Christmas Presents… I Am The Grinch

I love Christmas. I love spending quality time with my family. I love feeling full before I have even started the main meal. I get a holiday away from home and I get to relax.

I do not love christmas presents.

One side of my family is very big. They organise a Secret Santa to reduce the abundance of presents. Originally you would buy a present each for three randomly allocated family members. Then when the next generation came along it became quite chaotic. Now we buy a present for just one family member and gifts for the children are optional.

Christmas Presents Sustayable Me
Our family Christmas tree. Every year the pile gets bigger.

I always racked my brain for things to ask for. Some earrings, a handbag, nail polish, a stick blender etc. You let everyone know what you want. One year I got two stick blenders from two different people. One I used often and the other I kept boxed up. I thought I would use it when the other one stopped working. Years later, I finally sold the second stick blender.  It moved house with me twice. It was still in the box.

When I became interested in minimalism something clicked in my head. I didn’t actually want these presents. At first I started to ask for gift vouchers instead. In the last two years I have asked for a goat and a chicken.

I no longer want stuff.

You might agree with me or you might think I am strange. “But Jane, gift giving is my love language. What can I get you if you don’t want stuff?”.

Get me an experience (a massage voucher because I need a massage so bad). Get me something consumable (chocolate please!). Donate to charity on my behalf. But really, you don’t have to get me anything at all.

Will I give my family christmas presents? Of course! They will probably be eco-friendly and locally made. Call me a horrible mum but Bub will not be included in this. For this year anyway.

She will be six months old. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, she already has everything she needs at the moment and in the near future. I think she will love her first Christmas, with or without presents.

Are you looking forward to christmas present shopping?

Thanks for reading!

Say hello to the minimalist me

I am definitely interested in minimalism. I don’t want to tell people I have just met about it because I don’t want to scare them off. Now you all know, have I scared you away? Keep reading please. Minimalism is not exactly ‘normal’ but I think the trend is increasing in popularity. 

You might be wondering what I mean when I talk about minimalism. I think minimalism means something different to every minimalist out there. You can embrace it however you want. There is no right or wrong way. If you are interested have a read of how Joshua Becker defines it. He is a well-known minimalist blogger who has a trillion times more expertise than me.

Some minimalists travel the world with 100 possessions. Some live in a tiny home. Others get rid of everything excess and are minimalists in all aspects of life – food, friends, TV etc. Not me, I love TV.

I do not have a bare home with no furniture and no belongings. My home has lots of stuff (it is currently a mess). We don’t do without anything. We are an average family. The difference is I am intentionally trying to live with less stuff.

Not the stuff that I use and the stuff that I love. I am talking about the extra stuff. The stuff I bought and never opened. The stuff someone gave to me that I never wanted. The stuff that sits around doing absolutely nothing for years. I see it as pointless stuff.

I didn’t always. I had lots of pointless stuff for most of my life.

One day I was watching good old TV and saw a piece about a minimalist family living in Sydney. I remember footage of a small wardrobe which the parents both shared. The wife had less than the husband. “Wow, that is extreme,” was my reaction.

A few months later I was listening to the radio on the way home from work . I was stuck in the usual traffic. There was an interview with two American guys called The Minimalists. They used to be stressed and felt burdened. Now they were focussed, free and happy. That sounded good to me.

I looked up their blog, I read their book. I found the blog of the family I saw on TV months earlier. I couldn’t get enough of reading about this new cool thing called minimalism. I wanted it in my life.

I started with my wardrobe. I had so many clothes and accessories. Clothes that didn’t fit, clothes that were ripped or had stains that I couldn’t get out. I donated or threw them all out.

Then I tried again. I got rid of the clothes with tags still on them, clothes that I didn’t really wear and the ones that made me feel crap wearing. It was harder to do. I spent so much money buying them all! They were worth something and I could wear them one day. That’s how I used to feel.

I moved on to the other rooms in the house. The kitchen, the bathroom, the basement and so on. So much stuff that was sitting doing absolutely nothing. It took months (years even) for me to feel somewhat satisfied. I still declutter today, I love it.

When I look back, my life is not really that different. I don’t regret getting rid of anything. I think there has being many benefits.

I buy less stuff overall but I buy more things second-hand. I shop less on impulse and I shop more intentionally.  I don’t get excited by sales, I get excited by selling stuff. I spend less and I save more. I feel less stressed and I have more time. I use fewer resources and that makes me feel like I am at least doing something to help the environment.

The biggest benefit for me has occurred since having Bub. I get to be a stay at home mum. We can live off a single income. I am not forced to go back to work because we need it financially. I can base that decision on other things besides money. This feels freaking fantastic and I believe it would not be possible without minimalism.

So there you go. Thanks for reading!