Being a eco-friendly minimalist can sometimes make holidays a bit stressful. All I see is lots of unnecessary waste, useless products, and for a majority of families, lots of debt. I read an article that some families can have a bill in the thousands of dollars for Christmas gifts. And the sad reality is that most of those gifts will be obsolete in a few months. I used to be part of that equation. But in this post, I am going to open my doors for you to explore how I now have a fulfilling, purposeful, and memorable holiday season.
I am number two of three in the line up of children in my house. Taken that we were the offspring of two only children, growing up, we were a bit spoiled. Not in a bratty sort of way, as we were raised to be thankful for anything, and not base our love for grandparents on how much they would spend on us. But come Christmas, or birthdays, the wagon load of colorful gift wrapped presents got wheeled out. I remember going to my grandparents and my mouth dropping at the mounds of presents. But soon after opening all the un-wrapping was over, and the excitement done, I found it all the be a bit… empty.. The joy and fulfillment I thought I would get from the laundry list of gifts was absent. The feeling of wastefulness has always been at the back of my mind, I’m just glad I finally reached where I am in my eco-friendly/minimalist/waste free journey… even if it took me 10 years to get here.
So, where am I at now? When I tell people I’m a minimalist, they assume that I live in sackcloth and mope around mumbling about all the wonderful items I cannot have. False! Instead of looking at minimalism as removing joy from my life, I see it as an opportunity to have joy and fulfillment in every item I own.
(If you would like to know more about my journey to minimalism, and tips I have, leave a comment below!)
Now onto my Christmas! I for one could care less about holidays. Most are based on a pagan basis, but I treasure the times where my whole family is gathered in one place, in our PJs, with steaming cups of tea or coffee. That is what I want more of in life. Not gifts, or money, but experiences and memories.
I have a very understanding family, and they were more than happy to accommodate what little I wanted. Although they gave me some funny looks, I assured them that each item I had, would be well loved and used to the fullest. All I have to say is Google Docs with links to the exact items I desired was a lifesaver!
I personally did not buy and presents for anyone this year. Instead, I took hours compiling heartfelt letter addressing each individual. Not any fluff and tuff, but memories, thoughts and feelings I had for each and everyone of them. Including an IOU for an outing to gain new memories. That is a gift that I believe holds more weight than a pair of socks.
But what did I get?! 😉 Below is the list of items I received for my presents (as well as links if you desire to find them). Enjoy!
- Vegan Tote. I have fallen in love with Etsy. It’s a wonderful resource of creative people making products that they are passionate about. I also find that most are very accommodating for less packaging when shipping, and eco-frindely materials. This tote serves me two purposes: It’s my new purse, and a produce bag when I go to my local farmers market. Nothing like spreading Veganism where I can. 😉
- Waxed Canvas Toiletry Bag: I love the look of distressed items. It makes me feel more rustic, and down to earth. Unfortunately, the look I was desiring was in the majority of leather products. Um.. no thank you. So after some research I found waxed canvas to a be a beautiful substitute! It distresses in the same way, and is eco-friendly. I use this bag for all my bathroom needs. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t really need it.
- Zero-waste Bamboo Cutlery: Plastic waste is a huge problem in this world. It is destroying the environment, and have you really thought of what your plastic actually contains? (I found this article very helpful for information on plastic cutlery waste.) That is why I switched over to a eco-friendly bamboo cutlery set. It comes in very handy when I go to a joint where they use plastic ware out of convenience. And the straw is amazing! Because everywhere you go, plastic straws are used.
- Eco-Friendly Mini Make-up Brushes: These brushes are amazing! Cruelty-free, recycled aluminum, bamboo.. and perfect for any minimalist backpacker. Why would I use full size brushes when mini’s do the exact same thing? Even now, I really only utilize two out of the three brushes.
- Bamboo Hair Brush: Again, why use full size when smaller sizes work just as well. Eco-friendly, and also a scalp massage brush. Works amazing for detangling, and stimulating blood flow to the head. It’s also naturally anti-static which is great for someone with frizzy hair.. like me. 🙂
- Bamboo Toothbrush Travel Case: As I was thinking on how to eliminate my plastic waste, it hit me that even for transporting my toothbrush, I used plastic. No more! I switched to this eco-friendly bamboo travel case. It is light, compact, and overall, and sturdy and secure product.
- Bento Box: Although they still use plastic, it is a natural and eco-friendly product. I have seen so many Bento Boxes on Instagram and Amazon, I had to know what the fuss was all about. Holy cow! I love it. I have eliminated my plastic bag waste, and it comes with its own cutlery. Lightweight, and compact. The perfect lunch box!
- Backdrop: Thanks to my ever growing Instagram account, a new backdrop was needed. I hope to get a few more from Etsy. 😉 (The backdrop I linked is similar, but not exact.)
If you would like to know what other eco-friendly products I use, or routines I follow, comment below!