How to Create a Simple Christmas You Can Actually Enjoy

How to Create a Simple Christmas You Can Actually Enjoy

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What if you could create a magical Christmas with no stress this year? We all want to create a special Christmas for our kids right? But somehow the holidays go from wonderful to stressful in a heartbeat. Listen it doesn’t have to be this way. A minimalist Christmas helps us keep the magic and say goodbye to the stress. The best news? I can show you how to simplify your Christmas in just a few minutes.

What is a Minimalist Christmas?

When I first heard the term Minimalist Christmas it didn’t sound very appealing. I had visions of muted candles, a few evergreen sprigs in a jar and a few forelorn presents wrapped in brown paper. Still I knew I needed a simpler Christmas. One that wouldn’t leave me exhausted. I did some reasearch and discovered that my perceptions were completely wrong.

A Minimalist Christmas is a celebration that focuses on the things you love. You consider what is truly important to you and then align your holiday to fit.

You decide what is enough and set the boundaries around that. In a nutshell, you chose what gives you joy and focus on that. Obviously this will look different for every family.

  • If decorating brings you joy, then decorate every corner to your heart’s content.
  • Hate baking? Then enjoy store bought goodies.
  • Your heart sinks at the thought of attending the office party? Explain you have another comitment and go do something fun with your kids.
  • Love creating beautifully decorating parcels? Go for it in spades!
Children decorating a simple CHristmas tree

What Does a Minimalist Christmas Look Like

My family celebrated Christmas in simple ways before ‘Minimalist Christmas’ was a thing.

Our tree was small, 4 feet tall at most. My parents would put it up on a coffee table to make it look taller, and my brothers and I would decorate it. We had one small box of Christmas ornaments and one string of lights.

I remember sitting with my brothers and making ornaments for that tree. In my memory we had an endless supply of paper, glitter, and glue. The whole family would take walks in the nearby woods to pick holly for decorating the house.

My mom liked home made goodies, so she made a few treats. Christmas cake and mince pies. We had one small tin of chocolates

Children enjoying a minimalist Christmas

How a Simple Christmas Becomes Magical

I don’t remember what gifts I received. I can’t even recollect what our ornaments looked like, but I do remember other things:

  • The mounting excitement as the big day drew near.
  • Baking with my mom.
  • The smell of the tree
  • My dad patiently showing me how to wrap a present, so it looked nice.
  • The aroma of the turkey basting in the stove.
  • Watching Christmas movies together.
  • Waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning.

Christmas was a time for immediate family and I spent Christmas Day with my brothers and parents. On Boxing Day we often gathered at my grandparent’s house with aunts, uncles, and cousins. My Auntie D would play the piano and get all the cousins singing and dancing. I remember the laughter and the joking. I also remember the smells. Christmas oranges, turkey cooking, and the taste of fruitcake. The adults would eat and drink and the cousins would play. There was music and laughter and lots of love.

We didn’t get very many presents, but Christmas was always special.

I have happy memories of time spent with family. My parents did not spend a lot of time and money, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t celebrate. We had special christmas traditions that happened every year. I remember the feel of Christmas and the love that surrounded me. Looking back I can see that my parents focused on a limited number of special things and it was enough.

It is not about going without. Neither does it mean becoming a scrooge. No a minmalist is all aChristmas bout embracing those things that bring you joy and giving yourself permission to say no to the rest.

What sucks the joy out of your Christmas? Stop doing those things, so you can do what you want instead. How does that sound?

mom and child enjoying a minimalist Christmas activity

Why is Christmas So Hard These Days?

Advertisers work hard to convince us that the best types of Christmas involve more. More decorations, more presents, more time commitments, more stuff. Social media send the same message. All this stuff just leaves us cranky, broke, and exhausted.

“The cards went out. The presents were wrapped. The cookies baked. We were at everyone’s houses as scheduled. It was exhausting and I was just waiting for it to be over. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t the victim of this holiday circus, I was the ringmaster.”

Brene Brown

It is time to reclaim a simple, minimalist Christmas for our families. Read on to find out how you can turn your stressed, chaotic holiday into the calm, simple Christmas. Don’t you and your family deserve that?

who to have simple Christmas pin

How Do You Make a Simple Christmas?

I have discovered that I can create a magical Christmas without all the stress. So what’s the secret? Three simple steps.

As a bonus, I’ve included some FREE printable worksheets to work through the steps.  

In a nutshell here’s how it works. Grab a pen and our free printable. Make a cup of your favorite beverage, and answer the following questions.

1. Think about what is truly important to you

  • What kind of Holiday do you really want?
  • Which are the most MEANINGFUL aspects of Christmas for you?
  • What parts of Christmas preparation bring you joy?
  • Think about your childhood memories of Christmas. What do you remember most? What was magical for you? Can you learn from that?

Do it Today, before you get sucked into the madness. (Note: some of these questions were inspired by the publication “Simplify the Holidays.” Available free from the [New Dream].) Now use those answers to think about what kind of Christmas you want.

2. Decide what you want Christmas to look like this year

  • What do you want it to look like?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • What will it sound and smell like?

Write it down and be specific. 

simplify CHristmas pin

3. Write Yourself a Permission Slip

Wait. What? I know it sounds silly? Bear with me, because I’m going to explain.

What if we stop trying to create the perfect Christmas? It really is that simple. Who decides what the perfect Christmas looks like anyway? Shouldn’t it be us? Somehow those expectations get the better of us. Then we find ourselves getting sucked into the madness. And you know what? We end up tired, stressed and resentful.

Let’s give ourselves permission NOT to do all the stuff this year. Let us choose to do what gives us joy and leave the rest undone. Can we really do this? Absolutely we can. We just have to give ourselves permission.

You may feel a bit silly, but let me tell you those permsission slips are a very powerful tool! Ready to begin?

Think about this question.

What do you need to do (or not to do) to have the Christmas you desire?

Here are mine. I give myself permission to

  1. Skip cleaning the house from top to bottom. (For some absurd reason I’ve always felt I had to do this before I could decorate).
  2. Ditch the work party and watch some Christmas movies with my love.
  3. Give the Christmas newsletter a miss this year.
  4. Pick a few decorations to put out and leave the rest in their boxes.
  5. Skip the Christmas baking and buy some good quality chocolate instead.
  6. Play cheesy Christmas music as loud as I want.

Hey I feel lighter already. And guess what? It will still be Christmas even if I don’t write the Christmas newsletter, clean the house, or put up every decoration we own. Your family will benefit, because a calmer parent means a happier family.

Download the free Christmas Worksheets from the library. You will find it with the Holiday Printables.

It even includes a fancy permission slip. Fill it in and sign it. Then put it up where you will see it every day.

How can I make Christmas less stressful?

It is much easier to give other people these kinds of permission slips. So, I’ve written a few to give you some inspiration. You have permission to

  1. Say no to organizing the church pageant, attending the office party, or (insert a Christmas obligation that brings you no joy).
  2. Do something fun with your kids instead.
  3. Serve shop bought treats instead of baking.
  4. Buy fewer gifts.
  5. Say YES to whatever brings you peace, joy, and calm.

Related: Simplify Christmas With The Four Gift Rule

  1. And NO to whatever brings stress.
  2. Enjoy saying yes to your needs.
  3. Buy no gifts.
  4. Skip writing Christmas cards this year.
  5. Ask your family to help with (whatever Christmas thing you need to delegate).

What will make Christmas truly magical for your family?

It easy to fill the season with events, perfect decorations, and festive activities. But is that what’s important?

Will this frantic activity create the kind of memories you want your children to have?

Christmas magic is not found in expensive gifts, a perfectly decorated house, or mounds of gourmet food. Children will experience the magic in the joy of family and the time spent with you.
Sharon Harding

The truth is that in the end it doesn’t matter. 

Presents are nice. decorations are wonderful. And special treats are lovely, but none of those things actually make Christmas. When your children look back they won’t talk about those details. They will remember the joyful atmosphere, the love shared with family, and the time spent with you. If you focus on those things you will have a Christmas to remember.

Now do it!

So what are you waiting for? It’s up to you now. Are you ready to simplify your Christmas and enjoy the holiday? Trust me it’s worth it.

Your Turn

Did you write a permission slips? I would love it if you would share some of your ideas. In the comments below tell me what you wrote for yourself this year.

Minimalist Christmas pin
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