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with Kat Barcenilla


Minimalist Christmas

The past few years I’ve been increasingly inspired by the minimalist movement. As a girl who once spent all her weekends manically hounding the high street and her evenings scouring online shops for “great deals”, it’s been a positive and transformative period with money saved, less stuff, and more time to actually live. Since moving to New Zealand, the inner consumer that used to consume me, hasn’t made too many appearances.

With Christmas coming up, how does this mindset translate during the festive season, when everything is just that bit extra? We’re encouraged to give, spend, socialise, eat and be merry in excessive amounts. It’s all about the abundance, cramming it all in, maximising your time, efforts and consumption. Here are some ways I try to reign in the craziness and have a more minimalist approach.

OK, so I used to be one of the many magpies, eye-spying new sparkly decos from the shiny shelves of Primark, every single year. They are a solely decorative, non-functional item which might not fit under the minimalist outlook but I still love them and how they make it feel all Christmassy. You can still have decorations, just pick them wisely when you buy them and use the same ones annually. You only see them once a year so you can’t really get bored with them. Try to opt for sustainable materials, like wood, felt or wool. Another idea is to get creative and make your own using natural materials, such as gathered foliage and berries.

Gift with consideration, thought and intention. Once upon a time my partner and I used to go into Christmas blindly, with no budget for gifts and attempting to surprise each other with unique and interesting items we’d hope the other would be touched by. Instead we now buy each other a small something within a set budget and then enjoy a meal out with a few festive drinks. This will be a real treat, and we won’t end up accumulating more stuff we were fine without before. Living far away from family has also discouraged us from buying lots of gifts for each other. We’ll usually send a letter and photos, and if I’m lucky I’ll get a small box of UK treats. It seems silly to send objects across the oceans, especially considering pricey postage costs and your carbon footprint.

Santa doesn’t bring gifts to grown-ups, meaning someone is responsible for making the magic happen! Catering for more people than usual naturally puts a lot of pressure on the host. Everyone can do their bit by bringing along a dish or dessert to ease the workload. The festive cooking can be turned into a social gathering where you can all get involved with a glass of wine. There is less chance of going overboard on the groceries and everything will be less overwhelming.

Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating and enjoy this magical time of year. See you in 2020! Merry Christmas,

Kat x


Our annual Christmas walk


Attempting to decorate sustainably.