A Minimalist Approach to Family Gatherings


With the Holiday season on our door step, we often begin our festive preparations and gift hunting adventures. We take on the hustle and bustle of the season and as many Holiday celebrations as we possibly can muster enough energy for. As a society, we cherish this time spent with one another and the memories created during our gatherings. We hand-select the perfect dinner menu, traditional recipes, and all of the décor we can squeeze under one roof. In a sense, the busier and more festive we are, the greater “Holiday Spirit” we must possess. However, the minimalist tends to take a slightly different approach to this season we all cherish. With careful thought and calm preparation, the minimalist approach to any family gathering has a few highlights worth mentioning.

Keep the Gathering Small and Intimate

During the Holiday season, we may feel the need to invite all those who have impacted our lives in some way over the last year. The invitations may include neighbors and relatives, regulars at the local café, and even our doctors and hair stylists. The list may be long, but the table settings are few. Minimalists see the season of celebration in a slightly different light. They use this time to reflect on those closest to them. They understand the value of a small inner circle and the reality of how many people they can connect with on a given evening set aside for celebration. To plan your guest list the minimalist’s way, take some time to write down those you hold closest to your heart. Whether it is solely family on your list or your closest friends and coworkers are also invited, these individuals are the people who will continue to be with you throughout your life. Consider how much time you will be able to spend with each person, and ultimately, how many guests you are to invite based on the length of the celebration. Remember, this list will be different for everyone.

Keep the Menu Specialized and Decadent

Another area we often get a bit too extravagant in when it comes to planning is the menu and the portion sizes of each dish. Rather than thinking about the quantity, such as the number of potatoes you will need to buy for 10lbs of mashed potatoes, begin to consider the quality of the food you provide. More often than not, your guests will not like every single dish presented to them, which means you do not need to make an excessive amount of food for every entrée served. Instead, take a minimalist’s point of view when preparing your meal. It is important to supply enough food for everyone’s bellies to be full, however, you do not need to provide an indulgent amount of food for each course. Keep your preparations small and visually appealing. Purchase quality ingredients and explore exciting ways to cook, as well as, present each course. Also consider smaller plates and small proportions. This allows your guests to savor each bite, and if they love the food they are enjoying, there will be the opportunity to converse about the deliciousness of the course and the recipe for them to receive. Food is to be enjoyed and savored, not to be scarfed in a single setting.

It is About Connection Not Entertainment

Try to worry less about what you will do to entertain your guests, and more about the individuals you are inviting. What are their stories? What big moments are they experiencing in their lives? The more you consider the people you are inviting, the more pleasing and enjoyable the evening will be. We often forget the importance of connection when planning our gatherings, however, the minimalist always keeps in mind the “why” to their festivities. Although they may plan a few activities for the evening, most of the focus is on the people and the celebration to be had amongst friends and family.

Gifts are Often Unnecessary

Today, many people consider gifts to be a MUST during the Holiday season. We spend hours shopping for the “wants” of our family and friends and then even more time strategically wrapping each individual item. Although the intention is thoughtful, the number of gifts we often rain on our guests is quite unnecessary. To take a minimalist approach to your gift-giving this Holiday season, consider opting for a small token of appreciation for each guest at your table. Selecting a gift that each member at your table will enjoy still allows for your guests to feel appreciated, but also allows you to put your thought and energy in other aspects of the gathering. By providing a small gesture, you eliminate the need to purchase several larger gifts, as well as, the pressure to find the perfect gift for every person. You are able to focus more on creating an evening for everyone to be present for another and less energy on the material items to be gifted. Also, be sure to let your guests know gifts are not expected, because this also takes the pressure off of them, and will allow them to simply come to your house to enjoy an evening of celebration.

The Holiday season is certainly a time of celebration. It is a time where we should gather around the dinner table and enjoy the company of those we cherish most. This season embrace family gatherings the minimalist’s way, and you will find yourself wrapped up in all this season truly has to offer without all of the little distractions.

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