Entertaining & Holidays / Life

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas Angela Conley

Can you believe Christmas is already done? It seems like it went by faster than past years. Perhaps that’s because of how much less stressful my holiday was this year.

In the past, I’ve tried different approaches to limit the craziness, but none of them worked as well as my approach this year. I’ve gone the route of homemade gifts, online orders, gift cards— all of which brought about some convenience.  However, I still felt something was amiss.

Ready for a change, I tried out a new philosophy: a minimalist Christmas. Read along to find out how I accomplished this and why it was so wonderful.

1. No gifts. That’s right, no gifts for any loved ones and no gifts for myself. (The exception is my niece, as she’s probably too young to understand just yet.) This was the biggest & toughest part, as it was not simple to explain to everyone. In essence, my idea was that it would allow me to enjoy Christmas for what I believe it should be about: family, togetherness, and compassion.

Not receiving any gifts was great because I felt so much lighter coming home, both literally and figuratively.  Instead of feeling weighed down with material things, I was able to relax and enjoy the company of my loved ones.

2. Donate. Instead of buying presents for others, I took that money and donated it to those that really needed some assistance. The second-best part of this step was avoiding the shopping masses and traffic.

3. Enjoy the present moment. Instead of groaning at all the Christmas music and lights, I found myself humming songs and marveling at my neighbors’ displays. I watched a few  Christmas specials on TV and felt like a kid again. It was the perfect antidote to feeling like such a grown-up all the time.

I haven’t decided if I will celebrate a minimalist Christmas again next year, but it’s very possible. It was such a liberating experience. Even if I decide not to do it again, I’m glad I took the chance and got outside my “box.”

Did you do anything different or unusual for your Christmas? Do you like to try new things just to get outside your comfort zone?


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12 thoughts on “How to Have a Minimalist Christmas

  1. Wow! Not having the stress of the holidays does sound nice. But I absolutely LOVE giving gifts, especially to my husband and mom, so I don’t know if I could ever try this. We do donate money to needy families each year though, which I love doing.


    • It’s probably not for everyone, and that’s OK! It’s something I gave a shot at and ended up liking. That’s great that you help out others. It’s nice to know there are great people out there, doing great things for each other. Thanks for commenting!


  2. I love simplicity and like you, feel that Christmas has become too commercialized. I’ve fallen into the ‘trap’. Thanks for the reminders. I do all the other things already but no gifts would be a HUGE step!


  3. Not only do gifts weigh you down, sometimes the ones you receive are just not something you would want. I told everyone I didn’t want anything for Christmas but did get some nice gifts – no one believes you when you say you just want peace, happiness and love for Christmas! One thing I started years ago was not sending Christmas Cards to friends/family. I send mine to support the troops overseas and give them a touch of home. Thanks for sharing this on Snickerdoodle Sunday! Definately something to think on!


    • Yes, that too! Great idea on sending cards to the troops. I will definitely consider that next year as part of my giving back. Thanks for commenting and hosting your party each week!


  4. I did a similar thing this year. Not quite NO gifts, but close. Since I have 5 kids, sons and daughters in law, and grandkids, niece’s and nephews that are like my kids, and the great nieces and nephews, it’s just too much and too costly. I got a couple of items for the family, a game we all love, and a crank style popcorn popper that can be used on a wood stove, even with no electricity. Both items are usable if the grid goes down. I believe in prepping too! Then I got something for the 3 grandkids that live close to me. One lives with me, and at 7 yrs old, wouldn’t understand no gifts at all. One isn’t actually mine, but he’s 3, and his real Grandma passed away a couple of years ago, and his Mother is single with no job, so I got him gifts. Beyond that, if It would have to be shipped, I didn’t do it. I quit doing cards years ago. My goal in future is to make the gifts, and as I’m a crocheter, this isn’t hard to do, just takes time. This past Christmas just snuck up too fast! I would rather Christmas be more about the reason, the music, lights and time with family, and gifts be seriously understated when and if given. What shopping I did wasn’t from the store, so we didn’t deal with crowds much either. I also NEVER, EVER shop black Friday, and never will. I’d rather pay more for something then go through that insanity.


    • I hear ya on Black Friday, it’s for the birds! I can imagine even limiting the number of gifts would be a much lighter load during the holidays too. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by to comment!


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