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Minimalist Christmas

We have had another wonderful Christmas this year! Our Christmas has lasted 7 days and is finishing today.

Recap on what we have been doing. 7 days, 7 gifts, 7 treats, 7 activities and Christmas morning excitement for 7 days ๐Ÿ™‚ We have left presents and notes in their stockings and they have had lots of fun being surprised every morning.

What I didn’t do a good job of this Christmas was visually recording our adventure. With all the travel we have been doing and dealing with some other big changes I just wanted to take the time to enjoy the time with the kids. … thoughts of blogging and pictures were set aside more than I planned, but it was great! The pictures we did get were inside without good light and didn’t turn out well. … so I apologize for not having better pictures.

Here is what we did:

  • Wednesday – They each got a puzzles, went out for German food for supper, bowling
  • Thursday – They each got a book, pizza, movie night with their choice of snacks
  • Friday – Lily got fuzzy socks and Ian got a Toy story shirt/boxer set, visit to a chocolate shop, making cookies
  • Saturday – They got a picture memory book of our last year, played in the snow with friends, cinnimon buns
  • Sunday – Lily got a chess set and Ian got a transformer, game night, they got to pick their own treat (ice cream)
  • Monday – They each got a science kit, waterpark, went out for supper with cousins
  • Tuesday – They each got another science kit, Christmas at Grandma’s house, lots of Christmas treats ๐Ÿ™‚

This year was a bit different because we were up in Minnesota for work last Wed-Fri. Bryon only worked half days Wed and Thur and we drove back Friday so he was around for all the fun, but planning things to do was a bit harder up there. Either way I think they kids had fun.


  • Lily’s favorite part of the Christmas week was her fuzzy socks
  • Ian’s favorite part was eating out with his cousins
  • Bryon’s favorite part was making word puzzles for the kids that they had to unscramble before they could figure out their activity and treat.
  • My favorite part was taking the time to hang out with the kids for 7 days. I spend all my time with them since I stay home and homeschool them, but so much of our time is trying to get work done or trying to fit my writing in. This week we could mostly turn off the computer, put away the books, and just play.

The goal of our Christmas was to create a memory for the kids and help they understand that memories and time together is more important than lots of material gifts. I think they had lots of fun.


For those interested in the money I didn’t do as good tracking it as I did last year.  Gifts cost about $40, the bowling and German food were about $60 together, the pizza cost about $25, the waterpark was a gift from my mom and Bryon’s dad took us all out for supper on Monday.  The other things were all small.

How was your Christmas? How did you make it special and bring the focus to relationships?
If you are a blogger and you have posted (or will post) about your plan you can link up your post here.

I would also love to hear what you are doing in the comments!
Now I am off to curl up and enjoy the rest of the day with family ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. I love what you did. I want to try more of that next year. We actually went on a trip pre Christmas, so we did spend lots of time together.

    • fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. We had a simple Christmas this year. Everyone bought themselves a main present they really wanted, which we opened before lunch on Christmas Day. We opened each others to keep the element of surprise. After lunch we played a game where there were a variety of small presents which were inexpensive, useful or re-gifted. The game took about an hour to play as we unwrapped, swapped, stole and gave away gifts according to the instructions or the game. It was a lot of fun. Examples were gift wrapping paper, diaries, calendars, notebooks, matches, sink plugs, bubble blowers, cookies. The pleasure of giving and opening small gifts, but without the expense. Most gifts found a useful home, even if it was the donation box!

    • That is a great idea!

    • Pretty brilliant! Did you have any trouble getting your family on board? And were there any little kids?

      • The youngest player was 13 and she enjoyed it. I waited quite a few years to introduce the game because all of the players need to be old enough/mature enough to cope with having gifts taken away during the proceedings. It gets very chaotic with gifts flying all over the place so you can’t be too attached to anything. I first played it in a work setting and that was hilarious. I’d day its more of an adult’s party game. The fun is in what people grab for, stockpile or offload.

        Stage 1 involves opening or swapping presents on the roll of the dice, or lose a turn, until all presents are open
        Stage 2 is swapping around presents based on written instructions drawn from a hat eg give a present to the person on your left, swap all your presents with someone, everyone move to the left and leave your presents
        Stage 3 each person takes a number and then you get to choose and keep a gift from anywhere – in number order.

        Its a Dutch tradition introduced in my old office by a person originally from the Netherlands.

  3. Claire Claire

    My husband and I did well keeping it simple/minimal, but reigning in the extended family is another story! My husband and I don’t even get gifts for each other, although this year I had a coupon for a free portrait, so I had my son photographed so he could give a gift to his daddy. All I bought for my son was stocking stuffers and a book, and I bought one gift for each extended family member (two for each niece). But, we all got way too much from our extended family! I have tried without success to get them to limit it to one gift/person. Even so, on average my son gets way fewer gifts than other children do on Christmas, and consequently he appreciates what he gets and also focuses more on other aspects of the Christmas season (such as decorating, baking, spending time with family, etc).

  4. Elizabeth Kane Elizabeth Kane

    Christmas was less about hustle and bustle and more about lounging around together this year. My goal has steadily been going towards the lazy and chill vibe during the holidays. I think the toughest thing I did yesterday was make sugar cookies. ๐Ÿ™‚

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