Tips and ideas on how to create a slow and simple Christmas season for your family. From decorations, to gift giving and traditions, these are the ideas our family lives by.
The Christmas season can be overwhelming, filled with anxiety, and a dreadful time of the year for some families. Massive sales, shopping guides, and commercials flood our phones, computers and television.
We are surrounded by the commercialism of Christmas, and it can leave us feeling less than enough. Families go into debt to purchase the gifts on their families wish list. Then, they spend the rest of the year working hard to pay off that debt.
It is okay to say no to the stress, the gifts, the debt and the anxiety of the season. Here are some of my thoughts on how to create a slow and simple Christmas in a memorable way.
Slow and Simple Christmas Living
I was raised most of my life by a single mother. I had four other siblings in the home and Christmas wasn’t really celebrated. If we had a tree, it was a tiny one in the corner. One year we had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
There was no abundance of gifts in my home as a child. I imagine the gifts we received, my mother had to miss paying a bill in order to purchase. Yet, Christmas was a magical time in our home and I never felt like I missed out on Christmas.
When I got married, and started having children of our own, and Christmas became a much different season. I began feeling the pressure to shop on Black Friday, and to participate in all the holiday things. I wanted to fulfill the list of things that my children wanted.
Then, one year that all changed. We took a family vacation to Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming with some dear friends of ours. It was a vacation that my children talked about for a very long time and one that they still talk about. It was then that I realized that their lives were made up of more memories than it was gifts.
That is the year that my focus on the Christmas season changed. The Christmas season became about starting traditions and continuing some traditions that we had already been doing.
How to Create Slow and Simple Christmas Traditions
These are the traditions that our family has been doing to create a slow and simple Christmas. Many of these ideas have turned Christmas into a season of joy, and time with family.
Christmas Meal Gatherings
Our family celebrates with both my husbands side of the family and my side. On my side of the family, I host a Christmas dinner. To take some of the burden off of fixing an entire dinner, I assign different families to bring a dish. I provide the turkey and the homemade dinner rolls, they bring the side dishes and desserts.
My husbands side of the family gathers every Christmas Eve at his grandparents home. With all of the aunts, uncles, in-laws and cousins there will be be over 50 people packed into their small home.
Each family brings side dishes, or desserts and we enjoy a meal together. After the meal, we gather together, sing some carols and have a time of reading the Christmas story. It’s simple, yet memorable.
Decorating the Christmas Tree
Every year after Thanksgiving is over, our Christmas tree goes up. It is a time that the children and I look forward to with great anticipation. Our tree is decorated very simply. Some years, I decorate with white lights and other years with handmade ornaments and dried fruit.
One year, after the Christmas season was over, I purchased 4 tiny trees for each of our children. Now each child has their own tree that they get to put in their room and decorate as they wish. The children look forward to being able to do this and it adds a bit of Christmas cheer to their room.
There are many Christmas crafts that can be made at this time of year. I like to focus on crafts and activities which can be saved, or reused after the season.
Salt dough ornaments are alot of fun to make. Ornaments can be saved for many years, given as gifts, used as ornaments, and even used on gift wrapping. Dried oranges can be made into a garland and used for simple decorations on the tree.
One thing I remember so well about the Christmas season as a child is baking with my mom. We made fudge, peanut butter cookies, and peanut butter balls every season. We would spend the entire day baking and then divide it all up into separate containers to give as gifts.
Do you know how many people looked forward to a container full of cookies and fudge each year? A lot of people did! It was a homemade gift made with precious time and it was a truly treasured gift.
My mother now comes to my home every Christmas season to bake with my children. This has become such a treasured time of the season for me and my children.
As a child, I grew up going to multiple Christmas parades. It was one way we celebrated I remember most. There is something about bundling up in layers, gathering Christmas candy thrown from Christmas floats, listening to the bands perform and simply being together as a family.
This is now a tradition we carry on with our children. They look forward to going to parades, and I look forward to taking them and watching their excitement.
A Christmas tradition I loved as a child was going to see all the holiday drive thru light displays. Mom would load us children up, turn the radio to Christmas music and we would spend the evening driving through multiple light displays.
Now that I have children of my own, we do the same thing. Each year we load up in the vehicle and take them to see the Christmas lights. Millions of lights and Christmas carols just has a way of creating a Christmas spirit you won’t soon forget.
Simple Acts of Kindness
I feel like we should always be doing simple acts of kindness but during the Christmas season, there are so many who just need an extra bit of kindness.
Simple acts like shoveling someones driveway if it snows, checking in on your elderly neighbor, or even taking them a basket of Christmas cookies. A simple random act of kindness is a way to spread some Christmas cheer.
“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope
Slow and Simple Living Christmas Decorations
For several years now, I have taken a much more simple approach to Christmas decorating. I use a lot of natural greenery, pine cones, dried citrus fruit, and handmade wreaths.
I love creating a cozy and inviting home for our family as well as those who visit, but I don’t feel like I have to have a lot of totes stored away with Christmas decorations to do this each year.
The glow of Christmas lights, window candles, the fireplace burning, and beeswax candles all create a cozy feel in our home this time of the year.
Slow and Simple Christmas Gifts for Children
In our home, Christmas gift giving is so simple because we focus on time and creating memories more than gifts. As a family we enjoy the parades, light displays, going to small shops who host Christmas open houses, and we even go to local places like Bass Pro because they are completely decked out for the Christmas season.
In years past we have taken them to Silver Dollar City, purchased tickets to a show at Springfield Little Theatre and we usually take them out to dinner and movie one night. Christmas is truly treasured and enjoyed in our home. We do stockings for each of our children and I focus on putting in items which are useful to their lives.
The boys love being outside and in nature so things like a compass, small pocket knife, twine, and even small notebooks are things they enjoy. The girls love art supplies, homemade body products, and journals. The gifts vary each year but they are always gifts that are useful to their lives.
I hope this gives you a bit of insight into how to create a slow and simple Christmas season as a family. Christmas is so much more than what is under the tree or what is in the stocking. Someday, those items will be gone or forgotten but memories are one thing that will forever be treasured. What traditions do you celebrate as a family?
20 thoughts on “How to Create a Slow and Simple Christmas”
This sounds like a lovely Christmas you are creating with your family!
Thank you! It is something that we truly enjoy!
I love your simple style. I, for one, am so tired of the over-the-top decorating I see on Instagram. The house tours do nothing for me. Your style is relaxing and natural and it makes me feel peace. I am going to be unfollowing alot of people and simplifying my life. Merry Christmas to you and your family. ?
Thank you! I hope that you enjoy the journey of simplifying your life. I have found it so rewarding!
I am so glad I found your blog/IG. I as well LOVE your simple style. I enjoy seeing the natural and as one reader mention it very relaxing. Thank you! Merry Christmas
Thank you and Welcome to my little space in this world! I am so glad that you are here!
I couldn’t have said it better. Memories are what children cling to and they hold those close to their hearts for the rest of their lives. Your doing such a great job!
Thank you so much for your encouragement!
So much of what happens at Christmas now just makes me feel sad whenever I compare it with my childhood memories.
It really has become commercialized and that makes me sad as well.
I love your simple style, it’s real and heartfelt.
Thank you so much!
Love this so much. My mother in law spends thousands of dollars on each of us every year and there’s no way to stop her. So it is our job to really teach our children about what Christmas means to us and that’s 1. Christ and 2. Spending time with family, and giving them A (one) gift. We are trying to show them that Christmas is not what my in-laws make of it. We LOVEEEE going around to look at everyone’s Christmas lights ! We decided to take it very very simple this year and only put up a flocked cheap $35 tree and white lights inside this year and skipped the hustle and bustle of putting lights outside . Trying to take the simplest route and it brings so much peace and leave SO much more time for family and Christ!
Oh my! I couldn’t begin to imagine spending that kind of money on Christmas, but it sounds like you have figured out how to teach your children what is most important!
Driving around and looking at Christmas lights is so fun!!
Memories are made, gifts are bought. . . the difference is in the heart. . . I raised my kids in a simple Christmas way. . . much as I do now. Driving to the neighborhoods that had the best lit houses (as long as I didn’t have to do all the work, I enjoyed them). We made gifts for their teachers, they had to come up with the idea, go along to buy the supplies and help make them. we owned a bowling center/restaurant so all the lady bowlers got together and we all made 5 dozen cookies, had a nice lunch and put all the cookies we made into containers and hand delivered them to nursing home residents. (One of my fondest memories) Dinners are always pot luck, a joint effort.
this year is a hard one for me, my husband is laid off so money will be tight. I only spend what I need, and toilet paper isn’t very Christmasy LOL. So because of that I’m not doing my crafts and decorating like I want to. its just hard to get i the spirit. . . But I will have my memory days with the grand kiddos making cookies and ice skating . . that will help yank me into the spirit.
Merry Christmas Sarah. . .
PS this is real simple style Debi 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read the blog. I love the memories that you have shared and it sounds like you have created many of them. I am so sorry to hear that your husband is laid off but I hope that you find the Christmas spirit soon! Merry Christmas to you!
Sarah, Thanks so much for sharing! I grew up with not a lot of money but when I think of Christmases past, I have so many wonderful memories!! And it’s not because of any present but it’s the little things that my parents did that stick in my mind! Now that I have my own family, our Christmases aren’t extravagant but I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Enjoy the season and thanks for showing us simplicity is so meaningful! xo
Kendra | http://www.joyinourhome.com
What a beautiful post. We had pretty simple christmases growing up. My parents didnt get us gifts or fill stockings since they couldnt afford it. Stockings came with peanuts in the shell and a mandarine.My grandparents always got ua a gift and usually bought our tree. I grew up thinking parents dont buy gifts for.kids just grandparents. I have wonderful memmories of gathering christmas day with all my great aunts and uncles and their families, baking cookies with my gma and my Mom, Christmas programs at school and driving rhrough town to look at the pretty lights. I have 7 kids and 5 are adopted special needs. The thought of trying to do cookies with them makes me break out in a sweat. But, this year we’re doing it! It will be a treasured memory for them and the start of another tradition.
This was so nice to read, a change of pace from all the harried holiday blogging that now starts in October! I long for the Christmas with my family in days past but they live far away. My husband’s family celebrates in a different way and I always feel homesick!