minimalist christmas

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas You’ll Never Forget

The holiday season can be stressful for most of us, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Want to know how to have a minimalist Christmas that you’ll never forget? You can have a very merry Christmas that’s minimal, intentional, and simply wonderful.

I’ll show you how…

Why Have a More Minimalist Christmas?

First of all, let’s talk about why someone would even want to have a “Merry LITTLE Christmas” in the first place. After all, you don’t have to consider yourself a minimalist to desire a more minimal Christmas this year.

Having a more minimalist Christmas can seem like it would take the fun out of Christmas. But I would argue that it actually puts the fun back into Christmas!

Here are just a few reasons for having a more minimalist Christmas:

  • A more minimalist Christmas means less stress.
  • Less stress leaves more room for joy.
  • A minimalist Christmas means not doing the things you don’t want to do.
  • And, therefore, it means more time for what you actually want to do.
  • A more minimalist Christmas allows us to put the focus where it should be as we celebrate.

How many times have you said this year would be different? This year, you’re not going to get stressed or overbook yourself. This year, you will focus on the “reason for the season”, prioritizing people over things.

Well, what if this year can be different?

I will show you four key ways that you can have a more minimalist Christmas…but not a boring mundane Christmas that feels like any other time of the year. This year you can have a minimalist Christmas you’ll never forget because it will truly be meaningful and magical.

How to Have a Minimalist Christmas You’ll Never Forget

1. Be intentional.

The most important part of celebrating a more minimalist Christmas is being intentional. You have to start here for the other key ways to even be possible. Being intentional with your Christmas season means deciding now what kind of season you want it to be.

If you want this year to be different, how exactly do you want it to be different? Do you want to stay within a certain budget? Do you want to have less on your schedule? Maybe you want to change the focus from gift-receiving to gift-giving for your kids. Or maybe you really desire the Christmas season to be more about the gift of God sending Jesus to save us.

Whatever the shift you want to make this year, be specific about it so you can have a plan to make that happen. What better way is there to bring the magic of Christmas back into our lives than by being intentional with all that we do and don’t do around this time?

Here are a few more ideas for how you might make this Christmas your best one yet:

2. Do less.

The second way to celebrate a more minimalist Christmas is to do less. If previous years have been overwhelming with the number of parties, gift exchanges, and baking to do, then do less of those things. Better yet, choose a few things to do and forget the rest!

Sometimes others place expectations on us that cause us to feel overwhelmed, and sometimes that expectation is assumed. And more often than not, we are placing these expectations on ourselves. We may think that Christmas without twenty types of cookies just wouldn’t be the same. Or that Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without giving our kids more gifts than we ever got.

If you are placing these expectations on Christmas yourself, ask yourself why you have these expectations. What is the reason behind the things you do? Once you know the answer to that, you can go further to make better decisions. Is it worth the cost? Is there a better way to arrive at the same result minus the stress?

If the expectations are from others, whether assumed or explicitly stated, remember that ultimately you are still in control of your life and the way you will celebrate Christmas. Be respectful and kind, but say “no” when you need to do so. Or instead of declining altogether, consider your capacity and offer what you can do.

3. Buy less.

The third way to have a more minimalist Christmas is to buy less. Don’t go overboard with gift-giving this year! You know that you go overboard with buying gifts if it stresses you out or it causes you financial hardship. And going into debt over Christmas presents just isn’t worth it!

Be honest. Is Christmas contributing to your financial strain for the rest of the year? If so, take a step back in your spending. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. There are so many thoughtful gifts that you can give that don’t cost a fortune.

And if it’s just deciding what to buy that’s causing you stress, do your best to keep it simple. You could give similar people similar gifts…say, all of your grandparents get a framed family photo. Or you could follow a “rule” that helps you decide what to buy for your kids and limits how much you buy. Many people follow a rule like this:

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read
  • Something to make
  • Something to eat
  • Something to do

There are so many gift ideas out there for minimalists and kids, not to mention all of the clutter-free gift options out there.

4. Do something new.

Fourth, a great way to have a more minimalist Christmas that you’ll never forget is to do something new. Once you have cut out the excess, it is great to replace it all with something more meaningful to you.

Start a new tradition that better aligns with the mindset shift you are making this year! You could involve your kids in gift-buying this year. You could make one or two favorite cookies with your kids this year instead of baking several different kinds on your own.

What about doing a service project to help those in need? Or, you could donate money to a good cause. You could even do something fun as a family instead of buying each other gifts. There are so many great traditions that you could start that either put you in the right mindset or help minimize the clutter that Christmas can cause.

Christmas time can be a magical season again when we choose to do something more meaningful!

5. Put people before things.

Finally, another key way to have a more minimalist Christmas is to put people before things. It’s easy to say that people are more important than things, but that’s not always what our actions are communicating to those around us. This Christmas, look for ways to put people first…even in your gift-giving.

Focus on blessing each person you give a gift to this year. Don’t worry about finding the perfect gift…the perfect gift is one you are intentional about, having the person’s uniqueness in mind.

Focus on giving instead of receiving. Don’t use the Christmas season as your time to get everything you need or want for the year. Help your kids put others first by writing Christmas lists for others instead of themselves.

Focus on cherishing the people at gatherings rather than the gifts you receive or the food you eat. Is getting gifts fun? Sure is! Is enjoying good food together a crime? Absolutely not. But, don’t let these things take you away from noticing and investing in the people around you.

Focus on communicating gratitude for the precious gifts you have been given. If you are a Christ-follower, that includes remembering the gift of Jesus, his salvation, and grace, in all that we do this holiday season.

By focusing on blessing, giving, cherishing, and communicating gratitude, you are sure to enjoy this Christmas season more than any other.

The Christmas season doesn’t need to be an overwhelming and stressful time of year. By being intentional with your time, money, energy, and mindset, you CAN have a minimalist Christmas that’s more meaningful than ever before.

How will you make this Christmas one you will never forget? Share with us in the comments!

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Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.


  1. I am in my 60’s. I only do those things that I like doing and that mean something to me. For example, I keep an Advent wreath, and I do not put up a Christmas tree. We live with two rescue and senior terrier-mix dogs who stay mostly indoors. Not too prudent to have a tree up.
    I do send a few Christmas cards. With social media these days, it is easier to keep up with family and friends digitally..

    Fewer gifts for family. Give to causes we believe in.

  2. The words “Minimalist” and “Christmas” are two words that don’t go together for many families. We went to excess when my kids were younger, but now that they are 12 and 13, we have cut back drastically, in large part because we already have so much, there is no more space for new things! But seriously, smaller is better when it comes to Christmas. It’s best not to get so wrapped up (no pun intended) in gift buying that you lose sight of more important things.

    1. So true, Bryan. I know that you aren’t alone in this! We also used to do more and decided it was better to cut back for so many reasons. It has really helped our family focus on the meaning of Christmas. 😊

  3. Great post! I have been on a journey towards low/zero waste since May, and part of this journey has been to embrace the minimalist lifestyle. 🙂 This is such a great, relevant post for me right now, so I am so happy that I stumbled upon it! Thanks for sharing
    -Jenna <3
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

  4. Having grown up with a mother who came here from Sweden as a child, I cherish the traditions of Scandinavia. A lot of the focus is on creating light in the long dark days of winter. Nature is brought indoors to decorate. Traditional holiday foods are served throughout the season. The Christmas trees are sparsely adorned. It’s all about warmth and light and gathering. Lots of coffee, pastries, and laughter.

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