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Are You Ready For A Minimalist Christmas?

I know Christmas is still a long way off… but I feel behind because other blogs have been blogging about it for at least a month already…. plus, I have plans and I know you are making plans so here is the Minimalist Christmas Planning post.

We did a Minimalist Christmas last year and it was a big hit.   The kids have asked me several times since then if we can do a Minimalist Christmas again… so, from the mouth of my babies it was a hit :)

What is the idea behind a Minimalist Christmas?

Holidays are awesome.  We need things to look forward too…especially when the weather is turning cold.  The whole month of December is full of cookies and happy music.  I love Christmas!

However, to often Christmas is simplified and overwhelmed by a main focus being put on the gifts.  There is so much more to Christmas and there is so much more to memories.  So, the idea behind the Minimalist Christmas is to:

  • Make it longer – cause it is a bummer when 1 hour of Christmas present opening is over for another 365 days.
  • Focus on memories
  • Focus on family
  • Eat good food  – really my favorite part of any holiday :)

What is a Minimalist Christmas?

Really you can take those ideas (give or take a few to match your family) and craft something to your liking.  What we are doing is stretching it for 7 days and each day will include:

  1. Small present – think new Play-Doh or crayons not new PlayStation
  2. Fun food treat
  3. Family activity

What we did last year was put the small present and notes for the other 2 gifts in their stockings.  When they woke up each day they ran to their stockings to find out what the day was going to include.  It was Christmas morning for 7 days!

You can set your budget for these things at anything you want.  The goal isn’t really to spend less money (though it is definitely possible), it is to create more memories and have more fun with the available money.

Want to try a Minimalist Christmas this year?

Everyone is going to be different on the number of days and the make-up of the actual gifts, but the goals are the same.  Last year I heard from several bloggers that they wanted to try it out so I wanted to try a link-up to see if we could see all share our Christmas adventures.

This is a welcome and introduction link-up.  If you are interested in doing a Minimalist Christmas and blogging even just a little about it, leave a link to your homepage or your about page here in the link-up.  I would love to meet you!

There will be link-ups to link your actual Christmas posts to coming around holiday time (I will e-mail you with details).  It will be fun to see what everyone comes up with and I know my kids would love to see what your kids are doing as well :)


  1. Kim Stewart Kim Stewart

    I would love to read everyone’s views and how they are doing a minimalist Christmas. This Holiday season I am really struggling. After my Mom passed last year, what family was left has all dispersed. Suddenly I sit here in Montana with just my husband and my 5yr old daughter. I want to make the Holidays as special for her as they were for me as a child, that world has changed… Now, I feel like I am scrambling to find new ways to make it special and wonderful

    • so sorry for your loss. 5 is a good age to start new family traditions. She is old enough to participate and will remember from one year to the next.

    • Shelly Shelly

      My 5 yr old daughter loves helping, so setting the table in a way she makes special brings a smile to her face. Last night she tight rolled our cloth napkins around our dinner forks. Some days, she asks if we can have candles/oil lamps at the table and I collect them from around the house so we can see without light bulbs. I’m not sure if I have a really easy kid, or if going with it makes it easy. But listening to my kids and allowing their ideas and help (when possible) is what brings my kids (and I) joy.

      This year, I am going to make a garland with my kids. With some various colors of yarn & paper made into the right size/shape, we’re making napkin rings. My kids would rather make paper and yarn napkin rings than have me go out and buy fancy ones at the store.

      I like how Lorilee said it can be less expensive, but doesn’t have to be. The point is love and quality time. I love the concept of “Simple Christmas” because that’s what makes memories… what you do together, not what you have/get.

      • Kim Kim

        Shelly, those are some wonderful ideas! I am efinetly going to be writing those ideas like making garland, etc and finding some crafty things like that to do. Jordan loves crafts, I lack in the creativity department so all ideas like this are extremely appreciated. Thank You :)

      • Shelly Shelly

        Check out and Family Fun magazine.

        I’m artsy by nature, but lack training for sure! Outside inspiration brings me ideas to build on. After a few crafts, the kids take over and invent all sort of new ideas anyway. :)

  2. I would love to be a part of this link-up! We are planning a similar idea for Christmas this year and would love to share with everyone what we are doing and how it goes.

    • awesome :)

  3. Jenn Jenn

    I love this idea! And I can totally understand why you called Minimalist Christmas… but I think I would say it is Christmas MAXIMIZED!! Because instead of a narrow focus on The Hour of Present Opening, we are intentionally expanding beyond that to bring in all that Christmas really is. You’ve got my wheels turning, thanks for the brilliant idea. :)

    • maybe some of ‘less is more’, but I didn’t want to use that because, depending on the family, and the activities, it isn’t necessarily less or cheaper. Just more fun :)

      • Jenn Jenn

        Oh I understand and I think the name is perfect. I hope I didn’t sound like I was critical of your choice of title. I only meant to say that it seems like a much bigger way to think of and plan for Christmas… I’m quite excited about the possibilities. :)

      • oh no, I didn’t take it as critical at all. I like it :)

  4. Laura Laura

    I’ve been without power for so long! I have so much to catch up on! The cellphone challenge should be interesting for me. Not saying I’m addicted, but I do get the “OMG I’m leaving the house without it?!” syndrome…

    And a minimalist Christmas sounds lovely!!! Last year, we did a “homemade” Christmas. No boughten gifts (Except for my 11 year old Nephew).

    For us grown-ups, I think it was the most memorable Holiday ever. We’ve tossed around the idea for this year too. I hesitate because there are a few things my parents could really use in the line of fixing up their house… but I don’t need or want a single thing!

    How do you tell people that? Any suggestions?

    • Shelly Shelly

      Why not offer that to your parents outside of Christmas? I love random gifts throughout the year. In fact, they feel so much more meaningful sometimes because it’s not just a budgeted in amount given at an expected time… it’s just love being generous.

    • oh no. I was worried about you! How long were you out of power? Are things starting to get better up there? Are you all freezing?

      I love everyday gifts too like Shelly said.

      • Laura Laura

        Ugh, almost a week (6 days and 15 hours!)

        Things are much better where I’m at, a few hours away from the city who is still hurting, but still messy around here. A lot of friends and family have traveled into the city to help with clean up and bringing supplies.

        The power is back JUST IN TIME for cold weather. It’s been 40-60 all week and when our power came on, the weather dropped down to the 20’s!! What luck!

        And I love Shelly’s suggestion as well. I think helping toward a new furnace would be a good “just because” gift, especially because it will most likely snow BEFORE Christmas anyway.

      • wow… so glad you have power! The pictures I have seen are crazy.

  5. Thanks for sharing what you did last year – it sounds like a blast!
    We are still figuring out where we stand on Christmas, but I love the music, decorations, food and fun, and would like to keep them in some form. If we do anything worth writing about, I’ll link up :)

    • sounds great!

  6. Jana Jana

    I know this post is old, but I had to chime in, because I have experienced the joy of a down-scaled Christmas.

    Four years ago, we knew it was our last Christmas with my dad. He was too frail to do any shopping so I suggested we just have family time for Christmas, no gifts. He was visibly relieved, and immediately agreed. And it was the most wonderful Christmas we’ve ever had. Full of gratitude that we had that day together!

    Last year, I told my family to not get me anything for Christmas, because I was really just totally happy with everything I have. (Plus, we had just moved, worked hard to get rid of lots of stuff, and I was in no hurry to start filling up the void.) And I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas morning!

    My kids sort of bent the rule, though… My son, a poor, starving college student, brought home his guitar and played a specially-chosen song for each of us. My daughter gave my husband a promise to clean and detail his car; she gave me a promise to be my sewing slave for a day. (She sews and I don’t. I still need to collect on that one!)

    My favorite gifts from my kids, though, are the handwritten letters (or emails; I’ll take what I can get!) telling me what they appreciate about me and that they love me!

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