A Minimalist’s Guide To The Holiday Season

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

Disclosure: Some articles on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Project Hot Mess may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sharing is caring!

Every holiday season we say the same thing ‘next year I won’t go quite as overboard’. But lo and behold, 12 months pass by and we quickly forget how we felt the year before.

I distinctly remember for at least 3 years in a row thinking how much of a waste all the wrapping paper was – I had wrapped the presents the night before, only to have the paper torn off in a matter of seconds and tossed aside. Sure, the gifts looked pretty for a moment, but I didn’t even get a photo of them. What a waste. 

And don’t even get me started on the list of people to buy gifts for. Somehow it has gone from buying for family and close friends to family, close friends, third cousins twice removed, all children in my son’s kindergarten class, everyone in my street and 3 stray dogs. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it feels like. 

This year I’m determined to take my minimalism skills and apply them all over the holidays. Just because you don’t want to go crazy over the top, doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing and fulfilling holiday period. 

Here are a few ways you can use minimalism to curb your OTT ability these holidays, a sort of Minimalist’s Guide to the Holiday Season. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

If You Know You Cook Enough Food To Feed a Small Army, Invite More People Over

What a wonderful thing to do during the holidays – to cook beautiful food, for others to eat and love. For some people, this is what the holidays are all about. Getting family together, eating good food, and sharing our gratitude. But when you’re the one cooking, and you’re worried you’re not going to have enough food, it can quickly get out of control. 

I love hosting Christmas and having grown up in a big family, I know how to feed A LOT of people. I tend to go a little over the top and am overly generous with my portion sizes, which often means we end up with way too much food. 

I know I’ll always have enough, so we often invite more people over last minute. We also often work Christmas day, so occasionally we will invite work colleagues over too who don’t have family close by. 

Another thing you can do is send home leftovers with guests. Fix an extra plate for everyone, or tell people to BYO Tupperware containers and fill them before they leave. This means less space in your fridge is taken up, less chance of you gorging yourself for days on end, and more people get to enjoy your food for longer. Winning. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

Use the Gift Guide of  – Something They Want, Something They Need, Something To Wear & Something To Read

Christmas shopping for kids can be just as exciting for the parents buying the gifts (*cough* I mean Santa *cough*) as it is for the kids unwrapping them. Seeing my children get so excited just lights me up. But, it’s so easy to go overboard. 

I had to stop buying Christmas presents early because I kept finding things I liked, then of course, I felt if I bought an extra gift for one of the kids, I had to buy an extra gift for the other, and it escalated quickly. 

Instead, we now run with the idea of buying something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. It’s such a simple gift buying guide. Love it. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

Don’t Buy For Everyone – Each Family Member Buys For One Other Person

There are 7 kids in my family, add in partners or spouses, children, and our parents, and that’s one heck of a Christmas Gift List.

Instead of buying for everyone on the list and sending us all broke, we put all the adult’s names into a hat and draw one out each. We then have a set budget to purchase a gift for that person. Instead of buying heaps of little gifts, we get to spend a little more to get a good present and we all still get to enjoy giving gifts. 

You can also cut your list of people to buy for down by asking yourself if you really need to be buying a gift for this person, or if you’re doing it because you feel like you should. Often you don’t need to at all. 

If you do feel like you absolutely must, and you’re still finding it difficult to cut back, handmade gifts like jars of cookies or pickles are a great way to reduce waste. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

Give Experiences Rather Than Physical Gifts

How many items in your house are gifts you were given by someone at some point, and you don’t use the item, but you feel like it would be rude to throw it out or give it away because it was a gift? 

So. Many. 

Rather than giving physical gifts this year, give experiences. Check out your local area and see if places like the zoo have animal encounters, or fishing trips for the keen fisher, or winery tours. The possibilities are endless, and they won’t be left in a corner cupboard somewhere to gather dust. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

Rather Than Spending A Fortune On New Decorations, Use What You Have And DIY Additional Pieces

Seeing all the beautiful new decorations in the store (in October!!) can be so exciting and so tempting to buy. I’d love to have a different colour theme every year for Christmas, and while I don’t necessarily change everything, every year, I change up a few key pieces and DIY additional pieces to suit. 

You don’t need to have your entire home decorated from corner to corner either to feel the festivities. Keep things simple (Pinterest has so many amazing ideas) and perhaps just decorate one area of your home, rather than each and every room. 

If you have kids, it can also be super fun to get them involved in making decorations too! (I mean, you can do it yourself without kids, it’s just less stressful…). Using newspapers or magazines to make paper chain decorations, or folding and painting magazines to make mini Christmas Tree’s are great craft ideas for kids. 

The holiday season can easily get out of hand and over the top but it doesn't have to be like that. Stick with the minimalist's guide to the holiday season to to keep your minimalist efforts in check.

If You Buy New Things Or Recieve New Gifts, Remove The Same Number Of Items From Your Home (Declutter Exchange)

It’s all about balance and not adding more and more to your home. If you’ve done any kind of decluttering (always a good idea to do this before and after the holiday season) you don’t want to go an undo all of your hard work by recluttering your home with all kinds of things. 

Instead, use the rule of removing the same number of items from your home as you bring in. 

For example, if you get 3 gifts for Christmas, then you remove 3 items from your home. If you buy 5 toys for your kids, then you remove 5 toys from their collection (you can also get the kids involved in donating their toys to someone else who can get as much fun from them as they had – so sweet). 

The holiday season can easily derail your minimalism efforts, but you don’t have to get swept away in the over the top nature that often comes with the ‘silly season’. Stick to these few minimalism rules for the holidays and you’ll be enjoying the season, without going overboard.