Minimalist Holiday Decor


In January of 2009 I bought boxes and boxes of Christmas decor. This was before minimalism, before having a baby and before moving into a bigger home. I was on a mission that month and my mission was to buy as much on sale holiday decor as I could get my hands on.

We lived in a small 586 sq ft condo at the time. There wasn’t even room for a tree.

Why was I obsessed with buying things I couldn’t use?

I had grand plans for the future. We were trying to conceive at the time and I was hitting the “is this ever going to happen point” (it did of course). I was shopping for a life I was day dreaming of: a bigger home and a baby.

A year later the day dream was a reality. I had the bigger home and the baby. In my new mom exhausted state I put the tree up, decorated it (sometimes with a wee Henry wrapped to me in his carrier) and filled vases with sparkly fake gooseberry branches and hung lights all over our living room.

My life was certainly richer but it wasn’t because of holiday decor.

In preparation to move overseas I donated most of my holiday decorations. The only thing kept was a box of ornaments that is in storage in Canada.

Truthfully: I like a home that is done up for the holidays. It is a visual reminder to relax, kick back and enjoy all the fun of the season. But can you decorate a home without having six boxes of stuff to sit in storage for most of the year? I think so.

Welcome to the first Minimalist Mom Group Project!

I’ve started a Simple Christmas Decor Pinterest board. I would like your help with it.

If you’re on Pinterest and would like to pin decor inspiration that is simple, fun, elegant and a bit minimalist just ping me. Send me a tweet (@racheljonat) or an email (the minimalist mom at gmail dot com) and I will ad you to the board. I think you have to be following me for me to add you and to use Pinterest you need a Twitter or Facebook account.

Things I consider simple holiday decor: greenery, anything that can be composted or consumed, using items you already have around the home, items that can be used for decor at other times of the year and nothing that requires sewing (but I am happy be be convinced otherwise).

More about simple holiday decor:


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  • I am all over this one! But I don’t have pinterest…(more electronic clutter for my life)…can I just email what I am doing? Thanks.

  • We put up a tree, decorate it with decorations that we’ve had for years now, and decorate the fireplace with some tinsel and the children’s stockings for Santa Claus. We also have a few decorations the children have made over the years, which to me are the most important ones. That’s about it, we get lots of cards from friends and family and putting those up does a good job of decorating the room!

  • When I was younger, and before my dad passed away, my family went all out with Christmas Decor. Not all out by “Griswald” standards, but still a lot of tasteful decorations. Decor went up Thanksgiving night and came down Christmas night. That was our tradition. We loved it. When I got married, all we had was my 2 ft tall tree that decorated my childhood bedroom. After we started moving a lot we traded that one in on one of those fiber optic trees that were popular at the turn of the new millennium. And for many years that was the only Christmas decoration we had. After my dad passed away and we had our son, my mom graciously allowed me and my sister to go through their Christmas decorations and take the stuff that was meaningful to us. In addition to those decorations, my husband and I invested in a skinny 6 ft tall Christmas tree (it is one of those trees that is designed for the front entry of a home and came with lights on it) that is very nice, but since it is skinny it fits nicely in a corner of our living room and is not imposing. I try to stick with one color of ornaments so that it is not visually cluttered (though as my son gets older and has started making ornaments in church the visual clutter is starting). Originally the tree had white lights and gold ornaments. But the gold ornaments were glass and not safe for a small child. So now they are red plastic ones for safety, and I have added 1 string of colored lights so that it is more interesting for my son. I have Christmas decor on most our flat surfaces, in the living room only, but not so much that is is difficult to dust. So far we have chosen not to put gifts under the tree before Christmas. That also helps with the visual (and real) clutter.

  • I love the pine cone garland! My family is into skiing which means we talk constantly about snow. Inspired by a beautiful felt garland ( I saw on etsy, my youngest son and I started making cotton ball garlands (out of a vat of cotton balls I’ve never used). Not as chic, but so cheerful!
    We’re also making these simple paper ball globes:
    (in white, of course) to hang from the ceiling mobile style. I think I’ll keep the glitzy stuff in the cupboard this year. The boys love our snowy tree!

  • Hi,

    I think this would be a great alternative to the advent calendar! Something for you to think about…

    Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands

    This is an ebook with 24 advent activities!

  • I don’t do Pinterest, but what about items kiddos make? Although we don’t celebrate Christmas, I’d still put up wintery themed artwork from our preschooler. Just a thought!

  • I Lurve me some Christmas. I love having a pretty tree with lights. I LOVE the lights. Not to the point of tacky (see example above) but I really like how simple and pretty they are. It’s the only time of year I enjoy seeing more than a smidge of red and gold. I love the green with snow on the ground, I JUST LOVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. I don’t need a ton, but I NEED decorations. Or else I wouldn’t enjoy it at all. Of course, I know you weren’t saying not to decorate- but everyone has a hitch in their giddy-up, and this is definitely mine.

  • Great idea for a collaborative effort! I’ve already spotted a few things and “tagged” you in my pins on pinterest. Feel free to add me to the contributors and I’ll post directly if I see anything else.

    My sister’s family does an advent calendar alternative that I think is nice. She has young children (5, 3 and 1) and each night during December they shoot a short (15-20 second) video of the kiddos saying the days number and a short bible verse (i.e. last night the kids said “1 – before anything else God was there”). The videos are posted on facebook so family can see, then compiled for Christmas. It’s a lesson for them on their families’ religious beliefs, a way to share with family far away, and fun for the kids!

  • We have a real tree from Dec 24-Jan 6 = 12 Days of Christmas.
    Pine cones get collected in the autumn, used either plain or sprayed.
    Anything looks good displayed in simple glass containers or dishes… pine cones, baubles, nuts, apples, mandarines… paper stars ( these can also be strung, same with classic popcorn/cranberry and can be out of any paper, including plain white copy paper or junk mail or catalog pages.
    Candles galore – even simple white tea lights in jam jars or drinking glasses look festive, it doesn’t need to cost much. One a day makes a nice Advent calendar and perhaps time for reading books or telling stories each evening.
    Any kind of evergreenery or berries can be hung, garlanded, bunched, added to outdoor plant tubs.
    Traditional decorations include those made of gold/silver papers but also straw (
    Baking any kind of traditional cookie or cake and enjoying them with family and friends. Apple and cinnamon anything.
    Now I’m out of simple, cheap, disposable ideas…!!

  • Like yourself…I haven’t purchased much this Christmas outside of a box of lights for our tree. After uncluttering I “trimmed” everything down to one plastic container of special holiday decorations that we use year after year and have special meaning to our family. I won’t be consuming much of anything else this Christmas…can’t stand all that cheap crap in the stores that we keep importing into this country!!

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