The difficulties of a Minimalist Christmas

We really tried hard this year to have a Minimalist Christmas. The biggest hurdles I’ve found were being minimalist about food, so as to create less waste and also with gifts. To be honest, we did Christmas on a budget and I’ve managed to combine most of the leftovers into other meals. So big plus points there!

My biggest frustration has been with the gifts exchanged. Firstly, we agreed no gifts to the extended family. We rarely see each other and so, we don’t know what each others likes and dislikes are. It’s more important that we spend time together. We’re also aware that many of our family members struggle financially. We carefully created a very minimal Christmas list, stating our minimalist aims. We specified ONLY items on the list and that we would prefer people to give a gift to charity if they were unsure, on our behalf. Now, I’d say a good 75% of the family grasped this and we have received an abundance of gift cards that will allow us to have experiences all year long. The most exciting one is a Segway trail through a forest. We can also enjoy the cinema and coffee which are real treats.

However, I am unsure how to approach the rest of the family about the gifts we received, but did not ask for. In fact, the ones we specifically requested NOT to have! The incidental little items that people think would be fun, but which have no use and simply add to the clutter. The things that people think will be useful, but you already have and so will just add to the clutter. Or the multitude of plants that people think you would like, maybe I can forgive those more because they do provide an experience of sorts. But I only have so much room on my window sill. Do we just take them all to a charity shop or car boot and say nothing? I would love to hear your thoughts.