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Minimalist Christmas For Kids

I got these pictures at the mall last week… but it turns out I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures and I was chased out before I got too many.  

I have a love hate relationship with Christmas.  Really, there isn’t much hate, but it has always been hard for my frugal, green, side to deal with all the gift giving.  So much commercialism and expectations that always is followed by an almost let down when it is all over.

Now, this year, I have a tiny apartment and new found minimalism to throw into the mix.  I love Christmas and everything it stands for religiously and relationaly.  So, as I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago, we came up with a great idea founded on two things.

  • Stretch the Holiday

  • Focus on the Experience

What I am going to try this year is a ‘7 days of Christmas’ (really, 12 would be nice, but my creativity is stretched at 7).  We are going to do Christmas from Dec 25 to Dec 31.  Each day is going to have 3 parts:

  1. Small gift
  2. Special food
  3. Family Activity

Each day the kids will unwrap their experience.  Not sure on the details yet, but this is where I am starting.  I haven’t planned the small gifts yet, but they will be like a new pack of crayons, or play-doh or something similar with the real present being the experience.

  1. Dec 25-Waffles with Ice Cream, Grandma’s house
  2. Dec 26-Pizza Party, Making a ginger bread house
  3. Dec 27-Cinnamon Buns, Children’s Museum
  4. Dec 28-Home Made French Fries, Indoor Playground
  5. Dec 29-Go out for Donuts in the am, Game Night
  6. Dec 30-Make Cookies, Zoo
  7. Dec 31-TBD, (see, 7 days is stretching me, but it sounds better than 6)

The goal is to have great memories, and lots of family time.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Love, relationships, sharing, relaxing, parties, memories….  Love has been commercialized, which works great for retailers, because people will always try and prove their love more and more by spending more and more.  I am not against it, but kids can’t be bought.  Gifts are fun, but gifts aren’t what memories are made of.

I am not here yet, but there is a great post on The Minimalists about no gifts.  Interesting read.


  1. Jody Jody

    My husband works every day through 12/27, so our Christmas experience includes special dinners for the week around Christmas instead of exchanging gifts. We haven’t exchanged gifts for years now, but it started because of a lack of money. And now we enjoy doing an activity together, like seeing a Christmas show, instead of giving gifts to each other.

    How do you handle extended family get-togethers when the focus is on exchanging gifts? With in-laws and aunts/uncles/cousins? I have young son who doesn’t quite realize what is it all about, but I don’t enjoy the day because I feel like I opened gifts all day or watched others open them.

    • well, Christmas is about love and people all see and define love different ways. Have you read the ‘5 Love Languages’ book? I read it a long time ago and it has helped me with this. Some people feel loved when they get gifts. I don’t. I much prefer time and people doing something special for me. The thing is that to show love to others you need to use their love language. My extended family is very gift oriented where my family wasn’t growing up. For my husband and kids we decide what works best for us (as noted above), but for the extended family we do what they like and do gifts. With minimalism and avoidance of junk this year I am trying very hard to purchase less stuff, but more quality (I fall for the appearance of quantity easily). Also, with the minimalism side you can focus on things that are, edible, replacing something they already have with something better, or go off their list and get something they really want (and would buy on their own). Not, just all the stuff that the stores want you to buy 🙂 This way, there is less junk laying around and less stuff and money is waisted. I might write a post on this later in the month. Thanks for your comment!

  2. We share your sentiment of simplifying the holidays. Being with your family, enjoying the holidays—instead of at the mall shopping—is so much more wonderful. We share buying less and giving well this season twice because I think it is so important to share:
    It really does make for a more special, less expensive, calm, and memorable holiday. You have come up with a beautiful solution for your family. And I’m so happy you are sharing this idea with others. Wonderful post, Lorilee.

    • thanks!

  3. […] with the kids while I shopped and we got all our shopping out of the way.  (except for the little stuff for our kids) Join me and be ‘One Less’ at the mall this season and shop online.  If you shopping […]

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  5. […] to Loving Simple Living?  This week we are sharing our minimalist Christmas experience.  Regular posting schedule will be back next week.  Here is Day […]

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