A Minimalist Christmas. How to Have a Clutter Free, Less Stress Christmas

A Minimalist Christmas. How to Have a Clutter Free, Less Stress Christmas

I have been sitting with my laptop for the last hour thinking about how to write this post without sounding like the worlds biggest Grinch. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas mmmK? Really, it’s more that I love Christmas so much that I refuse to let any silly little things ruin it. I mean, we’ve all seen Four Christmas’s right?

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All the hustle, bustle and shopping is enough to make anyone go mad. Well, for the last few years, I have decided to not partake in the madness. Let me tell you how I created a minimalist Christmas for me and my family. A clutter free, less stress Christmas…hold the Grinch.

#1. Play those Christmas carols

There is nothing that can raise your spirits and your mood quite like a good song. Around Christmas time that means listening to Zooey Deschanel’s version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on repeat until my family goes absolutely insane.

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I try to tell them it’s the song from “Elf” but they don’t care and I just keep on smiling, ‘cuz smiling’s my favorite.

People seem to have very strong beliefs against the listening of Christmas music before Thanksgiving. While this isn’t at the top of my moral compass, I do hold off until Thanksgiving dinner has passed, and then it’s all bets are off.

#2. Skip the Christmas Card

I’m totally wincing at this one, because I know so many people who are going to stop reading right now. That’s ok. A few years back, when I decided to call it quits on Christmas cards it actually turned into a huge Facebook debate and people were actually mad at me. So before you decide I’m holding Christmas hostage, let me explain my reasoning.

  • I generally spend between $50-$100 on Christmas cards, envelopes, stamps etc. I’m a woman with a budget system now, and I feel like my money has better places to go.
  • Most people throw the cards away after Christmas has passed
  • Most things are digital anyway. And then it’s free!

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Don’t get me wrong, we do a Christmas photo every year, and people love them. We maybe print a few photos for grandmas and everyone else gets to enjoy our photo via social media. This one has proven to be the most popular thus far.

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The little ones were both in preschool, Destiny, our oldest came in 4th in her very first pageant, (thus her trophy) I took up meditation, my husband took up running and our youngest daughter, Kaida chopped off her own hair. We summed up our year in a photo and I love it.

I get that a lot of people love Christmas cards and if that’s you, then send them! Do what actually brings you joy during this supposed to be joyful time of year. But, if you’re like me and just send Christmas cards out of obligation and guilt, I highly suggest you save the cash and additional effort. Maybe take that $50 and find a way to give to others…something besides a Christmas card.

#3. Have an Ugly Tree

I am guilty, like most moms, of browsing all the Pinterest Christmas boards. (If you’ve seen my latest board, please don’t think I’m a total hypocrite. A girl still needs to dream.)


As I scroll through all the beautiful, clean photos, I dream of a house that looks calm and elegant at Christmas time. Then reality hits and I have a tree covered in popsicle sticks disguised as reindeer and I remember Christmas isn’t about my idea of perfection. It’s about family, specifically, it’s about my kids. They love decorating the tree and ever since my husband and I met 11 years ago, we have a tradition of picking out our own ornaments. That means my tree is covered with miscellaneous, definitely not Better Home and Garden approved ornaments. But, they are our ornaments; they make up all of our years together and remind us what we each thought was special through the years.

Remember minimalism to me means far more than just Kitchen Declutter or Small Bedroom Storage. Minimalist living means downsizing your stress and making sure you make the most out of each of your days. I wrote a post all about it Minimalism: Downsizing Everything But Your Stuff.

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So, therefore, if you have a family, let your tree be ugly or tacky…Lady’s Foot Locker style. Enjoy the random chaos that family life brings. They say that someday we’ll miss this chaos. If I’m being honest, that sounds pretty accurate to me. If I imagine 20 years from now, decorating my tree to look just perfect but having no tiny hands to help me do it…it seems less joyful somehow.

#4. Pick One Day and Go Nowhere

I’m not saying totally bail on Christmas with your family. Family to me is the center of Christmas; that’s why I think it is crucial to take one day where you don’t go anywhere, where you can calm down and spend time with your immediate family. My husband and I decided many years ago that Christmas Eve was spent with extended family and Christmas Day we go nowhere. We stock up on food, spend the day in our pajamas and let the kids trash the house with all their new goodies.

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Totally serious. Don’t get caught up in the stress of feeling like you need to please everyone or make it to every gathering. It is absolutely 100% okay to chill at home (or on the curb) in your bathrobe and your ear flap hat all day. Who cares what the neighbor’s think.

#5. Declutter like a madwoman ASAP

This week I gave my kids each one garbage bag (I wanted to start with two but quickly realized that was not a battle I was willing to fight.) I reminded them that they were asking for new gifts for Christmas and that meant we had to make room for them.

Out with the old, in with the new. That’s what Christmas and New Years are all about? Right?

With a loving heart I remind them that there really are toys they own that don’t get used but might bring another child a lot of joy. This is a tradition I am starting with them every year now because the overwhelming amount of toys that fill our home December 26 just got to be too much. So I decided to get ahead of the game. This year I’m also hoping to do a New Year’s sweep. I think after receiving all their new Christmas gifts, they will be willing to let go of more things.

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The biggest challenge I have faced when letting my kids choose what goes is letting go of my attachments. Even if I bought them a toy I thought they’d really want, or bunny pajamas from their favorite aunt. At the end of the day, I don’t want them to feel obligated to be attached to material things. I don’t want them to feel guilty for making priorities in their lives. (We do have boxes that we keep special keepsakes in.)

When our two youngest were in preschool, they would always want to give their toys to their friends. I always let them, no matter what it was. The teachers eventually got used to it and understood that I was hoping to instill the gift of giving in them at a young age. Which after all is what Christmas is all about, right?

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#6. Just have fun

Let go of your ideas of perfection. Embrace the chaos that comes with the holidays and “cut the fat” where you can. If you want to hit up all 8 holiday parties, live on an all carb diet, spoil your kids like crazy or send out the most perfectly designed Christmas card, do it! Do what lights you up and lifts your spirit. At the end of the day, just try to feel the immense joy that is possible this time of year.

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Have a Fetch Christmas guys, or whatever else you may be celebrating this time of year!

Heart Soul and Whole Food

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Megan | 20th Nov 17

    We’re not doing Christmas cards either – we know how much they clutter up our own house so we’re not going to do it to other people’s! The only people we’re sending proper cards to is my grandparents as they don’t use computers!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      I’m glad I’m not alone in this!

  2. Tanya | 20th Nov 17

    We are temporarily living overseas. So this may be the first year I skip the Christmas card and mailing all of the presents. All of my decorations are in my basement an ocean away. It’s going to be a shock to my system. I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that less is more 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Oh, that would be tough. I spent one Christmas in Arizona (originally from Minnesota) and the warm weather and lack of snow totally threw me for a loop. I hope your Christmas is magical.

  3. Cynthia Mackintosh | 20th Nov 17

    Love this post! I’m all about especially #2. I do a digital “year in review” and send it out by email and Facebook. Great tips!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Yay! I’m not alone! That sounds like so much fun! I would love to read about someone’s year and see photos rather than a perfectly posed single photo to hang on my fridge for a month.

  4. Melanie | 20th Nov 17

    This post made me smile, because Christmas can be SO stressful, hey? And it’s supposed to be fun. I love how you stay home for Christmas Day and just stock up on food and stay in your PJs. That sounds like my dream Christmas Day. Bit late for this year, but I’m so booking that next year. Christmas Eve we’ll see everyone, but nowhere on the day. Awesome! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    ~Melanie
    http://www.imagineyou.co.za

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Yes! Christmas day is my favorite. I love that my kiddos don’t have to have a schedule Christmas Day. We can just enjoy each other.

  5. Jena | Rooms Need Love | 20th Nov 17

    Great post! I love your point about Christmas cards…don’t do them if they stress you out. I love giving and receiving cards but I know several people that find the sending part very stressful. We also have an ugly tree. We bought it for $20 at Walmart but it doesn’t take up space in our garage and we cover it in mismatched ornaments from all our travels. I love it anyway 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Awww I love that! That’s exactly it…little touches from your life instead of beautiful ornaments that have no tales to tell…even thought they are beautiful.

  6. Patricia | 20th Nov 17

    Great tips! However, I love Christmas cards, so I still send them out. Plus, I still have enough for two more years! I love the idea of giving away stuff to those in need so they can enjoy Christmas too, plus reduce the clutter in one’s home.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Absolutely! I know some people love the idea of Christmas cards!

  7. James Smith | 20th Nov 17

    Great tips! I love Christmas Day and it’s good to avoid too much scheduling

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Absolutely. I hear so many people who just go, go, go. That’s just not for us!

  8. Jaime Porter | 20th Nov 17

    Love the decluttering/toy giveaway idea. Going to have my kids do this ASAP.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 20th Nov 17

      Yes it has paid off huge!

  9. Ashish | 20th Nov 17

    I am so down with not giving out Christmas cards either! There really are so much better places for our hard earned money to go!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 21st Nov 17

      That’s what I’m saying! Haha. I know some people really want their money to go there and that’s great. I’m just not feeling it anymore.

  10. Tanvi Rastogi | 20th Nov 17

    While I do love hand written cards I can see where you are coming from. Great ideas to keep Christmas clutter free.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 21st Nov 17

      Personal touches are awesome and as always, to each his own!

  11. June | 20th Nov 17

    This is so what I need for this Christmas.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 21st Nov 17

      Oh good! I’m glad. I hope you have a great one!

  12. Hannah Rooks | 22nd Nov 17

    I agree with the Christmas cards. I’ve been going back and forth between sending them out this year. It’s our first married Christmas and we just got pictures done, but they are a lot of money for something that is going to get thrown away.

    http://www.therookiewife.com

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 22nd Nov 17

      Yeah, it is tough especially when you have a big event like that. Congratulations on your first married Christmas!

  13. Dee Westbee | 22nd Nov 17

    Wow you can defiantly be my holiday twin to a T! Right down to the tree ornaments, and don’t care what people think attitude. When my kids were younger I was a loon, wanting them to look perfect, perfect tree, ect. People pleasing all over the place! It stressed me out so much I hated Christmas! Fast forward after 3 years of 5 of us being minimal and life is so much easier. The kids barely even want gifts, just gift cards, and we go to 2 family things and that’s enough! We now spend time to go cut down our tree an an organic tree farm, drink hot cocoa by their warm fire, ride the horse cart, and enjoy that new tradition so much more!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 22nd Nov 17

      I’m so glad to hear it!! I stressed so much when my little ones were first born and now…it’s just all enjoyment! I’m so glad you’ve also found your peace this time of year!

  14. Lisa Offrs | 25th Nov 17

    Great post. Next month my family trip christmas time.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 26th Nov 17

      Thank you, Lisa.

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