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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

An Irresponsible Christmas

Underwear Christmas

We are clearly in the throes of the holiday-shopping season. Take a look around. The shopping malls are packed with herds of consumers. The storefronts are decorated in green and red. The jingly commercials are running nonstop.

The holiday season has much to recommend it, though. Each year around this time we all feel that warm-‘n’-fuzzy Christmastime nostalgia associated with the onset of winter. We break out the scarfs and the gloves and the winter coats. We go ice skating and sledding and eat hearty meals with our extended families. We take time off work and spend time with our loved ones and give thanks for the gift of life.

The problem is that we’ve been conditioned to associate this joyous time of year—the mittens and decorations and the family activities—with purchasing material items. We’ve trained ourselves to believe that buying stuff is part of Christmas.

We all know, however, that the holidays needn’t require gifts to be meaningful. Rather, this time of year is meaningful because of its true meaning—not the wrapped boxes we place under the tree.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with gifts. But it’s irresponsible for us to believe that purchasing presents is a required part of the holidays. Instead, we can celebrate the infinite gifts we have all around us. Even without presents—a sans-gifts holiday—we have everything we need to be jolly and merry and joyous on Christmas already.

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