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Old 12-20-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
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do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

Do you discuss your minimalist holiday plans with others outside this forum?

This is the time of year when all small talk turns to "Have you gotten your shopping done? Your wrapping done?" Etc. IDK, I feel weird really discussing it truthfully with acquaintances and even some friends. I don't want to say, well, I only buy one gift for the four members of my extended family, the two in his, and since all of them are giving our kids gifts, we are only buying the kids one joint gift from us. Santa gives them one gift each and one joint gift. The only real chaos in my holiday planning is that since we live so far away, all the extended family send the presents here for ME to wrap.

We don't do expensive gifts. Our kids are not going to expect an iPad under the tree. We don't do tons of gifts, it takes away from the gifts themselves when there are too many, so there is not a roomful of presents. But somehow I feel weird about discussing it with others without feeling the need to defend my choices or avoiding accidentally insulting theirs. So I just try to nod and change the subject.

Then people ask, how did you possibly find time to make 50 little gingerbread houses for your two kids' classes to decorate? Or they see our tree loaded with homemade ornaments, and can't imagine how we do it every year. How do you send out 100+ cards? And that doesn't even include toys for tots/angel tree, church holiday mission stuff we do as a family, the Christmas pageant and choir concerts, etc. I feel it would be judgmental to say, well, because I don't spend so much time and money shopping - I spend my time and money on other things. So I just try to brush it off.

IDK, sometimes I wonder if I should say more, you know, to further the minimalist movement. What's funny is the kids' friends will ask further questions, and get the real story, but the adults dont. Is it weird to feel somewhat awkward about trying to be minimalist?

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Old 12-20-2012, 01:24 PM   #2
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I was just talking to my mom about Christmas gifts. I explained how grateful I was for sticking to the wishlist for them. Then explained that I didn't really want a lot for myself. I started explaining to her all the throwing out I've been doing lately. They live far away so don't visit often. So I just kept talking about what we've done, organized, labeled, rearranged, trying to cut back on Christmas, focus on doing instead of having toys, quality not quantity, how much better I feel. She eventually cut me off lol. I didn't mean to go on a diatribe. But yeah, I definitely get the feeling people are going to think we're broke if DD tells everyone she got blocks and a book and that's it for Christmas. I try not to talk about it with other people but at the same time I feel the same about spreading the word. I feel like I should at least explain the reason behind my apparent madness. Everu time people come over I have to explain our donation staging area.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

I talk to everyone who will listen Honestly though I only talk to family and the ladies at my breastfeeding support group so it isn't like I am talking to people about it often.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:30 AM   #4
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

I have no qualms about saying what we did/do get our kids for Xmas or their birthdays. And I've never come across people who look at me funny or question anything.

We also do a lot of volunteering, crafts,etc. but I could also shop and do those things. I don't think they are exclusive of each other.

I think it's fine to feel a bit awkward about decisions/actions that may not be the norm around you and wonder how people will react. But, I bet most won't give it a second (esp. negative) thought. Maybe you'll inspire others just by your actions, rather than words anyhow.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:24 AM   #5
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

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Originally Posted by Honeymommy3 View Post
I have no qualms about saying what we did/do get our kids for Xmas or their birthdays. And I've never come across people who look at me funny or question anything.

We also do a lot of volunteering, crafts,etc. but I could also shop and do those things. I don't think they are exclusive of each other.

I think it's fine to feel a bit awkward about decisions/actions that may not be the norm around you and wonder how people will react. But, I bet most won't give it a second (esp. negative) thought. Maybe you'll inspire others just by your actions, rather than words anyhow.
Agreed! I don't think there are many people that think - I wish I had more on my to do list during the Christmas season. I think that many people would find the whole minimalist discussion as a breath of fresh air and maybe finally feel like they had permission not to overwhelm themselves - that is how I felt at least!
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

we've always been minimal with gifts for our kids. For our oldest's first two years we, her parents, didn't get her a single gift for her birthdays or Christmas :gasp: she was getting a pile of gifts from everyone else, and didn't notice the difference. We did put money into her education fund though. this year from us, our kids are getting socks and a really cool illustrated kids' Bible that is a joint gift for all of them. That's it. DH and I aren't specifically "minimalist" but we're heading there.

ETA we tell people about it more from the standpoint of not wanting the kids to have ridiculous expectations, and to focus more on the meaning of Christmas and family time rather than presents everywhere.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

I've told everyone who asked "what do your kids need for Christmas" that they don't NEED anything. Which leads to a conversation about trying to live more minimally.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

We did buy a fair amount of gifts for people, and our kids are getting plenty as well. I'm not a true minimalist, but I do try to keep it simple around here. I do plan on purging a bunch this weekend, especially the kids' stuff (and also boxing some of DS's stuff up for when DD gets a bit bigger).

My sister and I have discussed "cutting back" over the past few years. Last year, we only did stuff for the kids instead of each other (and our husbands). This year, her and I made a deal that we had to either make each other something, or regift something, or find something in our homes that we think the other person would like.

We've been fortunate that most people that buy stuff for our kids have asked us what they need or what we'd like them to have, so I'm hoping that cuts back on the excess stuff or things that we won't keep. Since there ARE things that we'd like for them, we have been able to tell them things we are either lacking or things that we think our son would like (harder for the baby, of course) and we just ask that people not go overboard and that we're trying to keep it simple.

I have no problem donating things after the holidays that don't fit in with our current family goals and values. I do feel a bit guilty, it seems ungrateful and wasteful, but I can't imagine what our house would look like if we kept every gift our kids have ever gotten. Some people will go overboard no matter what.

Fortunately, clothes seem to be on everyone's list of stuff to buy our kids this year, which is great because DD has outgrown most of her clothes already, and our son is outgrowing a lot of his stuff as well. I'm going to do a big purge this weekend of clothes, and will probably do another one after Christmas when I can reassess our needs.

As for us... my mom is giving me money to spend on myself, as well as something I wanted for cake decorating (and I imagine a few other little things as well). I love gift cards or money, so I can pick out something for myself and know that the money will not be wasted. Not sure what to expect from everyone else, but a lot of people do know that we've been trying to declutter or simplify, and I know a lot of people are trying to cut back on Christmas excess as well.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

I'm glad so many of you have positive experiences sharing how you have minimized the STUFF from the holidays. I guess I still feel like I did back when people asked about my children's woolies and prefolds. Not the norm and a bit like some sort of an anthropology exhibit. I just need to get over myself, I guess. My family and close friends know what we do and why. It's the other people in our lives that have no clue.

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Originally Posted by Honeymommy3 View Post
We also do a lot of volunteering, crafts,etc. but I could also shop and do those things. I don't think they are exclusive of each other.
I didn't mean to imply people couldn't do both. I'm sorry if it came off that way. I meant *I* couldn't/wouldn't do both, LOL. And I am willing to bet the people that ask me how I do all that I do couldn't fathom how to do both either, or they would be doing it. I know it is possible I could - I could coupon, do the freebies at rite aid and all that since monetary resources are limited, but I've BTDT and choose to do other things with my time. Especially at the holidays.

But again it's hard to say something like that without sounding like you are turning your nose up at people who make different choices. Everybody makes the choices that fit their situation and their family at that given time.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:20 PM   #10
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Re: do you discuss holiday minimalism with others?

We do one present and one family outing for all gift giving ocasions...for example kate just turned 5 and she got a lalaloopsy doll ($25) and chose to go to the circus, so we went as a family. The girls are getting new personalized rag dolls for xmas, plus a new pair of pjs from us, and a few small things from santa (each girl has a plastic shopping bag full, roughly). We are taking them to a hotel with an indoor splashpad next weekend too.

I tell people all the time, about choosing family experiences over stuff, and they always respond well!
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