opening the wallet especially during the holiday season where it is so easy to feel tempted to spend a little extra just to show that extra kindness. But in all reality this is just the feeling instilled in us by modern marketing. Because to show love doesn’t mean we need to give more material possessions.

2. Resist impulse buying

Buy something if it’s truly on sale and if you already were planning on buying it all along. Maybe you waited for a long time to buy something on your dream list. If so, this can be the perfect time to click the purchase button on your favorite item.

Otherwise, I try during this time of the year to just take the time to think deeply about my purchases when in stores. Unless is something I knew I needed for our family, I take a step back and maybe look at the beautifully wrapped gifts for about everything at the store, but then keep walking and stick to my row and what I had planned all along.

3. Decide how many presents you plan on buying ahead of time

At our home for example, we have always decided we would do 3 presents each. In our home We have Christian beliefs, and I remember hearing from one of my friends that she liked to do 3 presents for her children just like the three wise men brought 3 presents to Jesus Christ. I immediately fell in love with that idea and I have picked it up myself for our own family ever since. 

Every year we tell our kids to pick their 3 favorite things. They have never once have complained about the number. They actually often struggle to find 3 things. We often try and make sure that one of the items is something to read. So we will often choose some of their favorite book collections so they can have enough books for a while and get educated.

4. Remember the reason for the season.

When Christmas first began, this time of the year in the Christian religion was meant to be a time of love and service to others. Jesus Christ asked of His children before departing this world, that they would serve others as a way to honor Him and remember Him. Giving gifts is a beautiful way to show that kindness, but yet is not the only way. The true spirit of a Christmas comes from sharing service and love of others.

5. Don’t think that the decor is what will make it Christmas

I grew up in Italy. We had a good life, but money I always knew was a bit tight. We owned the same Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. We had 2 sets of lights that flickered. They were actually beautiful. I often remember my dad trying to fix them multiple times over the years as we pulled them out of the box after being tucked away for 11 months. He would always get the job done even if it meant spending hours in his garage trying to figure out which light or wire broke.

We had 2 string of lights as well for outside our home. Every year we would find different places where to place them. We then had one nativity which we would decorate sometimes with real moss from the street and tin foil to make a river. 

I never once NOT felt the Christmas spirit in my heart. Every year despite not having a Christmas tree for every corner of my house, I went to bed with my heart full of joy during the Christmas season. The feelings were exactly the same if not more even though I now own even more decor than that. I treasure in my heart though that I know that we don’t need material possessions to have those kind of feelings during this season. The reason for the season can be the same whether we have all the decor or not. It’s all in our hearts.

6. Remind yourself that all you buy now, you will store for next 11 months

Maybe not for so long. I have seen Halloween Christmas trees decorated in October, or even Easter trees still left out from 4 months prior. But most people, by January 1st have made out their resolutions and are ready to move on with their decor. Storing so many things, not only can make the house feel cramped after a while, but many people eventually fell ready to move on from having the extra decor laying around. Because you know that this Christmas too shall pass, try and resist the temptation to buy so many things to decorate. Remember that starting January companies will have moved on to Valentine’s Day already, and you may not want to constantly stare at the extra boxes of Christmas decor tacked away in your home. Remember that you may not always want your whole house to be red, that you may want orange pillows maybe  for the rest of the year. Keep in mind the long term scheme of things in order not to fall into the trap to buy everything Christmas related.

Christmas is truly such a wonderful time to me. I too feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins as I visit homes, store, online pages. Every cover seems to have chosen the red theme. Not to mention, to take it a step further, websites now even promote red furniture and household linens of every sort as a way to celebrate Christmas. And I have personally love it all.

Just remember that it’s only a short time of the year. And that it’s not worth taking all those things with you year round. Christmas was meant to be a time of service and love and I hope you can find joy by always remembering the true reason for the season.

Love, M. Serena Essuman

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