Christmas is a magical period of the year for many people. It’s my favorite one, and every year I can’t wait for all the Christmas celebrations to start!
But the reality is that the holiday season can also be a very hectic, stressful and chaotic time!
With all the gifts we have to buy, the decorations we need to put up in our homes, the parties and gatherings we need to attend, December can be an overwhelming month.
Sometimes, it just feels like a never-ending to-do list of things we need to accomplish before the final deadline: Christmas day.
But that’s not what Christmas and the holiday season should be about.
Christmas should be about family time, delicious meals, warming and cozy moments around people we cherish and love.
If you want to reduce stress and simplify the holiday season this year, here are 9 tips to help you have a simple, minimalist Christmas.
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9 tips to have a simple, minimalist Christmas
1 – Plan early
When I know that a stressful time is about to start, what I always do is plan ahead as much as I can.
As I can get stressed out pretty easily, planning in advance helps ease my anxiety because I know that I have things under control.
If you’re like me, I highly suggest that you start planning and preparing for the holiday season early.
I like to do this a few weeks in advance and write everything in my planner to have a clear vision of what’s to come in December.
What events are you going to attend?
Will you be hosting Christmas dinner?
What will you cook and bake?
What presents will you give and for what person?
When do you need to go Christmas shopping?
Planning all this will greatly reduce your stress and make it a smoother process.
Write everything down in a calendar and on your to-do lists to make sure you remember all your commitments and tasks.
Also, it might be a great idea to buy all the presents a few weeks before Christmas to avoid the crowds and have time to get mindful gifts for everyone.
2 – Declutter your space
If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know this point had to be included here.
The holiday season is the perfect time for you to go through your belongings and declutter your home.
That way, you are getting rid of unnecessary stuff and making space for new gifts you and your family will receive over the holidays.
It’s a great thing to do to not feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have in your home after Christmas.
And you will reap all the benefits of living minimally and having a cleaner, tidier and simplified home!
Did you use the gifts you received last year? If not, someone else might get better use out of them.
If you have children, it’s also a great idea to go through their toys, because they will probably receive many more over the holidays.
While you are decluttering, you might find items that are still in perfect condition and that have barely been used.
You could regift those to some of your friends and family members this Christmas!
There are so many things that accumulate over the years and that you could get rid of in your home!
Things to let go of for you to have a calmer, cozier home.
3 – Decorate with intention
If you like decorating your home for Christmas, going to the store and looking at all the beautiful festive decor is not something I recommend doing.
Stores know how to make us buy more and more, even when we don’t need any new things.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to decorate for Christmas, if at all.
If you need some extra decor items, you could easily get them second-hand online or in a thrift store.
Or even better: create your own decorations yourself! You could bake some cookies, decorate them and place them on your Christmas tree.
Go to a nearby park or your garden and pick some pine cones that you can put around your home.
I also find that dried orange slices are one of my favorite Christmas decor pieces!
I love incorporating natural elements in my space: these decorations are free, beautiful and fully biodegradable once the holidays are over.
Plus, you don’t have to store them during the year, which is perfect if you want to become more minimalist and have a simple, minimalist Christmas.
4 – Mindful gift-giving
When looking for gifts for your friends and family members, remember that quality is more important than quantity.
Give things with intention so that you know the receiver will love and appreciate your presents.
Ask your loved ones about what they would like to receive this holiday season.
Do they need something in particular? Is there something they really want to get? They may have a wish list you could get inspired by.
Buying things that are actually wanted by the receiver is the best way to make sure the item will be used and loved for a long time.
You probably do not want to give a meaningless, useless present that will soon be forgotten and tucked away in a closet or drawer.
There are so many things you can get your loved ones!
You could give them your time to help them with something, or simply gift them something they’ve been wanting for a while.
Other things that are often very appreciated are subscriptions, gift cards, consumable products like food or drinks, as well as fun experiences such as concert tickets or a small trip.
For more ideas, check out my complete minimalist gift guide where you’ll find 16 ideas to give more meaningful presents.
These 23 gift ideas are also ideal if you want to purchase more sustainable gifts this year!
5 – Don’t go into debt to buy Christmas gifts
It is estimated that consumers intend to spend on average $885 in 2021 for their holiday shopping.
That’s a lot of money that many might not even have in the bank!
If there’s one thing you should remember to have a simple, minimalist Christmas, this is it: do not go into debt to buy presents for Christmas.
It is so not worth it!
Your loved ones would not want you to get into financial troubles because of them.
And remember that how much you spend on gifts does not reflect how much you love the people in your life.
You can get meaningful, beautiful gifts for your friends and family without breaking the bank.
If you cannot afford new gifts, consider making some yourself.
Bake something, create a piece of art, knit a beanie or some socks if you know how to knit, or give them something meaningful that you have and love.
You could even give them your time if you offer them to babysit their kids, fix something around their home, mow their lawn, or help them clean and tidy their home.
If you can afford to buy some gifts, I highly recommend that you have a budget and stick to it.
That way, you won’t overspend and go into unnecessary debt.
6 – Simplify your commitments
The holiday season often means many parties, dinners and events to attend.
If you have a large family, you might end up with commitments every weekend.
However, if you already have many commitments in December, ask yourself if you truly need and want to attend them.
Will they add to your happiness or will they feel like a burden?
If you are invited to a party or dinner you are not excited to go to, politely decline the invitation.
I know it can be hard to do, but if you add too much to your plate, you might end up overwhelmed and stressed, leaving you with very little time for yourself.
You should only attend gatherings that make you feel good. A good rule I love to apply in my life is: if it’s not a “hell, yes!”, then it’s a “no”.
7 – Do not stress about holiday traditions
Christmas is a truly magical time of the year. It is the favorite of a lot of people! It’s a period full of celebrations and traditions.
However, if some of the traditions do not spark joy for you and your family, let them go to simplify and have a more minimalist Christmas.
Do things your own way!
You do not have to do things a certain way just because people you know are used to doing them and they might expect you to do the same.
For instance, if you do not like to send Christmas cards because it’s too much work for you, don’t feel compelled to send them.
Maybe you could send some e-cards by email or on social media, or simply not send any.
I am not into sending Christmas cards, nor are the people in my family. I find that calling the person to wish them a merry Christmas is even more meaningful.
But everyone should do what works best for them. Do Christmas your own way, it’s not a competition.
8 – Take time for yourself and slow down
No matter how many things need to be done during the holiday season, remember that this time of the year should be enjoyable, a time to replenish ourselves.
If everything is not taken care of, if the house looks a bit messy, and if you’ve not accomplished all the things you wanted to do this year, it’s okay.
No one is perfect and you should not blame yourself.
Christmas is about family time, warm and delicious dinners, cozy homes, and everything festive.
What matters is that people get together and have a great time.
So no matter how hectic your life may seem, pause for a bit and prioritize rest and relaxation.
It is essential that you take care of yourself before the new year starts: January is often a chaotic month for many people, with a lot of work and planning.
Taking the time to rest before the new year comes around is the best thing you can do to prepare for it and to fully enjoy your last moments of the current one.
9 – Enjoy the magic of the holiday season
Last but not least to have a minimalist Christmas: enjoy!
If you love the Christmas atmosphere, celebrations and you are into everything Christmas-related, immerse yourself into it.
Listen to traditional, festive Christmas music.
Do not feel guilty about eating all the Christmas treats and savor the delicious food.
Enjoy the time spent with family and be fully present with them.
Go for walks with your loved ones and admire the beautiful lights and decorations.
If you’re lucky, you might even have snow outside!
Many families only see themselves during the holiday season, so focus on spending quality time with your loved ones.
You might not have that opportunity at other times during the year.
The holiday season is only here for a few weeks a year, so appreciate every moment of it while it is still around.
Doing so will help you be in the present and have a simple, yet precious and magical time!
Those were 9 tips to have a minimalist Christmas in 2021!
I hope they will help you enjoy the important things in life so that you do not get too overwhelmed and stressed by all the things you might want or need to accomplish.
For me, Christmas is full of magic and I try to get most of it while it’s that time of the year again.
As Norman Vincent Peale rightly said: “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful”.
What is your favorite part of the holiday season? What are your best tips to have a simple, minimalist Christmas?