I’m Dreaming of a Minimalist Christmas


There are a number of reasons that I’ve decided not to go big for Christmas this year. The most pressing of these, of course, is the fact that I am due with baby #3 right after Thanksgiving. Having survived a rather difficult postpartum experience, I decided that my next go-around needs to be different. Adding a bunch of stress is not a part of the plan, no matter how important the holiday is to me. To keep the holidays merry rather than stressful, I created a three-pronged plan of attack for a minimalist Christmas.

I am going to PRIORITIZE.

If your December is anything like mine, you are constantly flooded with social event requests. As much as I would love to be able to say yes to everything, I know that if I do, I will be completely drained. I am giving myself permission to say no. I know that traditions are an important part of holidays, and I will maintain the ones that serve us well.

Christmas, for us, is about faith and family. We will attend mass and see the grandparents, but I am not going to stress about squeezing myself into a dress for my husband’s work Christmas party. He’s going stag. I know baking holiday cookies was an important tradition to my husband growing up, but it wasn’t for me. He gets to continue that with our children while I take a much-needed nap. If it doesn’t fill my cup, I’m letting it go. A happy mom will provide for much better memories than a mom who tries to do ALL OF THE THINGS.

We will use the Advent season to downsize.

One of the dumbest things I have ever done as a parent is to introduce that stupid elf to our house. Unfortunately, my kids love Marshall, and he’s not going anywhere any time soon. Fine. As we prepare for Christmas, Marshall will give my children one task per day. As much as I hate him, he motivates the heck out of them. I’m going to use that to my advantage.

Also, we will keep our St. Nicholas Day tradition. While St. Nick did show up and leave some goodies on December 6, he also took old toys with him. My kids collect toys that they no longer want, and he brings them back to the North Pole to fix and give to other children. (I know, I’m brilliant.) In reality, the broken toys end up in the trash and the ones in decent shape are donated. Our house is not accepting new toys while it is overflowing with old ones.

Christmas presents will remain simple and be few in number.

Santa brings ONE present to each child in this house. This is partially selfish–Santa does not get all the credit for the work that I do. However, it is also intentional. I know that Christmas does not look the same for all families. I would feel terrible if another child thought they weren’t “nice” because they only got one present while mine got fifteen.

Furthermore, I just don’t want more crap in my house. My kids end up throwing things all over the place as they try to find the one or two things they actually want. No more. Mom and Dad will give two presents, one of which will be a present combined for all the kids. Jesus got three presents, and it was his BIRTHDAY. The grandparents can will spoil them. I don’t have to.

Are you going to have a minimalist Christmas? Sound off in the comments.



  1. As I started on my journey of mindfulness, I also became a bit of a minimalist.

    We don’t buy gifts for our kids, not even one. Instead, we choose to spend our money and time making memories, on a family vacation.

    After seeing my kids go nuts one year unwrapping present, and in the aftermath of missing pieces and toys everywhere, I decided this was nuts!

    If I decide to buy a gift for others, it’s normally a book (life long learner in me) or an experience together. I’m totally over the commercialization of EVERYTHING!


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