First thing first: this post is not sponsored! Only my appreciation here. So, I was planning this post for quite long, but in the meantime, I’ve seen plenty of blogs posting about Christmas shopping already. Nevertheless, there’s a good reason to that: November simply is the best time to get organized for Christmas!
November for Christmas
As far as I can tell, I’m appalled to see Halloween stuff in August, when the school hasn’t started yet, Christmas decoration in September, Valentines heart in December, or back to school stuff in June: the school hasn’t finished yet, but we are already in back to school! How can we prone to slow living when businesses are always one step forward the current celebrations? Well, the answer is simple, just try not to play the game and enjoy when it’s time to enjoy. For the rest of it, just watch the silliness of it all.
Nevertheless, Christmas is big time. We want to celebrate in style if we celebrate. I like to think because it’s the time of the year we keep for family, the far away one. The family we don’t see every day. I know that Christmas has become a massive marketing business too, but for whatever reason, we can’t just ignore this time of the year.
December is a busy month. We want things done before the end of the year. We want to get ready. People are running from a party to another; they cook, they eat and drink more than usual. It’s the perfect time of the year to indulge many pleasures, just because it’s tradition. Whether you are celebrating or not, you can’t ignore shops are going to be a nightmare. It’s better to be organized before this crazy month as far as possible.
What About Slow Living?
Slow living is about enjoying life as it comes, avoiding being overwhelmed. For me, being organized is a big part of slow living. If you take time to think about what you do and avoid the last minute decisions, you have far more chances to be happy with what you chose. Life is often pacing our schedules with must does and last minute issues to solve. This multiplies by a zillion when kids and even better teenagers are in the frame. So when you can plan, plan. It’s always a little bit you have in control. You will enjoy this time of the year, instead of groaning an “Oh don’t tell me about Christmas, I have too much to do already!”. Christmas shopping, like any other predictable occasion, doesn’t have to be a nightmare before Christmas!
What kind of Christmas shopping?
Slow living takes its roots in minimalism or is it minimalism taking its roots in slow living? Minimalism and slow living are a lovely couple: we don’t want to part them, not at this time of the year anyway! How can you be a minimalist and enjoy Christmas with its traditional presents? There are many ways. Being a minimalist has never been about being selfish and not giving.
1- No shopping at all
Don’t do any Christmas shopping this year. Simply take it as a challenge! This is the most minimalist advice I can give. Instead, you can give some of your time; you can help someone in need. Make a phone call to someone you haven’t talk to for long because you are always so busy. You can just take the time to write a real letter, on a beautiful and real paper, and put an actual stamp on your envelope. I was appalled to see that Post Canada is advising to send “economic” parcels for Christmas before… drum sound here… 29th October! So if you opt for snail mail, be safe and send your cards before December.
You can also visit again my “12 Christmas mindful family tips” from last year, to find more ideas to spend time together, starting here:
2- No things involved: memories
There are even more ways to buy something for someone without adding to his possessions in the name of Christmas shopping. I can’t quote all the famous minimalist lines here, but the truth is “you’ll remember experiences, not things.” So if you want to buy something, go for experiences. Spa certificates, or day trips, a month to the gym, or the swimming pool, a class to learn a new skill, a ticket for a concert, etc. There are so many activities available out there; a new thing will never give the same excitement as experience will.
3- No things involved: give to organizations instead of Christmas shopping
You also have many groups selling some certificates nowadays, as Christmas or birthdays presents. Nowadays, people can adopt trees, animals, help a child go to school, buy a meal for Christmas, get some treatments for sick people. You have the choice here. Anyway, remember that Christmas is about giving not receiving, so the person receiving the present should pretty well understand that too.
We had friends back in Paris who never bought anything to their children for Christmas. There were giving them a virtual amount and helping them choose online to which organizations they wanted to give the money. They wisely told me: “We never buy stuff to each other for a special occasion, either we do need something, and we buy it. If it’s needed, we can’t wait to buy it. If it’s not and can wait, then better not buy it at all. Instead, we give to others.” I believe that’s the first minimalist advice I received and this was long ago, long before I first heard the name “minimalism.”
4- Give a choice to buy something useful during your Christmas shopping
Don’t do someone else’s Christmas shopping. Give the option of time and place. You can give someone some money so he will be able to spend when the time is right and for something he needs. If you don’t want to give money, you can buy a gift card. There are many possibilities available on the market now, a gift certificate from a small local business, or a temporary Visa card even.
5- If you want things, choose the right people for your Christmas shopping
By good I mean, from the ones who do good. So many small shops or even stores even are now helping in a way or another, that it’s always better to pay a little more for sparing nature or animals, or helping someone in need, than paying for a famous brand.
Here are few that we know and appreciate. If you are in a buying mood for Christmas, please try to read my comments because I added some few responsible reminders.
Because they have some most lovely blankets that you can use anywhere on the go or at home. Why them? Simply because when you buy a blanket, they give one to a person in need. Isn’t that the best to make a gift?
These are also making blankets, except they are ones made of the most excellent wool. They are created and made with love and passion by really friendly people. I happen to meet them at The Spirit Of Christmas Fair in London. They, unfortunately, ship to the UK mainland only, but they told me that they would love to visit Northern America, so who knows… Anyway, it’s always good to notice that some company put so much love and energy in what they do that I believe it’s worth it helping them amongst others. There surely is plenty in your country; the internet is here to help!
Simply because they have the most adorable backpacks and clothes. Because their Kanken backpack was the world’s first climate compensated backpack. Buying a backpack that is both beautiful and not polluting, how could it be better than that for your Christmas shopping!
Another brand making great backpacks (backpacks are so important for people who doesn’t own a car and travel a lot!)
They speak pretty well for themselves, describing their values: “We are always ready to learn, forever curious and sensitive to a changing world. We challenge ourselves and expectation by doing transparent business, making sustainable decisions for planet and people, reducing our impact wherever possible.” They create fantastic, life lasting, backpacks perfect for short walks or long journeys. A backpack that is both beautiful and not polluting, how could it be better than that!
We all feel so relieved when our unwanted clothes find a home in the donation bins. Except that I know now that a big part of these outfits will never have a new owner! If they are not in perfect condition, they are trashed. H&M ensure that 100% of the clothes you give will be reused in a way or another. I guess I’m happy to deal with people who go through so much trouble to recycle fabrics.
When you buy (awesome) clothes from them, they plant trees. Another way to make your outfits eco-friendly!
Sending greeting cards for Christmas is still a good idea in our digital era. They create high-quality sustainable cards so that you don’t add to the pollution and paper consumption if you want to send love to your family and friends!
This company prints eco-friendly photo books. It’s always a great idea to put a little bit of you in what you give. So taking time to create a photo book with your memories, especially when young children are involved, makes everyone happy. If Pikto doesn’t ship to your country, use the internet to find other responsible dealers, nowadays they are easy to find anywhere!
Their products have many qualities towards animals and nature, and they are freshly handmade. This means a lot! A product created with care will always make you happier and therefore more beautiful!
They also offer to pack your gift with a beautiful reusable scarf, a very nature-friendly and old Japanese tradition.
Another example of natural skin care. This one contains organic components, and happen to have a most beautiful shop. Their skincare products are naturopath recommended and are amazing. Once I just want to tell that you can find some creators that will sell you good quality products, in your area. You will buy long-lasting products instead of buying many products, their quality will make you feel good, and the fact that they are meaningful will certainly help too. If you must buy something, buy something awesome!