Minimalism at Christmas Time

minimalism at Christmas Time

Minimalism at Christmas time sounds weird to someone who is new to this way of life.

I am viewing Christmas and gifts completely differently than I used to.  The holiday season is so much more than stress and gift-giving.  Here are a few things that have changed during the holiday season since becoming minimalist.

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas

Simplify everything that you can.  A lot of us find the holiday season stressful when it is supposed to be fun.  This is because we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect.

Find the perfect gifts, spend the right amount of money, decorate a certain way, host the perfect party, and the list goes on.

Let go of perfection and focus on family, friends, and fun.  Make your Christmas party a potluck, or tell everyone you will all cook together.  In other words, make your own rules for Christmas time.

When we first became minimal I decided to take a moment and question everything we tend to do during the holidays.  Why were we buying gifts for everyone?  Did I really need to go to all of the parties I was invited to?

That is when I realized half of the things I did during the holidays were because that was how we always did it.  I wasn’t really thinking, I was on holiday autopilot.

Taking a few moments before Christmas hits to pause and think about how you want to feel during the holidays will help to make them stress-free. 

Watch Minimalism at Christmas Time

Slow Down

Don’t let the Christmas season fly by in a rush.  Think about how you want to spend your time and how you want to feel.  I like to feel cozy and relaxed this time of the year, so I make that a priority.  Setting aside time to read, drink tea, and look at Christmas lights.

It is ok to say no to holiday parties for a relaxing night at home.  Do what makes you happy and don’t feel bad about it.  

Enjoy some alone time if that is what you like.  In the past, the month of December would be jam-packed with to-do lists, gifts to buy, and parties to rush off to.

Now I am very intentional when it comes to my time and how I choose to spend it.  Everything that you say yes to means you are saying no to something else.

Enjoy the quiet moments when you can.


Simplify Christmas Traditions

There are so many Christmas traditions out there.  For instance the elf on the shelf game.  Yes, I have 2 children and no we don’t do the elf on the shelf game.

You might love this tradition, and that is great, but I decided to pass.  If something doesn’t work for your life or causes unnecessary work then ask why.

Keep the traditions you love and dump the rest.

how to make salt ornaments

I like making fun Christmas ornaments and crafts with my kids!

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Holiday Shopping as a Minimalist

In the past (pre-minimalism), I would shop and gather gifts for months leading up to Christmas.  I always hated heading out at the last minute and feeling rushed.
This gift gathering would begin in September and lead up until right before Christmas.  I would spend a lot of time thinking about what to get each person and researching where to get these things.  Bargain hunting for the best price.
The only thing is when you start gathering stuff way ahead of time you end up with a lot of gifts.  All this gift gathering takes up a lot of time and energy and seems somewhat pointless.  Most people don’t even need anything, but we feel as if we have to get something because they might get us something.
Since adopting minimalism I have completely transformed my way of thinking when it comes to gift-giving.
Minimalist Christmas

Minimal Gifts For Kids

In the past I always thought we needed to open a ton of gifts, the more the better.  With this mentality, you end up getting things just for the sake of having something to open.

Now I only buy a few gifts for my children and most of those items are something they really need or will love.  I try to limit the gifts to about 4 each.
Following the rule: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  Minimalism at Christmas time can still feel fun and special.  We try to make Christmas morning less about gift opening and more about family fun.  Enjoying a homemade pancake breakfast and taking turns opening the gifts we do give.
Instead of gathering these gifts for months leading up to Christmas, I now make a list and shop for everything on the same day.  Normally I find everything online and have it shipped.  It is easier to stick to my list when shopping online.

Gifts For Adults?

This is going to sound crazy!  We don’t give gifts to the adults in our family.  Most of us buy whatever we need when we need it.

Giving gifts for the sake of gift-giving seemed crazy after becoming minimalist.  This saved us a lot of time, money, and the stress of unwanted items coming into our homes.

Try having a conversation with your family members before Christmas time to let them know that you don’t need any gifts this year.  A simple explanation about how you want to simplify usually works great.

When we said no gifts, our whole extended family was relieved and sounded great!  Let’s just get together, have fun, and make this a no-gift party.

I was surprised Christmas was just as fun without all the gifts.  It is actually less stressful because leading up to Christmas I don’t have to worry about what I am going to get everyone.

Giving up this silly notion that we need to buy every one we know a gift whether they need one or not saved so much hassle.  


Minimalist Christmas Decorations

We still decorate our home for Christmas even though we are minimalist.  The main difference is how I decorate!

I try to use all the decorations I already have and I don’t buy anything new.  Most of our decor has sentimental meaning and has been passed down to us from family.

This is what holiday decor is all about.  Memory jogging decorations that remind us of all the family gatherings and fun we have at this time of the year.

I like to use natural decor whenever it is possible.  Homemade garlands or pine wreaths are beautiful, smell great, and they don’t need to be decluttered.

If you do want some new decor try to stick with pieces that won’t go out of style.

When decorating I try to keep in mind, less is more.  Try decorating one area of your home rather than every room. 

Keeping all of the Christmas decorations in one room it leads to less visual clutter.  

Best Minimalist Christmas Tree Decor Ideas


Experience More as a Minimalist

So your family still wants to do gifts.  Just tell them that you would love the gift of an experience.  There are so many ways to give a gift that is not a physical thing.

Tickets to a movie, a pass to an amusement park, or a gift certificate to somewhere fun.

Minimalism at Christmas time doesn’t have to be boring.  This month our plan is to get out and enjoy all of the Christmas activities.  There are so many things to do that are free around Christmas time. 

Community tree lighting ceremonies, going and looking at Christmas lights, and baking at home.

Instead of spending our money on things, we will be spending our money on experiences with family and friends.


Simple Christmas Conclusion

Simplifying the holidays and taking the pressure off is the best decision I ever made.  Now I can truly enjoy this time of the year without stress.

This is what has worked for us in the last few years.  Let me know in the comments how you like to spend the holidays and any minimalist tips you have. 

Here is a great article on the 4 gift rules for a minimal Christmas.

Christmas Before Minimalism!


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Minimalism at Christmas Time

2 thoughts on “Minimalism at Christmas Time”

  1. Sarah Beth

    Wonderful tips and explanation Shannon, thank you so much! I truly haven’t been enjoying the holidays as much because it feels so stressful. Each year I do less and do what feels right but I’m still not there. Someday 🤞

    1. SHANNON

      Thank you Sarah! I hope this year is different for you. Happy Holidays. =)

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