When you think of the holidays, you likely think of cozy nights inside filled with laughter, family, and friends. Perhaps you also picture the look of excitement on a loved one’s face as they open their gift. If you look closely, you’ll notice that these joyful experiences are centered around those you love.

Yet we often finish the holiday season surrounded by the ugly truth of the matter. That includes garbage bags full of once-used wrapping paper, piles of random gifts you don’t really need, and stacks of Christmas cards from people you may not even know that well.

While it’s all well-meaning, there is certainly an environmental and mental impact that accompanies this season. The good news is that you can flip the script by choosing to have a more intentional, minimalist holiday. Here’s how.

Why Go Minimalist for the Holidays? 

Minimalism can improve your holidays in a variety of ways. First, the pressure to show up to every party with a gift in hand can be quite stressful. This can lead to feeling burnt out and overwhelmed, especially if you feel obligated to attend every event. You’ll likely also feel financially stressed when you feel obliged to buy every single person you know a present.

Having a minimalist holiday allows you to choose how to spend your time and money with more intention. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. It will also help you save money. Plus, buying fewer products is far more gentle on the planet.

Lots of people also get the post-holiday blues, where you look back at the end of the season and feel somehow disappointed. You might wonder how it flew by or feel as if something was missing. Choosing minimalism during the holidays allows you to find more meaning. Being thoughtful with your time and money ensures you’re making memories that matter, which can help you avoid the holiday blues.

6 Simple Ways to Enjoy a Minimalist Holiday

1. Decorate with what you have 

simple christmas tree next to bookcase

If you love to decorate for the holidays, it can be hard to avoid the draw of new decorations at the store. However, you can only use these items once a year and they really add to clutter in the home, which leads to stress and overwhelm. Instead, try “shopping” what decorations you already have at home and decorating with them in new ways.

2. Skip the Christmas cards

couple in christmas pajamas sitting on bed video conferencing with loved ones

If you want to send out Christmas cards with your family photos, choose electronic cards instead of physical ones. If you simply want to send some Christmas well wishes, opt for a phone call, instead. This is far more meaningful while saving money and materials.

3. Set expectations around gifting

home baked chocolate chip cookies wrapped in jute twine

One of the biggest changes you can make is how you choose to give gifts. First, make a plan by creating a list of who you’ll buy a gift for and how much you’ll spend. Then, check your budget. If you don’t have enough money for all the gifts, you need to limit the people you’re giving gifts to. Consider removing people you don’t know well or those who already have everything they need.
Next, set expectations with your friends and family. Let them know that you’re aiming to have a more minimalist holiday in an effort to focus on important aspects of the holidays - time with friends and family - rather than consumption. Chances are, they’ve experienced the same issues you have and might even follow your lead.
Some families or groups of friends even choose to set new rules together. For example, you might agree to only give handmade presents. Or perhaps you change your gifting model to a Secret Santa exchange rather than your usual one-on-one gifts, limiting the total number of gifts.

4. Save wrapping paper, tissue, and bags

handmade gift wraps in butcher paper, scarves, and pine tree.

While you’ll be giving (and hopefully getting) fewer gifts this year, you might find it helpful to save the wrapping materials you do receive and reuse them to wrap gifts next year. Although this does add to what you keep at home (not ideal for minimalism) it saves you from buying new next year and dealing with the stress that comes from that experience.

5. Gift memories and experiences

woman enjoying views of the ocean with hands in the air

Rather than filling up our homes with products, it can be more enjoyable and meaningful to fill up our lives with experiences and memories. In fact, research shows that experiential gifts are more effective at boosting relationships in the eyes of the recipient. Experiences can be anything, from a drive around to see Christmas lights to art exhibit tickets to a trip somewhere new.

6. Give sustainable gifts 

person holding up brown paper shopping bags
When you do gift physical presents, try to choose sustainably-minded products. This includes reusable items that can replace more wasteful daily products, like reusable paper towels from Marley’s Monsters or steel water bottles from Hydroflask or Swell. As another example, some sustainable products are made using biodegradable or plant-based ingredients with recyclable or compostable packaging, like Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars.


At times, choosing a more minimalist holiday can be tough. You may feel tempted to shop during holiday sales, or you might have a hard time setting expectations around gifts with your family. In these moments, remind yourself why you started. You’re designing a more meaningful holiday and choosing to create memories rather than accumulating stuff.

At Lim Living, we celebrate minimalism every day with our focus on lifestyle above consumption. Our innovative products help you become a conscious creator with a less-is-more approach to your living space. You can read more about our take on sustainable living here.




November 06, 2023