This is our first year as a minimalist couple, even though this is our 3rd Christmas together. I cannot speak to what Naoma’s Christmas’ were like growing up, but I can tell you about mine. My parents were always very generous and giving and I never lacked a ton of really great gifts to open. However, the thing I remember most was the fact that my whole family would get together on Christmas Eve and have a big Italian seafood feast. The preparation of that meal took my parents most of the day and I couldn’t wait for the meal to commence once my grandparents arrived from the city. We would sit around the table for hours laughing and telling stories. During some of my best memories even my Great Grandfather, Carlo Gargiulo, was in attendance. He would tell us stories about how he came to America, it was like sitting with living history. My Grandfather, Ralph Gargiulo, was quite the storyteller and would keep everyone laughing and fill my head with visions of the cars and boats he was always building. We would then go to Church for an evening service then come home and enjoy the Italian pastries brought in from the city, then it was time to open presents! The anticipation had built all night but we would go from youngest to oldest, and everyone had to watch each present be opened as well as full rounds of kisses and hugs between each gift recipient, it was as magical a memory as I can muster.
Fast forward and I have kept some of the same traditions in my own family, but the holiday lost its luster over the years as it became a struggle to pay for it. Year after year, no budget, just an endless parade of decorations and gifts and lists of wants. Maybe part of that is just the perspective change from being a child to being an adult, but I believe it is more than that. The holidays have gone bezerk, Christmas as an indicator on the health of the economy, retail stores not even waiting for our day of Thanksgiving to be complete before making us want more. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, it’s exhausting, and shallow and petty. Anyhow, good or bad, Naoma and I now reject the notion that we have to do what everyone else is doing and as a fairly new minimalist couple we are gradually making changes and creating our own new traditions.
So, how does a minimalist couple celebrate Christmas especially, with 5 kids? For starters, Christmas is no longer a celebration of credit card debt and retail servitude. No, there is a strict budget from which we will not deviate. We will buy our family a couple of nice thoughtful gifts and hopefully, that, plus our unencumbered attention and time will be enough. We no longer feel that the “things” are the only things that matter and are trying to lead by example. Heck, our kids all have two Christmas’, one with us and one with their other parents.
Another simple change that we have made is that we are wrapping our gifts all in solid white wrapping paper, keeping it simple and we feel it looks nice and classy as well. Pacon Natural Kraft Wrapping Rolls, 36″X200′, 40, White
But guess what? This paper is so reasonably priced, that we will be wrapping all of our gifts this way. Weddings, birthdays, baby shower, Christmas, graduation…. no matter the occasion, we have the wrapping paper ready to go.
And then finish it off with some simple cotton twine. Ling’s moment 300FT(100 Meters) Black&White 8-ply Cotton Twine
One less thing to stress about, because giving gifts shouldn’t be stressful. Gift giving should be a joyful expression of love and affection. I am truly looking forward to a Christmas celebration with my family this year, looking forward to the food, the gifts, the cold weather, but most importantly, I am looking forward to the time we will spend together, with our cell phones off making memories.
Our first year intentionally celebrating the holidays as a minimalist couple is off to a great start and we are looking forward to sharing more about how we can strive to live a more simpler life.
Merry Christmas to all our readers and I truly hope that you find peace that lasts into the New Year as well.