We discovered minimalism in the month of May.
By the time the holiday season began, six months later, we were fully convinced of the benefits of not owning more than we needed. But we hadn’t finished minimizing every area in our home—including our basement which contained the Christmas decorations.
That year was the last year we decorated with our boxes and boxes of old decorations. When the holiday season ended, we decluttered our decorations.
As a result, decorating in every subsequent year has been both easier and more meaningful. We minimized our Christmas decorations significantly (for every season actually) and have never regretted the decision.
Based on our experience, here is what we learned:
1. Declutter after the holidays.
For most people, it’s simply more practical. To declutter your holiday decorations, you’ll need to pull them all out of storage any way. If it’s near the holiday season, just use them all (or what you’d normally use) one more time.
When it comes time to put them away, purge.
This approach might also serve as a reminder of the decorating process and if it has become more time-consuming than you think it should. It will also help you identify decorations that aren’t particularly meaningful, enjoyed, or require significant effort to put up.
2. Choose a predetermined amount to keep.
In many cases, choosing a physical boundary is an invaluable minimizing technique.
You can choose any physical boundary you desire (there are no rules that you have to follow here). But selecting a boundary (and staying within it) will assist you significantly.
The first year we minimized our Christmas decorations, we decided to keep our future decorations in one large plastic tote that fit nicely in our basement. That, plus the artificial tree.
In the past, we had kept three to four boxes plus a tree. But that year, we decided to keep only what would fit in the one tote.
If you have 6-7 boxes of Christmas decorations and typically go all-out while you play your Christmas music in late-October, maybe cutting down to one box is too drastic or not even what you consider ideal for yourself and your family. Adjust accordingly. Maybe you can still minimize six boxes down to three or four.
Predetermine a physical boundary that makes sense for you.
You might be surprised how easy it is to separate the most loved decorations from the “sorta loved” once a physical boundary has been established.
3. Keep only the most meaningful.
Decorations serve an important purpose in our lives. They are not just aesthetically pleasing, they also direct our attention, mind, and focus. They can serve to enhance our mood, inspire us, and motivate us.
For that reason, think through specifically what purpose you want your holiday decorations to serve in your home.
What does the holiday season mean to you? How does it inspire you? And to what, do you desire it to motivate you?
Too often we fall into the thinking that more is better when it comes to holiday decorations. But “more” can often distract from “meaningful.” Especially if the meaning of Christmas is getting buried by excess.
When it comes to holiday decorating (any decorating really), remove the thinking that I will display an item just because it matches, or it was on clearance, or we’ve just always decorated with that item.
Instead, choose the pieces in your home that inspire you and motivate you to become the person you want to be.
Is your Christmas season about faith? Keep decorations that direct your attention there. Maybe the Rudolph hand towels in the kitchen aren’t accomplishing that purpose.
Is your Christmas season about family? Keep decorations that remind you of family—past, present, and future. Maybe some of the knick-knacks that you put up on shelving in December are actually distracting you from that.
Is your Christmas season about joy and hope and kindness? Keep decorations that spark those attitudes in your life and actions.
The Christmas season can be an important one, but only when we keep our focus where it should be.
I think everyone should make the most of the holiday season. As in most cases, this means being intentional about it: how we spend our time, how we spend our money, and how we decorate to celebrate it.
A simpler Christmas is usually more focused on the things that actually matter. You’ll love it—next year.