Minimalist Christmas – Happily Simplifying Big Traditions

Christmas can be a hectic time of year with the shopping, decorating, cooking, and wrapping gifts.  It can be a whole lot easier and simpler using a minimalist method.

A minimalist Christmas is the “less is more” mindset to decorate, shop, and gift for the season. This style of celebrating can bring less stress, more savings, and focus on what the season is really about. Using things on hand and a little creativity, you can create minimalist décor, cards and more.

You’ve probably heard of minimalist artists, homes, and living-but did you know there’s minimalist Christmas?  Curious to find out more about minimalist Christmas trees?

What Is a Minimalist Christmas?

Let’s start with minimalism.  Minimalism is the view that “less is more” as it pertains to possessions, decorations, clothing, homes, and more.  So how does that pertain to Christmas?  To begin with, the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, not to find the best deals or to trade lots of presents.  A minimalist Christmas is about celebrating the way you want to-not the way others expect you to.  That means several different things, but let’s look at the benefits.

Christmas Tree Ornament - Minimalist Christmas - Gone Minimal
Christmas Tree Ornament

Benefits of a Minimalist Christmas

The benefits of a minimalist Christmas are different for each person. It may be spending more time together with the people you love and embracing a more meaning full approach to the holiday, or it may be spending and consuming less.

There are so many benefits of a minimalist Christmas!  Because it pertains to doing what you want to do, and celebrating the way you want to, you can expect some of the following benefits:

  • Less stress
  • Less expectations
  • Money saved
  • New experiences
  • New traditions
  • People first
  • More gratitude
  • Much more enjoyment
  • More peace

Everybody needs more enjoyment and peace in their lives, given the hectic lifestyles most of us lead on a day-to-day basis.  Maybe it sounds difficult to achieve, but it doesn’t have to be.  Let’s take a look on some ways to enjoy a minimalist Christmas.

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas

How do we usually celebrate Christmas?  It starts with decorating everything, putting up a tree and lights, shopping on black Friday and cyber Monday, then wrapping presents and paying off layaway and credit card bills.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Let’s turn the tables and examine how to have a minimalist Christmas for much less stress (and money!).

Christmas wreath - Minimalist Christmas - Gone Minimal
Christmas wreath
  1. Ask friends and loved ones what they really want.  And don’t feel obligated to buy gifts for everyone-prioritize who you’d like to purchase gifts for.  Don’t feel bad about it-give cards to friends and others instead.
  2. Don’t go shopping at stores if you don’t have to-utilize online resources.  You can still save money with coupon codes and special online savings.  And don’t spend more than you’re willing to!
  3. Use materials on hand to wrap gifts.  We’ve all got a stash of gift bags, wrapping paper, and bows-put it to good use!  Or use fabric or reusable totes to wrap gifts.  This will save you money and give the other something they can reuse!
  4. Make your own decorations.  Use pine cones, leaves, herbs, or whatever you can find around your neighborhood to make a living wreath or mantle decoration.  It’ll smell nice and be unique!
  5. Keep the decorations to a minimum.  You don’t have to be the Griswolds to have an awesome Christmas!  Besides-what you put up will have to be taken down.  You don’t even have to put up a Christmas tree if you don’t want to.  Think of how much time you’ll save NOT untangling all of those Christmas lights.

This doesn’t sound too difficult compared to the traditional Christmas, now does it?  And remember that just like with minimalism-there are no rules, this can be done how you want to do it.  Next let’s look at the individual elements of a minimalist Christmas.

A minimalist Christmas is the “less is more” mindset to decorate, shop, and gift for the season. This style of celebrating can bring less stress, more savings, and focus on what the season is really about.

Elements of a Minimalist Christmas 

With a minimalist Christmas there are several categories to look at-and you can decide to incorporate all of them or just a few.  The beauty of it is-it’s all up to you!  Here are the elements of a minimalist Christmas and what they look like:

Minimalist Christmas tree decor - Minimalist Christmas - Gone Minimal
Minimalist Christmas tree decor

Minimalist Christmas Décor

Minimalist Christmas décor can vary widely-it’s up to the individual the pieces, colors, and techniques to use.  This style could be considered the opposite of the Griswold Christmas-so no real fire risk here!  There could be a single color scheme with all of the decorations, or only a couple of colors to keep it simple yet beautiful.  There could be only a Christmas tree with white ornaments and simple Christmas stockings hung from the mantle, no more.  There’s no need to put red and green everywhere you look!

Minimalist Christmas Trees

When it comes to minimalist Christmas trees, there are several options.  Some minimalists will decide to forego the tree entirely.  Others will use a small tree, or a large tree with only white lights.  Like with the Christmas décor, it could be a single color scheme with all of the ornaments on the tree. 

Minimalist Christmas Ornaments

If you’ve got a Christmas tree up, you’ve got to cover it in ornaments, right?  Nope!  Minimalist Christmas ornaments will typically stick to a single color scheme, or a single style of bauble, and kept to a minimum around the tree rather than 4 ornaments per square foot.  You could even decide to make your own Christmas ornaments.

Wooden carved reindeer - Minimalist Christmas - Gone Minimal
Wooden carved reindeer

Minimalist Christmas Nativity Set

Another way to utilize minimalism with your Christmas decorating is with a minimalist Christmas nativity set.  Not your standard ornately carved and painted set, there are several different styles and materials for this.  From Jenga-style blocks with labels to a modern frosted glass sculpture of only Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, a minimalist Christmas nativity set can bring a simple yet stylish piece of interest to your dinner table without losing the true meaning of Christmas.

Minimalist Christmas Cards

Even with Christmas cards there is a minimalist method!  Minimalist Christmas cards are simple yet thoughtful, and even sometimes homemade.  They won’t write you a novel or choose a card covered in glitter-it will be minimalist and heartfelt.  

Minimalist Christmas Wrapping Paper

Minimalist Christmas wrapping paper is about sustainability and using what’s on hand.  Butcher paper in a large roll can be used to wrap gifts for any occasion-saving money (as well as sanity!) and allowing a bit of creativity.  Sometimes minimalist Christmas wrapping paper is even reusable-made out of fabric or reusable grocery bags.  There’s really no need for a bow!

Minimal gift wrap - Minimalist Christmas - Gone Minimal
Minimal gift wrap

Minimalist Christmas Gifts

Minimalist Christmas gifts are the things that are useful, not pretty (per se).  It’s usually things like food, clothing, tools (garden and garage), and gift cards.  Minimalists don’t focus on the material possessions but on the things they need-and if you don’t know what they need, a gift card can go a long way!

DIY Minimalist Christmas Decorations

Ready to get really creative?  Let’s DIY minimalist Christmas decorations!  Use construction paper, glue, and markers or paint (and even glitter if you’ve got it!) to create handmade Christmas tree ornaments and mantle pieces.  Hand-paint some plain baubles with the colors and designs of your choice to hang on your Christmas tree and wreath.  The only limit is what you have on hand and what you’re willing to buy to create!

Minimalist Christmas on a Budget

Yes you can have a minimalist Christmas on a budget!  Minimalism is about “less is more”-not shop ‘til you drop.  You can create a minimalist Christmas using only what you have on hand-from handmade cards and décor to baking cookies and muffins as gifts.  Christmas is not about shopping, it’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with family and friends.  So reuse those gift bags in the closet to gift the chocolate chip cookies for your mom.  Tie a ribbon on the plastic container with banana chocolate chip muffins for your

This helpful video below will give you 25 minimalist gift ideas.

What To Get a Minimalist for Christmas

So if you’re wondering what to get a minimalist for Christmas, look no further.  Minimalists don’t care for material things or possessions.  They focus on the essentials, as well as what really matters to them.  They prefer experiences over electronics-so consider a trip to the lake or a musical.  Necessities like clothing and food over necklaces-so consider gift cards for their favorite grocery or clothing store.  So no frills-give them what they need, which is exactly what they want.

The Top 3 Things Real People Would Want for a Minimal Christmas

I asked several family and friends if they celebrate and were to have a minimalist Christmas, what are the top 3 things they would want to have (gifts, tree, wreath, etc.).

ItemTally of Family/Friends
Christmas tree3
Gift cards5
Family dinner3
Things I need4

Other Resources:

Christmas isn’t about a huge tree covered in baubles and lights, piles of store-bought gifts with fancy wrapping paper, or even strings of lights covering every square inch of the roof.  You don’t need all of those things to celebrate, especially a minimalist Christmas-you need those around you and those you love.  Celebrate each other, gift what they need, and remember what really matters.

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