Skip to content

Minimalist Christmas

Our Minimalist Christmas Tree 2Merry December!

I love Christmas.  There is something about the whole month that is fun and exciting.

I also love gifts, gift giving, memories, and all the fun traditions of Christmas.

I am a minimalist and believe you can have the best of both worlds.

Over the past 2 years our family has started a tradition the kids have come to call…

A Minimalist Christmas

The kids love it and it focuses on the fun and memories over the stuff.  Let me tell you about it…

3 years ago we decided to cut back on our material things.  This meant less clothes, less toys, less books, less house and (pretty) much less of everything except life and fun 🙂  With the idea of cutting out extra belongings we knew we would need to change our Christmas practices.

As we talked we came up with the ‘Minimalist Christmas’ idea.

Even as an adult I suffer from Christmas let down.  It is that exhale that comes about 9:30 am on Christmas day after all the presents are open.  It is the (though as adults we would never admit it) ‘that’s it?‘ moment.  It not about a lack of presents or not getting what we want, it is just the huge build up to an event that just takes a few minutes of unwrapping to get through.

But Christmas isn’t about the presents, and most people – both adults and children – know this.

So with our minimalist Christmas we set out to make Christmas longer.  Instead of just one day we decided on a week of Christmas – 7 days.  (12 days would be nice.. but it is pretty long).

Here is the plan:

7 Days of Christmas Experience

  • A little gift in the stocking.  Something special, but small and cheap.
  • A special food treat
  • A family activity

Having dad take the time off work and spending for the special food and activities cost way more than the gifts we bought and they were way more valuable as well.  Each day had a fun ‘What is in the stocking?’ moment where the kids would get their gift and find out the plan for the day and then the whole day would be filled with a fun family experience.

Depending on how you apply this it may not be easier, and it may not be cheaper, but it will create an amazing family memory.

Instead of a bunch of toys the kids may or may not use, and a lot more items to clutter the house, the whole family will have a fun memory.

Not sure the kids would go for it?  Ask them?  Even though we as adults think they want toys all the time they often are really wanting attention and time.  As adults we know this is the most valuable as well.  Why not live out these ideas and values during Christmas?

Living minimalist and simple is amazing for families and it can add to the Christmas season instead of compete with it.

We have done this Minimalist Christmas plan in our family for two years now.  This year we will be in the middle of finishing our teaching job in China, moving, and visiting family over two states.  The kids have been asking for a Minimalist Christmas but I am not sure how it will look for us this year.  We are planning on doing something fun before we leave China but I won’t be able to post about it as I have in past years.

Here are posts from our last 2 years.


2012Minimalist Christmas Review

I want to encourage and challenge you to make the most of the Christmas season.  Make memories. Enjoy the time. Don’t get bogged down with crazy schedules, traffic, or gifts.

Christmas is about memories, experiences, love, and Jesus. 

Here are a bunch of pictures from our Christmas experience I wanted to share again as well.  So many fun memories in each one:

Click to play this Smilebox collage


  1. I love the idea of this! We may be forced to have a minimalist Christmas this year, as my husband I just got married 6 months ago and have joined our family of 5 kids and now one on the way. We’re still figuring out our finances, and there won’t be much this year to spend on Christmas, but I strongly believe it will be a good thing for us. What we all really need is time together to strengthen the bonds of our new family and this is the perfect time of year to do it! Thank you for the inspiring post, Lorilee!

  2. Love this!!

  3. I took a more minimalist approach last year and fell in love with it. I’m going for it again this year and sharing some experiences with it tomorrow on my blog.

  4. Marina Moss Marina Moss

    Great ideas, but does a minimalist Christmas involve forgetting the real meaning of Christmas? Christ-mass? Perhaps to start with the nativity and then minimalise the consumerism…?

  5. I love your website. I wish you all the best, you have inspired me a lot. Simplicity is a wonderful thing, we all talk about it, but only few really live it.

    Here is my blog “live simple” I would be honoured if you give me some ideas to improve it.

Comments are closed.