How to Decorate for a Minimalist Christmas

How to decorate for a minimalist Christmas

The bigger the better. The more the merrier. Decorating for the holidays is steeped in tradition. In the past year my family has been digging deeper into the idea of minimalism. Therefore, I find myself exploring what that means for decorating our home for the holidays–because if it’s not beautiful or useful I want it out of my house.

My house finally feels clean and light, which is a feeling I want to carry on regardless of the time of year. This year I found myself dreading the decorations. Most of it is ugly. A lot of it is broken or deteriorating. But some of it is really special and sentimental.

I want to focus on the special pieces and let go of the rest. 

That holds true to the way we shop, prepare, and celebrate the holidays: I want to focus on what really matters and prevent myself from getting “wrapped up” in the in the holiday busyness.

I am here to tell you that I can I get into the holiday spirit without the elaborate holiday decorations. This year we are skipping most of the decor and getting into the holiday spirit through our senses by playing up the “smells + bells” inside our house.

  1. Smells. Last week I grabbed some Mrs. Meyers cleaning products in the scent ‘Iowa Pine’. This stuff is Christmas in a bottle. Upon opening, I had a knee-jerk reaction which caused me to start blasting Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. I love diffusing essential oils as well–Thieves smells like winter and wards off germs during this flu season. Peppermint will put you in the spirit and balance your energy for the holiday stress. If you want info on getting started with essential oils, my friend Ally is an expert.  
  2. Sounds. We might have less Christmas decor, but we have plenty of Christmas tunes thanks to our Sonos. We love this system and the ability to use our phones to quickly control the music at anytime.
  3. Tastes. Some Winter Sangria. A carton of peppermint ice cream. The Holiday Spice Flat White. Or gingerbread anything. The sense of taste is an effective way to get the Christmas fix. This year I am making it a goal to master a great gluten-free Christmas Cookie.
  4. Feels. There are certain spots we visit every year that have lovely holiday decorations–one in particular that brings “all the feels”. Our local mall has the world’s largest indoor Christmas tree. We take take a photo each year in the same spot and watch our children grow (too quickly). It’s fun to go out and enjoy the public decor, then come home to a clutter-free house.
  5. Sights. We do have some traditional holiday decor. We have one Christmas tree that is filled with very special ornaments and our mantel has stockings along with a string of lights.

I believe that getting into the holiday spirit is a multi-sensory experience. Not only do you see decorations, but you smell familiar scents, hear cheerful music, taste traditional foods, and feel a close a sense of gratitude and closeness for the people that surround you.

By cutting back on the clutter I will focus on what really “sparks joy” this holiday season–my family, friends, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.