Intentional Living Sustainable Living

Shopping sustainably & minimally this holiday season

The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity to practice gratitude, spend time with family, and take some time off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s pretty easy, though, to get caught up in gift giving, amazing holiday sales, and the frenzy of the holiday madness to really appreciate what it’s all about. In a time of mass consumerism and spending lots of money with things that may ultimately just lead to clutter, we can do better for our wallets, our homes, and our planet.

We put together several ways to remain true to your minimalist, sustainable values during the holiday time.


  1. Before you buy anything for yourself, ask yourself if you need it. I am not a minimalist by nature, and it’s easy for me to get caught up in a great deal. In order to avoid this, I always ask myself two simple questions: Do I need this? and How will I use this? Generally the answer is no, and if I can’t fill in the blanks, then it doesn’t come home with me, simple as that.
  2. If you can’t decide, walk away. This is one of my favorite litmus tests- if you are on the fence about buying something, leave it. If you can’t stop thinking about it over the next day or two, then go back for it. More often than not you’ll forget about it, and if you don’t, you know you really want it!
  3. Consider the cost per use. Ever since I set intention for my life of living better with less, I have splurged on products that are more expensive but bring me joy and last longer. In the long run, they actually cost the same as a cheaper product because you don’t have to replace them as often. For example, instead of constantly buying cheap purses that ripped and had the fake leather peel off, I bought myself a beautiful, well-crafted, made in USA leather bag last holiday season, and it remains one of my favorite items. Treat yourself and it will pay off in the long run.
  4. Invest in yourself. Whether your priority is to eat healthily, meditate, work out more, take more time off, or upgrade your wardrobe, set an intention for the holidays and new year and buy yourself something that helps your reach your goals, not something that sabotages you.


  1. Ask your friends and family what they want. We’ve all been there: that ugly hat we got from Aunt Franny instead of the cool one from the store across the street. Avoid getting people things they don’t want or need by asking them what they want! Receiving a gift that you actually want and will use far outweighs the short-lived joy of a surprise (that might actually just be a letdown!).
  2. Consider giving experiences instead of physical gifts. Skip giving out physical gifts and opt for experiences with your loved one. A day trip, or an international vacation, tickets to a show, or just spending time with someone you don’t usually get to see may outweigh any product.
  3. Make a list of the gifts you need to buy, including gifts for yourself. It’s easier to hit the mall or holiday markets when you are on a mission for specific gifts. Avoid the distractions by sticking to your well thought-out list, and you’ll probably save some cash too.
  4. Use recycled gift wrap. Newspapers, magazine, recycled tissue or gift wrap are all good alternatives to going out and buying new wrapping paper. If you don’t have any of the above, consider putting the gift in a simple gift bag so that your recipient can reuse it!

We’re curating a guide for The M List of minimal, sustainable products which will go live after Thanksgiving. Sign up so you don’t miss it!

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