A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Minimalist Christmas Decorating

Minimalist Christmas decorating . . . doesn’t sound possible does it? I must insert a disclaimer here. I am not the artsy type of minimalist that only enjoys the color white, large empty spaces, and a maximum of three pieces of furniture per room.

So far we have our Christmas tree decorated and my sister and son had a blast hanging a few lights outside the front door. I love the fact that each of our ornaments have meaning. They were either handmade, hand painted, or given as a gift from a loved one. It’s a beautiful mix matched collection.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris

That is the type of minimalist I aspire to be. It’s also the perfect prescription for proper minimalist decorating. Focus on the decorations that you truly LOVE and forget trying to cover every surface with something that sparkles or looks like fake snow!

When we moved in with my parents, we filled half a dumpster with discarded Christmas decorations. Between our two households we had accumulated quite the collection. It was so freeing to get rid of the gaudy, over-sized lawn decorations, the cheap glass ornaments, and the irritating rope lights reminiscent of a Las Vegas night club.

That brings me to … Step 1: Pick your favorites.
When it comes time to bring out your decorations, take a look at everything first. Then, start by picking out your favorites. If something has sentimental value to you, display it with pride. If it’s just not Christmas without that goofy looking nutcracker, go ahead and set him up. Be careful with this part, it can’t ALL be your favorite or nothing is really your favorite.

Step 2: PURGE, baby purge!
If something didn’t make the cut as one of your favorites, set it to the side. Chances are you already have a big enough pile of favorite decorations. Now is your chance to declutter! This is the best time to do it. Once this stuff is packed up again it’ll be too easy to ignore it. So give it away, or throw it away if it’s in bad shape. Just get it out and feel yourself get a little lighter.

Step 3: Make a list.
If you want to add extra decorations to your collection, make a list first. Making a list will help you avoid impulse buys. It’s too easy to get lulled into a trance with all the flashing lights and shiny bulbs when you go shopping. Don’t fall for those sales and decide to stock up on something you don’t need or truly love.

Step 4: Keep it meaningful.
My favorite part about Christmas decorations is dusting off the memories that accompany each piece. The ornaments I love the most are the ones I painted with my children. I love my nativity scene that my husband surprised me with. If I don’t remember where something came from, it’s a sure sign that the meaning behind it is missing.

Step 5: Keep it simple.
When it comes to decorating, less really is more. Don’t fill up every flat surface and every corner of your house. Stick with simple colors schemes and textures.

Here are some simple, minimalist decorating ideas:

  • Choose and use only a few items that make a statement.
  • Pick a pre-lit Christmas trees as these trees come with lights, which gives the tree an uncluttered look.
  • Choose one or two colors and use different shades in your Christmas items.
  • Using natural decorations (greenery, berries, and pine cones) is both economical, aromatic, and disposable.
  • Make paper snowflakes and hang them in your windows.
  • Use colored paper chains to decorate with.
  • Using only white lights or a single color of light on your tree is calming.
  • For quick ornaments, hang Christmas cookie cutters with ribbon. Hang them on your tree or in a window so other people can enjoy your Christmas decorations.
  • Fill a small bowl with small pinecones or candy and display on end tables, shelves, or as a centerpiece for your table.
  • Make basic sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies. Before baking, make a hole toward the top of each cookie using a straw. Bake and cool. String a ribbon through each cookie and hang them on your Christmas tree.
  • For easy Christmas tableware, tie red, green, or gold ribbons to the stems of wine glasses or the handles of cutlery.
  • Tie bows around door knobs for a simple Christmas decoration.

What are your minimalist Christmas decorating tips?

This post is from my holiday guide A Minimalist Family Christmas. It’s still available for $.99 and is full of practical advice on simplifying your holiday season. You can even give it as a gift through Amazon.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for updates or join me on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks so much for reading!

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Article originally published on 11/28/2011

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  1. BerniceWood says

    I purged A LOT last year. I kept only the ornaments I love. I also like to fill a glass bowl or a basket with pinecones or a single color of glass balls.

    8 ways to reduce stress this holiday season

  2. BerniceWood says

    I purged A LOT last year. I kept only the ornaments I love. I also like to fill a glass bowl or a basket with pinecones or a single color of glass balls.

    <a href=”http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2011/8-ways-to-reduce-stress-this-holiday-season/” target=”_blank”>8 ways to reduce stress this holiday season</a>

  3. Great post about keeping only what we love and getting rid of the rest. We try to cull the Christmas stuff each year. It takes some effort to make Christmas more meaningful, but it is worth it.

  4. We have a turkey dinner Thanksgiving, Christmas and Resurrection Sunday. We attend a Baptist church that celebrates Christmas but since we attended a Messianic congregation in Florida we no longer celebrate Easter or have a Christmas tree(Jeremiah 10KJ). We agree with them that Jesus was born on the Feast of Tabernacles(Luke 1:5,8KJ and I Chron.24:10KJ-it’s usually in September)-it can be googled. We don’t celebrate Halloween but do give out candy. Our Baptist church doesn’t acknowledge Halloween. So all of that to say this-we don’t have any holiday clutter. Oh,I do have an old, small made-in-China(I try not to buy made-in-China products) Thanksgiving plaque that has a man pilgrim and a woman pilgrim for the kitchen. It says “Give Thanks.” We live in a two-family house with our second son and his family. They put lights on the outside and lit up plastic candy canes that have me craving for candy canes.


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