With Christmas just around the corner, minimalism seemed like an interesting topic to explore. In recent years, minimalism has gained popularity in a culture overwhelmed by material possessions. Usually, I browse for novels instead of dwelling in the self-help section in bookstores, but even I have picked up the occasional minimalist manifesto at Powell’s. Leafing through the pages, I’ve come across list after list of ways to declutter your life. People suggest everything from purging all possessions to reorganizing your closet to rearranging furniture.
I do believe that less is more, but I don’t believe that adopting a Spartan interior design is the key to finding bliss. I think we’re missing the point of minimalism. The point isn’t to have minimalistic things, it is to reevaluate the desire to have things.
“I make myself rich by making my wants few." - Henry David Thoreau
A house with minimalistic objects in it won’t necessarily change the way you feel. Choking on our cluttered lives, we’ve tried to solve the problem by getting back to the basics. Getting rid of things until we reach the bare minimum and only keep objects that make us happy. Objects give a house a sense of personality and character. This is where the difference between minimalism and simplicity comes into play. I think the image below illustrates quite nicely the difference between simplicity and minimalism.
To me, minimalism erases a sense of individuality, while simplicity seeks to highlight the most meaningful aspects of individuality. So, how does this apply to the season of gift giving? Here are a few suggestions to carry with you as you embark on your gift giving quest.
Go for quality over quantity. Spend time thinking about how the gift reflects or highlights the aspects of the receiver. Make it heartfelt.
Gift giving has the potential to be an affirmation from one person to another, instead of simply an obligation. Let’s take the time this season to revisit our attitude towards gift giving and receiving. Happy Holidays!