Monday, November 27, 2017

Keeping Christmas Simple at Home

Going Minimalist For Christmas

Hello, hello!  Or should I say, "Ho, Ho, Ho?"  I promised you last week in my Keeping Thanksgiving Simple at Home post that  I would be back today with hints for keeping Christmas simple, as well. So, here I am talking about taking a minimalist approach to Christmas decorating. 

Now, lest anyone take offense and think I'm suggesting that everyone be minimalist in their decor, let me reassure you. I'm not suggesting that at all. It's just that I have been working this last year on "cleaning out" and decided to do that with Christmas decorations, also. I'm really focusing this year on displaying what I truly love and making decisions about what I don't need any longer. As a result of those decisions, I took a large bag of Christmas decorations to Goodwill today. Hopefully, others will find decor that they can love and use from what I gave away. BTW, do you recognize this little pine tree from last year's easy and stress free tablescapes post? I kept it alive (a miracle!!) and it has grown bigger and is part of this year's decor. 

You may remember my "Homespun" tree from last year. (You have to scroll down in the post to see it.) This year's tree is pretty similar with the addition of my easy Christmas tree ornaments from felt and buttons that I created. I also left off the red berry beads because I was worried that there would be too much temptation for Cassie Cat to mess with the tree. So far, though, she has left the tree alone! I love the simplicity of this small tree with ornaments that are either homemade or look homemade! I did keep other ornaments in case next year I decide to go with using Christmas balls again or a musical ornament tree.

In addition to our little tree, I have kept decorations minimal by displaying figurines I love and tucking Christmas figures in amongst decor we already have on display. In the past I have packed items away and devoted free space to all things Christmasy. I just decided I don't want to do that this year. I kind of had the same idea last year, but have taken it even further with this year's decor.

I wanted to make this table a focal point in our living room. My nativity sets are displayed on the top tier with light coming from a little tree. I used the same charger that I arranged the pumpkins on for my Fall Themed Centerpiece and placed my white nativity set on it with a no flame candle. There is also a no flame small candle in the little green bowl. I like all of the light reflected around the nativity sets to represent Christ as the light of the world. One new piece I purchased this year is the red Christmas ball tree on the bottom tier. I love the brilliant pop of red mixed in with my family photos. 

I have a cute collection of Santa figurines, but I didn't want any distraction on this table from the true meaning of Christmas.  So my Santa figurines are displayed elsewhere....

Like here on my round table. 

And as part of my foyer table decor. They are meant to add playfulness and whimsy to the decor. 

Our mantel looks the same as it always does, except I added our nutcracker musicians and our Kitty Santa figurines.

And, with the exception of a few other odds and ends here and there, this is the bulk of my Christmas decor this year. Pretty simple in my opinion. I like that the decorations blend with what we already have rather than taking over the whole house. It's less clutter and not so much to take out and put away. As I have decided on Christmas decorations to keep and those to give away, storage has been a big decision factor. We used to have sooooo many tubs to get down from the attic at Christmas time. I am working on keeping it at three tubs this year, which we now store in a downstairs storage closet. I am also thinking about keeping smaller and flatter (as much as possible) items for decorating that are easier to pack away and store. The smaller and flatter the items, the easier it is to fit lots of pieces in a storage tub. 

As far as food at Christmas goes, I keep that pretty simple also. I'm not a big baker of cookies because I would eat them!  And, we will most likely be a party of three on Christmas day with myself, Mr.thisandthat and my mother-in-law, so I don't need huge amounts of food. If I do bake, I'll keep it simple with either store bought cookie dough that I can cut and bake or store bought desserts from our local Fresh Market store. I usually make chili in the crock pot for Christmas Eve dinner and then make a more substantial meal for Christmas Day. But, you know, I may even simplify that this year. Who knows? Maybe some great sandwiches with a side of potato salad and a yummy dessert? There's really nothing wrong with keeping food simple and not doing big elaborate meals at holiday time. 

Christmas celebrations often get tied in to memories that we have either from childhood or other years of our lives. Sometimes recalling those memories brings happines, but other memories may not be so good and can cause us to feel anxious or sad. If we are missing loved ones who have died and are no longer with us or find ourselves longing for big Christmas celebrations that we had long ago, we can easily fall into depression during the holiday season. I know, personally, that I always find myself feeling a little blue around the holidays as I think back to my childhood and realize the passing of time and how my Mother is no longer with us. It's easy to dwell on these things especially if certain foods, songs or decorations bring forth these memories. It has helped me to learn to acknowledge how I'm feeling, but also to tell myself that I am choosing not to dwell on those thoughts. If that means turning off the Christmas carols or not making my mother's fudge recipe then I do so. I am learning not to "wallow" in sad memories. It certainly doesn't mean I've forgotten those I just means that I am being proactive in addressing my feelings. This is another way that I am learning to keep Christmas simple at home. Christmas is, after all, only one day. I am thankful that Jesus was born every day, not just on Christmas day. The movies, stores, television shows and yes, blogs, can make Christmas, as a celebratory season, take on huge proportions where we are made to believe that we must have the perfect decorations, create unbelievable meals, and buy the perfect gifts that will make everyone happy while keeping smiles on our faces and feeling constantly festive. Life isn't like a Hallmark movie, though, and it's OK to keep Christmas simple at home. How you choose to do so is really up to you. As I work on being more minimalist at Christmas I realize that I am a work in progress. How about you? How do you keep Christmas simple at home?

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Marilyn's Treats


Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Love your simplicity and faith. I like Santa, snowmen, etc, but really don't want to forget the reason for the season. Sometimes it gets to be too much, don't u think?

Karen said...

I'm relating here because I have also taken a car load of things to Goodwill, including Christmas decorations. I have been working on downsizing and had too much stuff. I love to decorate for Christmas and can see that you do too. Your decorations prove that you can be a minimalist while still enjoying your favorite things. I LOVE your Jim Shore Mary, Joseph and Jesus! I have one tree up so far. This tree holds all of my old family ornaments (pre WWII) and my collection of antique ornaments. I will get a fresh tree in the next couple of weeks, and that also holds all the family ornaments that I've collected that are newer. This week in the evenings I'm going to attempt to get some decorations out, and you have inspired me! Your house looks so pretty all dressed up for Christmas - the cat ornament on the tree that looks like a photo is very cool! One thing I've done to remember my past pets is to put picture ornaments on the tree, and your ornament reminded me of that. You are so right about memories. Many are wonderful, but it can still be hard when we are missing someone (or several someones). The older I get, naturally the more losses come and I find that music can sometimes trigger emotions and tears. I try to focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place and that helps during the tough times. Something else I've started doing is to walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the Christmas lights in the evening. I AM a baker in a very big way, so the extra walking is necessary - might as well make it enjoyable while burning calories! : )

Sharon said...

In the past couple of years, I have also sorted through Christmas decorations deciding which to keep and which to give away. At one point, I found myself dreading pulling out all those boxes and decorating. I knew then it was time to simplify. I like your idea of interspersing your Christmas items with the decor you have all year. Your home looks festive and welcoming, Debbie!