To us, essentialism is about minimizing the “stuff” while maximizing the quality of our possessions and experiences. Our businesses afford us financial freedom + our essentialist lifestyle helps us to maintain that wealth in a unique way.
We opt out of the materialistic parts of the “Hallmark” holidays. Instead, we hand-write letters to each other on birthdays + anniversaries. We buy a perennial landscaping bush for flowers instead of the fresh-cut ones to put in a vase. We enjoy a good meal with good company + that’s been perfect for us.
But just because we’ve eliminated the material items (for the most part) doesn’t mean that we’ve cheapened out on enjoying our hard work in other forms.
Here’s the 5 minimalist gifts we give each other every year (and, no, they’re not always minimal in price tag):
Extra mortgage payment
We make a full payment every January, which shows our Mint.com bills as always well within “the green” budget. Additionally, we round up every mortgage payment to an eye-appealing whole number for the year. Instead of $2,156.13/Month, we would pay $2,200/Month and have the little extra applied to the principal amount due. When you make an additional mortgage payment every year for
Classic luxury item
Burberry trench coat, Gucci loafers, Hermes belt, Louis Vuitton purse, diamond earrings, etc. We can afford those brands and the high quality lasts for us. We are intentional about our one big gift and truly think about it during the year. Any clothing or accessory replaces a worn item in our capsule wardrobe. When we were first starting out, luxury was a lot different. Choose for yourself what is a high goal to afford price-wise, but do not go in to debt.
Mom, Dad and Babies! This is where we would do a school vacation week away — like Disney or another bucket-list trip. As our kids get older and schedules are more complex, we’ve talked about transitioning this to a vacation home rental in the summer and invite extended family. Again, when we first started out, vacation was visiting family who lived out-of-town + staying with them instead of a hotel. Meet yourself where you’re at, but get out for some adventure!
With a 2-year-old daughter and Baby #2 on the way, we’re in a season of staying home. It’s too emotionally hard for me to steal away for even a dinner away, let alone an entire weekend! When our youngest is old enough to be comfortable with an overnight, we’ll return to our our “mandatory marriage trip” every year. For now, our couples getaway means that the kids come with for a more local overnight — like Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard — where we can have a familiar family member or babysitter takeover for an hour or two in a fun-for-us-adults location.
A simple Christmas
Then Christmas — our biggest holiday — is simple: we do the “want, need, wear, read” strategy. This has made my life infinitely easier — I am so happy to not be a frantic shopping mom. Four meaningful gifts for each person under the tree. My favorite hack for my “read” gift is to get a family yearbook done with our photos from the year ahead.
And when the time comes for our littles to understand about “Santa” we will use this method: the “becoming Santa” story.
How do you stick to the most meaningful parts of holidays and gift-giving?
Share in the comments below!