Christmas doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or stressful. Instead it could be about making memories, slowing down and spending time with your friends and family. Over the years I’ve learned to have a more minimal and simple festive season which takes so much of the stress out of it. I’ve still got a way to go but I’m slowly getting there.
If you too are looking for a simpler and more meaningful festive season, there are little things you can do this year to make it happen. It really comes down to focusing on what’s important to you and trying to let go of the rest. Sometimes this is easier said than done but even if you pick one or two things from the ideas below, you will have a calmer, simpler and more minimalist Christmas.
Here are a few things you can do to have a simpler Christmas this year:
let go of traditions (that you don’t enjoy)
Christmas traditions are wonderful so long as you enjoy them. But how many traditions do you follow simply because you’ve always done it that way or because your parents did it that way? Or maybe you feel you’re expected to do things a certain way. Consider which traditions really matter to you and let go of the rest. And why not make some new traditions that mean something to you? We’re hosting Christmas this year and won’t be making the traditional turkey + trimmings meal. Both Richard and I love getting creative in the kitchen so we’ll be cooking up a very non-traditional meal that we enjoy cooking. By letting go, you’ll end up having a simpler and more stress-free holiday that you enjoy more and, as a result, so will those around you.
buy fewer gifts
When it comes to buying gifts, it’s not only the expense but it’s also the stress that comes from deciding what to buy each person. And what about the gifts you receive? How often have you been given gifts that you’re never going to use? For me, gift buying is one of the most stressful parts of Christmas. While it helps to plan your Christmas shopping in advance, there are ways to buy less too. This year, we’ve decided with our friends and family to go for secret Santa style gifting. We’re setting a budget and each person in the group buys one gift and receives one gift. Giving is a big part of Christmas so keeping this tradition is important to us but doing it in this way makes it so much simpler. There are other ways to buy fewer gifts — last year we did gifts for children only. Or you could borrow the Icelandic tradition of gifting books only. Pick an idea that works for you and go with it.
keep decorations simple
I always opt for simpler and fewer decorations because I like a calming, neutral aesthetic. But fewer, less colourful decorations also mean a lot less visual clutter. So if you’re wanting a more minimalist Christmas, this is the way to go. One of the best ways to do this is to embrace nature as Christmas decor. Simple festive greenery, foraged branches and twigs and, pine cones all work really well. Often, I forgo a large Christmas tree (it’s not a tradition that matters to me) and opt for branches and other stems that I hang ornaments from. Add a few scented candles, make a DIY garland or wreath and you’ll have a festive home that smells great too.
do what you enjoy
Borrow the Danish concept of hygge which loosely translates as creating cosiness and warmth while enjoying the little moments in life. Take some time to slow down and do the little things you enjoy. That could be curling up on the sofa with a good book or having a family movie night or baking your favourite cake. It could be taking long walks in nature or making a few festive DIY’s. Whatever it is for you and your family, make sure to do it. It’s often the simplest pleasures that give us the most joy yet we don’t spend enough time doing them.
less is more
Christmas is a time when there’s more and more of everything. Whether thats gifts, decorations, an (over) abundance of food or too many activities and outings — it’s often just too much! So if you take nothing else away from these tips, just remember that less is more. In other words doing less, having less, decorating with less, even eating less will all allow you to have a simpler and more considered Christmas.