Christmas is just around the corner but most of us are not even half way done with shopping for presents. So an idea came to mind: “Why not minimalize Christmas presents to stocking stuffers only?” It sure would be easier, cheaper and quicker. Imagine not trying to figure out preferences, sizes, favorite colors, and tastes of everyone on your list! This year stocking stuffers it is! (At least you only have to buy them for those who are spending the night at your house.)

Like all good legends, the story of hanging stockings by the chimney on Christmas Eve has several versions. The most popular one seems to be one of a poor man and his three daughters. The man worried that after his death, his daughters would be left without care, as no man will marry a woman with no dowry. Another man by the name of Nicholas lived in the same village and, after hearing about the man’s trouble, he decided to give the family the needed money but not make it a very obvious gift. One can dress the story up in many ways, but somehow gold coins appeared in stockings that the girls washed that night and hung over the chimney to dry.

Some say that Nicholas dropped the coins down the chimney, and them ending up in the stockings is an accident. Others, that Nicholas slipped the money into the stockings on purpose. In any case, the girls woke up in the morning to find the “present”. They got married and lived happily ever after, of course. The word spread and other children also started to hang stockings by the chimney, while others put their shoes outside the front door (many countries in Northern Europe have this tradition) in hope that St. Nicholas would pass by.

Over the years this tradition traveled to the US and evolved to a different kind of a stocking and different kinds of stocking stuffers. Today, we put anything from real money to Phillips screw drivers into stockings which are bought at Target, Pier One, or Bloomingdales. But in the US Christmas has also evolved into a steroidal present shopping spree. One or two small presents doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. So why not try to do it the old fashioned way and stop at just a few stocking stuffers? Some great ideas are personalized small toys, candy, scarves or gloves for women, t-shirts for men (yes, you can put a t-shirt in a stocking), or a gift certificate to their favorite store or spa.

Whichever you chose, remember that Christmas is not about presents, it’s about sharing of love and happiness. What’s the point of spending a lot of money on things that will be forgotten? Become a minimalist this Christmas! You will not only save time and money, but the planet as well (you know, less bags, products, gas spent, etc.)