Teaching Kids About the Benefits of Minimalism at Christmas
One important way families can help look after the environment is by buying less. Australia is the second-highest rubbish producer in the world, with 22 million tonnes of waste going to landfill each year. It’s estimated each household spends $1266 annually on goods that are never used, not including food. Data like these only suggest that it is necessary to adopt a philosophy of Minimalism at Christmas
Children often received cheap, mass-produced gifts for Christmas which they play with a few times and discard. These items can take decades to break down. To reduce your family’s footprint and encourage them to adopt a less materialistic lifestyle, start planting the seeds of minimalism with kids this Christmas.
Change the Focus
The most common question people ask children on Christmas day is ‘what did you get?” Instead of asking about presents, encourage your family to change the focus of the day. You want your kids to see Christmas as about being with loved ones, not receiving presents.
To make a difference, think about volunteering as a family next year to serve Christmas lunch to those in need in your community. Charities provide free lunches in many parts of the country. Helping others who are less fortunate will allow kids to appreciate the true spirit of Christmas.
Set an Example
The summer break is an ideal time to declutter the house. Set an example by removing the things you don’t want or use anymore and encourage kids to do the same. This is an opportunity for children to think about how much use they got out of presents from the previous year.
You can also take kids with you to charity stores and recycling centres when you drop items off so they can see firsthand what happens to unwanted stuff. Consider trying a secondhand store first when you need something. This will teach kids everything doesn’t have to be brand new.
Give with Intent
Minimalism doesn’t mean cutting out presents altogether, it just means giving in a more intentional way. Rather than buying multiple gifts, focus on quality items that are needed and will last a long time.
‘Experience’ gifts for kids such as entry to a trampoline park, movie tickets or hot air ballooning help cut back on clutter and create lasting memories. Encourage kids to make handmade gifts such as a necklace or bookmark for others. The lesson is that the intention behind the gift is more important than the object.
Benefits of Minimalism
- Happiness is intangible. Children from minimalist households learn that happiness comes from strong relationships and a meaningful life, not material objects.
- Less stuff means more space. When rooms are less cluttered, there’s more room for kids to play. They will come to relish the feeling of space and freedom.
- Time is precious. When you reduce your possessions, you free up more time to do the things you love.
- Making things is fun. When you encourage kids to make things themselves, their creativity blooms.
- Possessions don’t define them. Young people who know about minimalism don’t need to prove themselves through expensive brand names and material items. Their sense of self is stronger because it comes from within.
Teaching kids about the benefits of minimalism this Christmas will set the foundation for a happy and healthy new year.