If you’re looking to cut back on a cluttered calendar and shopping list this holiday season, you’re not alone.
Three out of four millennials prefer experiences over things, according to a 2017 poll by Eventbrite. This trend has created more opportunities than ever before to keep the upcoming season simple and peaceful.
Follow these strategies to take a minimalist approach to the holidays.
1. Decorate – and Give Away.
To keep decor to a minimum, focus on your centerpiece, suggests Nicola Croughan, lead interior designer at Roman Blinds Direct.
“This could be an expertly carved pumpkin for Halloween or an elegantly decorated tree for Christmas. Whatever the occasion, this centerpiece will set the tone,” Croughan said.
Then choose a few items as accent pieces.
If you want to reduce the total number of decorations you have, try this strategy: for every new decoration you purchase this year, find two decorations to get rid of. Or sort through what you have. For each item, ask yourself if it makes you happy or serves a purpose. Decorations that receive a “no” get placed in a donation box to liven up someone else’s holiday.
2. Rethink the Tree.
If you want a Christmas tree, but don’t want to dedicate the space in your living room, consider these alternatives: a stand for ornaments, a tree frame on the wall, or holiday decorations on a shelf.
To keep the look and smell of pine, “take some pine branches, submerge them in water, and decorate the limbs,” suggests Bonny Ford, editor of FurnishMyWay Blog.
3. Optimize the Grocery List.
“Make a list of all meals and desserts you plan to serve,” suggests Nancy Haworth, professional organizer and owner of On Task Organizing, LLC. “Look at each recipe and write a list of which ingredients you need to buy.”
If you’re expecting guests, add supplies like paper goods and toiletries. Then do a big shopping trip to prepare for the season.
To reduce the hassle of baking too many goodies, try making one large batch of the same dessert. Then take it to several holiday events.
4. Give Gifts of Experience.
Consider presents such as tickets for movies, concerts, plays, sporting events, museums, or amusement parks.
Additional ideas: travel-themed presents such as a resort stay or cruise, gift certificates for dance lessons or painting classes, or a coupon valid for a fun outing like a picnic, miniature golfing, bowling, or a zoo trip.
“We’ve decided to pare down gifts for our kid by buying experiences he wants,” explains Tabitha Grace Challis.
For her eight-year-old son, the present might be trampoline park tickets.
“He loves opening presents, so we buy some dollar store gifts to go with them, like a tiny basketball and socks for the trampoline park,” adds Challis.
5. Think Homemade.
“Mason jar gifts are all the rage,” points out Ford. “Make hot cocoa mixes, cookie mixes, or even homemade bars to give out to friends and family. The jars can be reused, and they’ll love the contents.”
Other options: homemade candy, cookies, cakes or pies with a handwritten recipe card attached.
6. Opt for Family Activities.
Set aside several days or times on the calendar for some outings that can be done as a family. This might mean taking a drive to admire neighborhood lights, volunteering at a local shelter, or caroling at a senior living center.
You’ll not only make the most of the season; you’ll also create memories that will last long after the twinkling lights are taken down.