Christmas Shopping is probably on everybody’s mind this time of year and I believe it shouldn’t be. Without sounding like the Grinch that stole Christmas, I think prioritizing what really matters should get preference. Most often we spend time and money on gifts for people on what we think they want instead of asking what they need. You’ll be surprised to learn that spending time with you is perhaps what the people in your life really desire. Especially your close family, your husband and children.

Promoting Christmas shopping and the hype around it has been visible in retail stores as early as in October. I was shocked to notice that the Christmas decorations were already up in our local grocery store and wondered if this has always been the case? Is it normal for large retailers to start with transforming their stores into red, green and snowy like spaces as early as October? Like I said, I am not against the festive season or the hype around Christmas but I do feel that we can do without the reminders of Christmas shopping and getting the perfect gift for whoever. I also feel that it is quite ridiculous for local stores in South Africa to transform their stores into something that looks like a scene from a snowy North Pole movie scene. It is Summer after all!

Christmas Shopping is most definitely last on my list of things that I need to do this year. Since discovering the minimalist in myself and consciously trying to focus my thoughts on living a life with intention, I have discovered that it is people that bring joy. It is friends and family that really matters. The friends and family that we aren’t always able to see on a regular basis due to our hectic work schedules and whatever keeps us busy. Spending time with a friend or a sibling is priceless and forms memories that can last a lifetime instead of sending a Woolworths voucher or a printed cup as a reminder that you do think of them.

Living with intention provides you with the freedom to choose how you spend your time, with what and with whom. Lets be honest, if you intentionally choose to spend a day or two at your local crowded mall to accumulate all the presents you think your loved ones will appreciate, you are choosing to spend time with stuff and grumpy cashiers surrounded by fake snow instead of spending quality time with those people that really matter. Shopping online for presents is also time spent away from family and although a better alternative than standing in a line you are still choosing to pay attention to stuff as opposed to the people around you.

Christmas presents are great, I love them just as much as you. Gifting presents are also great but have you considered what happens to the gifts after a while? Do they end up in cupboards, as unused items? Do they end up as part of the clutter in your home? If it does, why do we continue to participate in the shopping habits of a typical consumer? I think it is time to acknowledge that we simply have too much stuff in our homes, our cupboards and our lives. It is time to rethink our consumerist lifestyles and get back to the basics. Basics in like spending your attention and time in conversations with the people you love and appreciate most. Instead of spending your hard earned money on buying multiple gifts that will end up as clutter, consider the following activities I have listed for you to do and that will help get you closer to your family.

10 Things you can do this festive season with your family that has more value than buying tangible stuff:

1. Spend some time with your family and ask about their year, their biggest achievements, their aspirations and what they are planning for next year. Your partner or daughter might have an aspiration to start a new business and will require your support and advise or more importantly would require an investment to get the business started. Starting a business idea doesn’t always have to be expensive and your contribution can be as simple as contributing to the initial costs to setting up a website. Our website for Walle Declutter was created with love by our friends over at Digital ID – That provides, optimise and maintain innovative digital platforms to allow any business to strive and become category leaders.

2. If your husband is a sport enthusiast you might want to consider getting his favourite rugby hero to send him a special message for the holidays by visiting Myfanpark.

3. I am sure you have noticed that all the toys you have bought for your children ends up somewhere in drawer or cupboard and probably drives you mad as it forms part of all the disorganized clutter you wish you hadn’t accumulated over the years. My recommended solution: Stop buying plastic, tangible stuff to keep your children busy. They ultimately want love, affection and attention from you. Consider spending time with them by taking them for family-friendly activities in and around Gauteng. The Grove Mall is home to Pretoria’s only ice-skating rink and a popular destination for young and old, while the Imax cinema is right across the hall for those who like to see their blockbusters big. The little ones can come in their swimsuits and have hours of fun in the toddler water park, and you can visit the entertainment centre to have a go at 10-pin bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, a 4D simulator and classic arcade games.

4. If you or your husband is lovers of Irish Whiskey you might want to get tickets for you both or for hubby and his friends to go and enjoy a day out at The Jameson Distillery, that is on tour and is taking place at the Sandton City Rooftop and will wow guests with an array of curated whiskey experience that brings the 241-old-distillery in Bow Street, Dublin to life in Mzansi.

5. You might want to consider your almost teenager girls or guys that might want to experience a live concert of Justin Bieber that will be performing live at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg this December. I will not say much more as I am not a fan. Your children could be so I thought I’ll be considered.

6. You might want to experience why less is more and have your home organized as it never has been before and start binge watching The Home Edit on Netflix or take on a decluttering journey by watching tidying up with Marie Kondo for inspiration. If you are still not convinced that you’d be able to successfully declutter your home or organize it, luckily we are here to assist you.

7. On a serious note, if your are really thinking of taking the time to declutter your home this holiday, it would be best to do it with your family. It can be a family activity and it should be fun without distractions of school, work or any other obligations. You can simply plan with your family and determine the areas that need organizing and ask each member to participate, share ideas and transform your home to a space you have all made a contribution to.

8. The one thing that I am most looking forward to doing is reading a few of the books I have purchased over the last year and just haven’t had time to read it as yet. Here are some books I recommend you read this holiday: The Afro minimalist’s guide to living with less by Christine Platt; Never split the difference by Chris Voss and Love people use things by The Minimalists.

9. You can also consider just having coffee and conversations with your loved ones and stay home with the ones that matters to you.

10. Travel!! Family holidays are probably the best and it is memories that you can treasure for as long as you live. Believe it or not but I haven’t yet experienced the Garden Route and I am looking forward to spending time with my loved one at the beautiful Turbine Hotel & Spa in Knysna this December. A place to relax, to drink wine and to read those books I have mentioned. Travelling can be a great adventure to clear your mind, relax and start with new fresh ideas. So instead of spending a fortune on tangible presents consider spending money on experiences which lasts much longer.

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