Firstly, this is a post that I never thought I’d write. Or at least not yet. Christmas? Already? In September? Normally, I’d be speaking about commercialism gone too far…and materialism gone mad. But it’s all around us, whether we like it or not. Yesterday, looking for birthday cards in town, I saw a vast range of personalised Christmas cards for sale. This morning, driving home from the school run, the radio was pronouncing that it was only 109 sleeps until Christmas. And in my inbox, I’m starting to receive information about Christmas events. So, these are just some of the reasons that I’m starting to think about Christmas… and perhaps just starting to think about it in a positive way.

I’m aiming for a credit free Christmas. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll perhaps have seen me mention this already. In the past, I’ve been quite happy to use my credit and debit cards for those must-have Christmas purchases…..this year, I want it to be different. I’m aiming to fund gift purchases by decluttering, by selling unwanted items, unused items, those items we no longer love. But it takes time…so if you’re planning on doing the same, it’s worth thinking about now. Thanks to various selling sites, I’m over half way there…and of course, it means our living space is becoming just a little less cluttered, too.

No more gift fatigue. This is kind of embarassing to write…but one year, my kids actually suffered from “gift fatigue”. I’m not sure if this is a real term or not, but by this I mean that they got tired of opening presents on Christmas day. Yes, they were little; yes, they had short attention spans; yes, they were the only grand kids in the family (and so got spoilt) – but still it’s embarrassing to disclose, and something that we’re not keen to repeat again. Since then, we’ve cut back every year. This year instead of buying lots, we’ll definitely be subscribing to #buylessbuybetter as discussed in a recent post about shopping.  And adult family members? We now do a “secret Santa” – one gift for each family member, that way we can (a) choose something really special (b) choose something they really want/need and (c) avoid waste and over-gifting. So….with this in mind, I’m planning ahead already. And to combat the commercialism we’ve already saved a shoebox that we can fill with gifts for Operation Christmas Child later in the year.

A new gifting mantra. Many of us have heard the well-know mantra of gift giving: “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” This year, I’d like to add “something to look forward to”. There’s always so much going on at Christmas, and I sometimes feel that we miss out. Instead of rushing around busy stores and crowded malls, buying gifts or staying up late to wrap said gifts…I want to have nice things planned where we can spend time together. A quick search on Google can already bring up several events in your local area, many of which are free to attend. If they’re not free, perhaps you could treat a friend or family member to a ticket, instead of purchasing a gift? So far I’ve been thinking about Christmas Fayres, performances, and walks in the woodlands (a spot of winter forest bathing, anyone?)…. there’s always so much going on! This English Heritage event has caught my eye already, doesn’t it sound lovely! Are you planning ahead?

Planning Christmas decor. Every year, until now, we’ve had a Christmas tree….this year, I’m a bit undecided. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we have a large cat. At last weigh in she was approx 6.5 kg. But she’s grown. A climber, and a playful one at that, I know she’ll bring down the tree. I’m thinking about how I’d love to create some sort of Christmas tree design with our lights, but I don’t know how or even whether it would work. So this is going to take some planning. And research. And learning. (I’m not technically very competent; the last time I tried to put together some flat-pack boxes it ended in disaster). Does anyone have any ideas, please?

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts about how I’m trying to incorporate some minimalist ideas into Christmas this year. I’d love to hear how you celebrate and spend time with your loved ones … have you started thinking about gifting or making plans?

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also enjoy reading 20 Ideas for a Simple Christmas

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60 comments on “Why I’m Already Thinking About (a Minimalist) Christmas”

  1. I love, love, LOVE Christmas, so yes, I’ve been thinking about gifting and making plans. We don’t have a large family, so a secret Santa isn’t necessary, but I think it’s a great idea if a lot of people are on your gift list. One year we woke up in the middle of the night to a CRASH, splash, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. It was the tree coming down, the water spilling out, and the ornaments breaking. The cat. The thing is, it scared the cat so much that he never went near it again! Since then we’ve downsized our tree to a little one that’s easier for us to put up and take down, and it sits on the counter way out of the reach of the cat(s), but I’ll never forget that big, scary crash in the middle of the night!

    • Oh, that sounds so familiar, Priscilla! It must have given you all such a fright!! I love your idea of having a little tree that can sit on the counter top 🙂 I’m struggling to think of anywhere that would be out of reach of our cat…she even gets on the bookshelves that are 6ft plus tall; it’s a good job we love her because she can be a menace at times!

    • How totally wonderful, Joraffe, to be able to enjoy the season without having to shop at all. I think you’ve got a great idea, there 🙂

  2. I absolutely LOVE Christmas but this year will be different as I’ll be living at my parents’ house, therefore I feel mine too will be rather minimal but I have to say I’m looking forward to that. I’m trying to live by “less is more” and me and my other half have already said we need to be sensible when buying gifts this year and not overspend! We’ll see if that’s possible! Great post as always, thank you 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Elizabeth 🙂 I’ll be interested to hear how you get on and I’ll look forward to your Twitter updates!

  3. Love this post! I can’t compete with my great nephews’ parents & grandparents in gift giving, so I always take the three of them somewhere fun. Hopefully, they at least think it’s fun!

    • Thank you so much, Linda 🙂 That sounds like a perfect gift for your great nephews; what could be more special than spending fun time together x

  4. My daughter and I used a roll of green craft paper and cut out sections to make a tree and attached it to a door in our 300 sqft apt. Then we drew/colored on the ornaments. Also making the tree topper is fun 🙂

  5. I’m inspired to get planning and get it sorted. I’m usually the one shopping for everything on Christmas eve and nervously tracking Amazon delivery status!

  6. Great Read! As our kids got older, we started minimalizing Christmas. But each year we take a family photo, and now the kids are grown and on their own, we collect all our photos to make a Christmas collage.

    • Thanks for your kind comment, I’m glad your enjoyed the post. Your collage sounds so lovely; photos bring back such special memories x

  7. Totally agree we should cut back on the commercialism! I reflected on what went well and didn’t last year in the hope I learn from it all. I agree it prevents fatigue to get organised earlier!

    • Oh yes, I think we can definitely learn from previous years. Every year, it prompts me to buy less, or to buy better. Thanks for stopping by x

  8. I heard an ad about something for Christmas on the radio while driving in my car and I thought surely not!! Way too early! And I was starting feeling panicky as every year it gets just too much! I love the idea of giving tickets to events away, or just something different. I had a former work colleague who decided to make the gifts herself – so she made some really nice perfumed candles one day. I thought that was a brilliant idea!

    • It’s all a little bit crazy, isn’t it? We saw a pop-up Christmas card shop in our shopping centre yesterday…! I didn’t see anyone make a purchase, though. I always think it’s so lovely when people give homemade gifts, it’s so special when you think of all the time and love that are put into them!

  9. I love Christmas… but at the same time, there is so much ‘stuff’ and there doesn’t need to be. We try to create traditions, things we do every year, which I hope my children will remember when they grow up. Of course they get presents but we try to buy good quality gifts that will last rather than loads of disposable stuff. My husband and I have agreed to stop buying for our siblings and their partners. It was getting ridiculous!
    I save a set amount of money each month and then do all the shopping in October! November and December are so jam-packed full of birthdays I have to get it done in advance!
    A thought-provoking post x

    • Thanks, Cathryn. I love the idea of Christmas traditions. Those really are the things that we remember when we grow up, aren’t they? Much more than the stuff we were given x

  10. I started credit free Christmas’s about 10 years ago and spend the whole year selling undated family things from toys to clothing and use the money to buy gifts throughout the year and store them away.

    It’s part of the reason I love Christmas so much, no stress, no buying gifts and lots of happy faces

    • That sounds just lovely, Jaime! It certainly sounds like you put a lot of thought into your purchases and making the whole thing credit free is wonderful 🙂

  11. This post resonates hugely with my ethos. In the past, our children have had so, so many presents. We’ve talked about it and said we’re doing it differently this year. No stocking filler tat. A few quality presents will be what they’re receiving.
    I’ve told my family there isn’t anything I need but I’d love something they’ve made. They’re all getting spoons that I’ve whittled 😁

    • Hi Lu, your comment echoes conversations we’ve had, too. How lovely to connect. Stocking fillers is a quandary of mine, too…I think the commercials really try to guilt people, don’t they? To take the meaning out of Christmas with their urgent messages to buy, and spend more, and gift more. Your home made gifts sound so lovely, what a great idea. I’m going to encourage the kids to make gifts and bake this year, too. My son spent hours making a Christmas tree gift from paper last year…our grandmother displayed it for weeks and he was proud as punch x

  12. It’s a great idea to start thinking about Christmas now before we get carried away with the completely overwhelming advertising/media frenzy of it all. And I agree that it’s fun to plan for festive events. These can make the season so magical but tend to get pushed out by the many should-dos and we-think-we-must-dos!

    • Oh, those “we-think-we-must-dos”…..those are tricky, aren’t they! Sometimes, we don’t need to do them at all if we find the courage and tact to say no 🙂 Great comment, thanks for stopping by!

  13. I love this! My children also suffered from gift fatigue, infact they had to have a little break because they just got too tired of opening all the gifts. A minimalist Christmas sounds amazing, I’ve been thinking about booking us a holiday instead of expensive presents, we are trying hard to be more minimalist!

    • Thanks for your kind comments, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve been thinking about a break at Christmas, too, wouldn’t it be lovely to get away from it all and just spend some quality time with loved ones x

  14. I totally get gift fatigue. One of my twins (7 yrs old) said last year after the big day ‘we had too many presents this year mummy’ and rolled his eyes. He still thinks santa brought them but I was horrified. And upset. I always go for the wow factor… thinking that they need millions of gifts under the tree when they come downstairs christmas morning, and even though they DO love this, they really don’t need it. Definitely won’t e going overboard this year. Although I never use credit cards…. we just skint ourselves haha x

  15. Love your idea of selling the unwanted stuff to pay for Christmas. Makes room and finances it all. I’ve started making lists. I like to make as much as I can, so I have to get going early. I try to make a hamper of home made goodies for each family. For our children, I like to get at least one present that they can’t have on the day, such as a subscription or a course of lessons. Less clutter and it lasts longer than the turkey. #MMBC

    • I love the idea of home-made gifts and presents that they can’t have on the day. You’re giving me some ideas, thanks for stopping by x

  16. I’ve never heard the ‘gift giving mantra’ but it sounds exactly how I like to do Christmas! I find it harder and harder to buy presents for people!

    I haven’t started thinking about Christmas at all but I love the sound of minimalist, for me Christmas is about spending quality time with the people I love. That’s the best present!


  17. Oooh, Christmas… already though?

    Last year I cut back on the gifts. They each had 3 presents to themselves and then some shared gifts.

    The older two (who were 11 and 7) shared board games. The younger two (who were 2 and 1) shared puzzle boards etc.

    It really helped with the problem of where to store it after Christmas.

  18. I love this post! We’re going for a minimalist Christmas this year and I can’t wait to actually enjoy it and not be stressed. I’ll be taking on some of what you’ve suggested in this post too. Especially a credit free Christmas. x

  19. I’m totally with you on these reasons!! I love Christmas and as soon as it’s over I’m counting down again!! I love the idea of a ‘credit free’ Christmas and I hope you can do it!

  20. Hi Rachel, Christmas is my favourite time of year and in order to enjoy it, I do like to be a teensy, weensy bit organised. That doesn’t mean the decorations go up before mid-December and I hate seeing Christmas adverts before the beginning of December, the way it’s advertised you’d think no one knows it’s coming!

    I’d love to go to a proper Christmas market with the family, one day maybe. And your idea of decluttering to raise money for Christmas is a fab idea. I can’t imagine Christmas without our huge tree, but then I don’t have a monster cat, although our dogs do need watching (no Christmas chocolate must hang too low!). How about creating an artistic, but simple ‘tree’ on the wall using wooden slats and lights with some baubles hanging from the wood?

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  21. I love the ideas in this post and a minimal Christmas doesn’t take away any of the festiveness. I love your Christmas mantra, I think I might have to use that one when I think about my christmas shopping this year x

  22. We have also begun thinking about Christmas. The last few years we have been trying to cut back. It never works, but we’re trying! This year we have a family trip planned for March next year. That is our big gift. Santa will still visit with a few things for the girls to open, but I just went through a kids rooms decluttering summer so I don’t want to throw a bunch more stuff in there!

    • Hi, Jessica. A big family trip sounds wonderful, I wonder where you’re going. Adventures and travels can be the best kinds of gifts sometimes, can’t they? I hope you have a wonderful time and I’ll hope to read about it on your blog 🙂

  23. I have stopped celebrating Christmas a while ago, when my grandmother died. It hasn’t been the same without her, she used to be like a mother to me. I have tried a few years after her passing, but I realised I’m just miserable so I decided to stop celebrating it. Ever since, every year, for Christmas, I fly somewhere far away, somewhere where it’s summer and warm and I just spend the Christmas at the beach with other people like me who are running away from this holiday.

    • Hi, Joanna, I’m so very sorry to hear about your grandmother. Spending the holiday without a special loved one must be difficult. Thanks for sharing what Christmas means to you xx

  24. Ah it’s never too early to talk about Christmas in my book!! it sounds like you have the right idea though; simple moments to remember are exactly what the season is about. Not too long to wait now!

  25. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yes…indeed! and also, it happens to be my favorite holiday and with that, all of the stuff I accumulate, new and old is at my home, just seems like each year I have something new to add to my existing collection…so when you talk about a minimalist Christmas… I truly believe it would be impossible for me 🙁

    • How lovely, Rox! It sounds like your home will look so Christmassy. Everyone’s approach is different, there’s no right or wrong, as long as you’re happy! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  26. I agree with you that we needn’t throw lots of presents at the kids. We’ve got one main present for the girls this year that I’ve been busy giving a makeover to. #mmbc

  27. Christmas seems to be more and more of a competition about who can make theirs bigger and better than everyone else’s. I don’t blame you for wanting to wanting to have a minimalist Christmas

    Tasha x

  28. I really can’t think of anything worse than going into January with the added pressure/ thought of paying for Christmas that has just gone. I also try to think of unique gifts that don’t necessarily cost a lot xx

  29. This is such a fantastic thing to aim for, though I fear I’d struggle with a lot of this. But Christmas is my favourite time of the year, so I don’t feel so bad going over the top for it.

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