How to Shop for the Holidays like a Minimalist

We all know that the holiday season is a time for giving. We can give our time and our love to the people we care about, but we can also give material things. Since giving time and love isn’t as simple as swiping a credit card, we choose to focus on the latter.  From Thanksgiving night to right up to the day of Christmas, malls are crowded with anxious shoppers trying to find perfect gifts for the people on their shopping list.

Once you find that perfect gift, you guard it like gold from other consumers and willingly stand in long lines to ensure that you have it to put under your Christmas tree.

The real irony comes the day after Christmas when malls are once again crowded with shoppers trying to RETURN those same gifts that you so painstakingly bought for them. This process of shopping, buying, returning, and shopping again has become somewhat of a norm in our culture. No one seems to question how much time, energy, and money we waste each year.

Now I know that we all buy gifts for family or friends with good intentions, we just want to show them how much we love them by putting thought into their gift. But why do we put ourselves through all the stress?

This holiday season, shop like a minimalist so that you can have more time and energy to actually enjoy this time of year. I bet there are plenty of other things you’d rather be doing than last minute, stressful shopping in crowded malls so MAKE IT HAPPEN.


4 ways to Shop for the Holidays like a Minimalist

One// Start early

Be in control of your time and your stress level. There is absolutely no reason to wait until the last minute to buy all of your Christmas gifts. Start browsing stores and Amazon for inspiration as early as November. Keep a list of ideas and write down the price of each item so that you can make a clear shopping plan later. Make this experience of finding inspiration fun! Allow yourself to think outside the box and be creative. Don’t buy anything at this point yet!


Two//Make a Shopping Plan

Look at your list of inspiration and start putting names next to the items that you feel would be best suited for a specific person. Take a minute to also analyze the price, just because something is more expensive does NOT guarantee that will be more appreciated than a similar item that’s equally as good but at a cheaper cost to you. Ask yourself, “Is this item really worth the price?” If it isn’t, then do some more research and see if you can find a similar item at a cheaper price. Sales are the best during this time, so make sure you stick to your budget! My shopping motto is always: look and you WILL find it!


Three//Consider giving Experiences rather than Material Gifts

Take a minute to just think about all the wrapping paper, plastic wrap, and boxes that we use during the holiday season. I know it looks pretty under the Christmas tree, but don’t forget that the day after Christmas, everything goes in the trash. One way that you can alleviate this wastage of paper products, is to give gifts that don’t require wrapping – tickets to concerts, plays, or shows. You can buy a cooking course for your girlfriends. I started doing this with my spouse for birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas and honestly, we enjoy the experience together so much more than if I had just given a material gift. Consider not adding more things to someone’s already clutter-filled life.


Four//Shop with Tunnel Vision

Take your shopping plan with you as you head to the stores or go online to shop. Have a clear, focused mindset on what you need to accomplish while you are there. If you don’t go with a plan to get stuff done, you will most definitely wander and waste time. You might find something else that looks good and then you might as well throw your shopping list out the window! I would also keep a time limit on your shopping, since you already did your research, you know what you want and where to find it, so shopping should be easy.


The holiday season is the ultimate time of year to slow down and spend quality time with the people in your lives that truly matter, which requires having a “minimalist mindset”. Any feeling of stress or overwhelm just doesn’t belong. Be determined to stop the anxiety, debt, and stress this year by remembering that you are in control of your life and your time. 

I promise you that your family doesn’t care about having the “perfect-looking” holiday season, but instead wants you to make memories with them.


What is your favorite part about the holidays? What would you like to do more of this year? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe for weekly simple living tips and inspiration!



Stay blessed, Sharmin


“The greatest gifts are not wrapped in paper, but in love.” 


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