How to Decorate for the Holidays as a Minimalist

It’s easy to see a minimalistic lifestyle as limiting instead of freeing. It can be difficult to figure out how to participate in the festivities of the Holidays without accumulating and owning a lot of things. So how can you celebrate and enjoy the magic of this Holiday season while sticking to your principles, avoiding unnecessary spending, and keeping your physical and mental spaces clear?

red pillar candle on white table cloth

Instead of buying items that are specifically made to be used as decoration, find decorative ways to use items you already have. For example, pretty candles can be used not only as decoration, but as light sources and to make your home smell pleasant. Placemats, tablecloths, bedding, and couch throws all can be used for both their original purpose as well as decoration. Photos, postcards, and greeting cards can also be displayed and used as decoration. White lights can both be used to decorate spaces during the Holiday season as well as other times of the year. Many people use them around their bed, photo collages, plants, and other areas around their homes to add a little extra charm year-round.

leafless tree on white wall

Another tip is to keep your home clean and uncluttered. That way, even if you have only one candle decorating a room, it will stand out and make the whole room look and feel festive. This can seem a lot more special and definitely more aesthetically-pleasing than a mantel full of knick-knacks. Natural materials like branches, burlap, pine cones, and twine give your home a comfy, not overly-done-up vibe.

shallow focus photo of red holiday tree ornament

You can also make your own decorations, which is more economical and eco-friendly than purchasing materials. It’s also a fun activity to do with family or friends. For example, I am planning on making a gingerbread house with my 3-year-old niece, as well as making ornaments for the tree.

hanging snowflakes paper decor

Choose decorations that can be used all season long, if not all year long, instead of for one specific holiday. For example, choose snowmen, which can be used all winter instead of Santa Claus, which doesn’t apply after December 25.

closed blue wooden door

Only have a certain amount of decorations. I know one person who has so many Christmas decorations, she is never able to use all of them and often forgets what she has. Keep a small collection of your favorites and focus on quality over quantity. Even a simple wreath hanging on the front door can transform the looks of a house.

Please let me know any tips you have for making your home reflect the beauty and cheer of the season while keeping your minimalistic principles in mind.

Why I Love Reading But Don’t Own Books

Some people might think it’s odd that I love reading but don’t own any books. Some might ask, “Why don’t you at least own your favorites?” Eight years ago, I donated all my books to the library and started using the library exclusively for my reading material. I had amassed so many books that they took up tons of room to store, and moving with them was a real chore. The great majority of my books I didn’t read twice, and some of them I had never read at all (the ones I got as gifts that didn’t interest me). I figured it made more sense to donate them to the library so everybody could get use of them and so I could be freed of dozens of possessions I really didn’t need or get any value out of owning. Nowadays, if I can’t find something at the library, I will request it through an interlibrary loan. If I’m unable to get it that way, I will buy it at a discount, read it, and then donate it to the library. A few weeks ago, my mother and I went to a used book store and bought several books. We have no intentions of keeping them. We will either donate them to the library or sell them back to the used book store. I feel like the library is a great, often untapped resource for community members that many people forget about once their school days are over. Are there any other lovers of books out there who feel the same way about owning books?

Starting a Postcard Collection

Deltiology is the study and collection of postcards. I have been playing with the idea of starting a collection, myself, although I’ve considered myself a minimalist for eight years now. As a child, I collected stickers, stationery, beanie babies, troll dolls, and My Little Ponies. However, I haven’t been a collector of anything in several years, especially anything non-consumable (for example, I have several bottles of different nail polish colors).

Some people collect postcards that have been sent to them by others. Some collect antique postcards they happen to find while browsing antique shops or specifically set out to find by browsing eBay or other online sites. Others enjoy collecting postcards from a specific niche or subject area, such as funny postcards or postcards that showcase teddy bears.

Still others enjoy collecting postcards from their own travels as mementos from the trips. It is a goal of mine to travel more frequently (I know I am hardly alone in this), and I think it would be a neat idea to write travel memories on the back of postcards I find during those travels. Although postcards aren’t the most unique travel souvenir, it’s not surprising why so many people collect them. They are easy to find, cheap, light, compact, and can be easily stored or displayed. They could also act as an homage to my love of writing.

Do you have any collections that are special to you? Why did you decide to collect what you collect?