Simply Christmas: Memorable but Minimal

Alicia Searl

Contributing Writer
Updated Dec 19, 2022
Simply Christmas: Memorable but Minimal

But, as much as I enjoy setting out all the garland and twinkling lights, I wonder if all this striving to put up Christmas and outdoing ourselves each and every year is leading us to lose sight of what truly matters.

My momma was super big on her holiday decorations. Every holiday held its spot, and she was known to not remove or put up the next holiday décor until the first one had passed. So needless to say, the pumpkins stayed put until their official day was through, and the Christmas tree would not make a debut until the day after Thanksgiving. 

Nowadays it seems the end-of-year holidays have all melted together. Many place their trees up by the end of October or by November 1st. Maybe you are one of those eager people. Don’t get me wrong, the Christmas lover in me loves seeing all the beautiful decorations and enjoying the sights of the season a little earlier and longer. As a matter of fact, my seven-year-old would play Christmas music year-round if I let her.

But, as much as I enjoy setting out all the garland and twinkling lights, I wonder if all this striving to put up Christmas and outdoing ourselves each and every year is leading us to lose sight of what truly matters.

Unfortunately, our family will be forced to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year. We have celebrated many holidays quite differently since my mom was called to her eternal home earlier this year. My Easter décor didn’t come down until Mother’s Day and I had no excitement to put up any pumpkins until mid-October. And those very pumpkins may still be gracing my porch by mid-December.

All that to say, I have wondered if I will have it in me to put out the beautiful Christmas décor this year, much of which belonged to my mother. We often switched décor to “spice things up” a little bit. The kissing angels she gave me a while back have sat around on the bookshelf above my computer year-round for a few years now. I just didn’t have the heart to put them in the storage box with all the other lovely things. Looking back, I am so glad they sit out as they remind me of my childhood and my sweet momma.  

As Christmas draws near and the décor boxes find their way down from the attic and all the events begin to fill the calendar, I am already finding our family getting quickly wrapped up in this season. Literally! While some of these things are wonderful and bring much joy, others have caused me to pause and really consider if they are creating memories or stress. So, it’s brought to mind—what we can do to keep Christmas memorable yet minimal.

Friend, I’m searching for a simple Christmas. I need it, and I believe my family does as well. Maybe you find yourself searching for the same. Well, let’s find it together. 

Here are a few tips on creating a memorable but minimal Christmas:

Pinpoint the Holiday Stressors

Between all the shopping, cookie baking, decorating, and hosting, the holidays (as joyful as they can be) prove to be quite overwhelming. Pinpoint the areas this season that bring on the most stress for you, and take a stand on saying “no” to things that trigger stress rather than joy. 

If you just can’t manage to host the annual holiday party, it may be time to pass the torch to someone else. Besides, many times, there are others who are willing and ready to step up, but because we are creatures of habit, we find people may shy away from hosting because they believe they don’t have the opportunity. So, give them one.

If shopping is stressful, find ways to ease that by either shopping online or downsizing the number of gifts you give. Truly seek ways to minimize the things that make your heart race with anxiety and, instead, discover what restores peace. That is truly what this season is all about.

Discuss as a Family

It’s important that you share your heart on minimizing with your family so as to not evoke disappointment or confusion. If you are usually a “big” and over-the-top decorator or shopper, discuss with your spouse the need to downsize. Then, share those thoughts with the rest of the family, so they understand your motives and reasons for this.

Make it about building memories and make it sound appealing by letting your children know this time of year, you wish to focus on what is truly important. Get their take on what that looks like and let them get involved in some of the decision-making. 

Set a Budget

It’s easy to get swept away with good intentions and the next thing you know, you’ve spent way more than you thought you would making memories than buying gifts and doing the normal activities from the years past. 

Share a budget you have in mind with the family and stick to it. Look for free or fairly reasonable ways to have fun this season, and do your best to stick to that plan. You can have each family member come up with one event or way to create memories as a family and give them an allotted price tag for that “Christmas wish.” 

Prep and Plan

In keeping things simple, putting in the prep work and pre-planning events will help you focus on time with the family rather than causing stress to creep in. Here are a few ways to prep and plan:

-Make some freezer meals ahead of time. These will come in handy when you have church or school activities.

-Wrap gifts as soon as they arrive and after kids go to bed, so you don’t encounter the last-minute rush.

-Keep simple ingredients on hand for those extra sets of cookies that need to go to an event or activity.

-Have a few “extra little gifts” for the unexpected neighbor or friend that stops by.

-Designate duties to the family, so everyone has a special responsibility. (ex: tree checker for water, gift wrapper, baker, or event planner)

-Decide what décor will be set out and what can be stored for the following year. Remind yourself it doesn’t all have to be put out every year.

Embrace Experiences over Expectations

Saying “no” may be difficult, especially this time of year, but to keep things simple, you must be able to turn seasonal activities down to truly enjoy the events that matter most to you and your family. 

The true beauty of this season is to search for real peace and create magical moments that will help your children experience the real meaning behind it. Helping children see the story of Jesus and recognizing that His birth is what changed the trajectory of all mankind is the most invaluable gift you will ever give them.

Create memories that will bring them right back to the heart of Christmas. Explain that we exchange gifts to remind us of the selfless gift God gave through His Son for our salvation (Romans 6:23). We place lights around our homes in honor of Jesus being the Light of the World (John 8:12). We showcase our mangers to share Jesus' humble story (Luke 2). 

When we make room for treasured experienced and ditch expectations, we find these are the blessings our families will always remember. Learn to say no to the things that keep you from living in the moment and yes to the simplest of moments that promote peace and joy. It will establish a heartwarming lesson for our children as well.

Happy Simple Christmas, dear friend!

Photo Credit: ©swn

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.