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I Can Only Change Myself — Minimalism

I love how I can see our fabulous tree and my husband doing a fancy dance as he takes the picture. 

I am passionate about several things.  I guess I am just a passionate person.  What I am learning and what I want to share with other ‘passionates’ out there is that ‘I Can Only Change Myself’.  Today I want to talk specifically about Minimalism as we are going into Christmas.  There are lots of great minimalist posts out there about Christmas without stuff, but I want to go the other route and say that, it just isn’t going to cut it with some people.  Less stuff is great, but people and their feelings are more important.

Minimalism Passion With Christmas

This seems to sometimes come to a head or create tension around the Christmas season.  However, it is important to remember that minimalism is like a set of glasses that some people see the world through.  The world is full of ideas and no one has the same set of glasses.  It is important to realize that this isn’t something you can change in people.   With my husband and kids we are doing a Minimalist Christmas, but there are lots of other important people in my life as well.

Gift giving is much more of a social and relational thing than a personal or a material thing.  To really love someone is to love them the way they understand love, not my definition of love.  I learned a bunch of this from The 5 Love Languagesthat I read many years ago, and the principle is so true.  I am all about getting rid of stuff, but gift giving is way more than just stuff.  Here are my recommendations for minimalist gift giving:

  1. Don’t give gifts where you don’t need to (lots of people have gift giving lists miles long.  Honestly, most of those people could get a card with some nice personal words in it.  If you want to put in more, add a Starbucks gift card (or something similar).  Simple and thoughtful, but not extra stuff.  Stick to close friends and family.
  2. Give an experience – spa day, zoo membership, play tickets, something that the person would really enjoy and might not spend on themselves.
  3. Give food – I love food!  Nice chocolate or fancy teas are often something that makes a great gift.
  4. A newer or better quality replacement for something they already have.
  5. Gift card – so unexciting I know, but we are going for simple and minimalist and it fits :).
  6. Something they have specifically asked for.

As a passionate believer in an area you are responsible to:

  • Live it

  • Be willing to share your experience

  • Leave it at that 🙂

In the season of love, put feelings first and then ideals. 


  1. Kendra Carlson Kendra Carlson

    love your emphasis on people’s feelings…if we forget this, our best ideas can cause harm rather than good. your balanced perspective is refreshing!

    • thanks!

  2. Gem Gem

    Growing up my mom would make “Christmas Candy” every year. With my current job, I interact frequently with people all over our library district. Too many to give a personal gift to but they often will give me something small around Christmas. A couple of years ago, I decided to make Christmas Candy and pack it up in tins for each library location’s staff room. I feel slightly guilty for adding even more unhealthy options around Christmas but everyone seems to like it.

    Here’s the two main recipes I make, Coconut Balls and Peanut Butter Balls (you can sub almond butter if you have people who are allergic. Also, I always dip the peanut butter balls last to avoid cross contamination.)

    These are great to do with kids (though Calvin is still a little too young). My brother and I would make the filling into balls and then my mom would dip them in chocolate. It was usually a full day event and we often watched a real movie while we did it, a very rare occurrence in our house.

    • sounds fun! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jennifer G Jennifer G

    Between my hubby & myself, we have a ton of kids (around 25) in our extended families. This year I am pregnant, and will have a newborn at Christmas time (Due the Monday after Thanksgiving) so, I know I won’t feel like shopping. In preparation, I have already saved up cash and have Christmas themed post-it notes with each child’s name stuck to a $5 bill, $20 for a few of the older kids/closer relationships, and they are ready to be stuffed into their family’s Christmas cards. That list for cards has also gotten reduced by about 2/3 over the last couple of years. I think cash will go over well, so it might become our Christmas tradition.

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