Minimalist Monday: Christmas Edition


Hey hey! I don’t know if Minimalist Monday is actually a thing, but we’re making it one today. I definitely think it should be a thing.

Look. I know it’s not for everyone and I know you probably shook your head at the mere thought of putting minimal and Christmas in the same sentence, but just hear me out. Gosh—aren’t I always asking you to hear me out!?

Perhaps you aren’t all about the stark white color pallet sprinkled with some greenery you’ll surely kill just after you snap your Insta post, and maybe having next to nothing in your home is not even something you want to attempt, but I do think that we can all benefit at least a little bit from this mindset.

I think I’ve always been a minimalist— since long before I knew there was a word for it. I remember as a kid begging my parents to rip up the carpet so that I could have hardwood floors and to take the tv out of my room so I could have a reading nook. I insisted on open floor space and no furniture that ate up all of my walls so that I could hang art. I also asked my parents for white roman shades which totally messed up my mom’s coordinating front windows plan. I’ve always hated clutter and not having a designated space for things.

The problem is, I also love to have a space with personality. I like little trinkets that tell stories and make my space warmer. I love celebrating all the things and allowing my space to express that celebration as well. That inevitably means stuff--right?

Right.

In the past I’ve been guilty of buying because it’s cute, because it’s on sale, because it’s an elephant, a flamingo, because…

You get it.

This past year when I decided to move back to Seattle and finally commit to fitting my whole life (minus some clothes and journals and books that I left behind in Ohio) all into a very small space, I knew I was going to have to get creative. I needed to learn how to create a space that felt like home and was filled with my stories and adventures--a space that celebrated with me through the seasons--but a space that was also not bursting at the seams with stuff to make that possible.

Christmas was one of my main concerns. Storage is not a thing here. I have a fairly large walk in closet and a very small coat closet. Those need to hold all of my clothes, dressers, linens, cleaning supplies, and whatever little extras I deem worthy of taking up space. And that’s the thing. Whatever things I decide to bring in have to be worthy of taking up space. I think it’s a concept that’s hard to grasp and hard to follow through with until you actually just don’t have the space to not think that way.

How was I going to deck out my space if I had nowhere to put all of the stuff when it was time to take it down?

I honestly sort of enjoyed the challenge. How could I be just as festive as my little heart loved to be, not spend a fortune, and take up the least amount of space possible?

Maybe you don’t live in 425 square feet like me, but I think the challenge is pretty applicable all around. It’s easy to go crazy and get carried away at Christmas. Here are some ideas to slow down and make the space and the dollars count.

So, I set a budget. Honestly this is a bit high for me, but also I was starting from scratch. I didn’t bring any of my Christmas past with me and so I expected to have to buy the staples this year. I obviously wouldn’t have this budget every year. I would say moving forward I might alot myself $50-$75 for any additions I might want + the tree since it’s real and won’t carry over from year to year.

Here’s what I got with my $150:
  • Christmas sheets (staple that will last for several years) $20 
  • Christmas throw blanket (staple that will last for several years) $16
  • Mini monogram stockings for Lincoln and I (staple that will last several years) $3 each
  • White twinkle battery lights (2 sets) (staple) $8/each
  • White wood bead tree garland (2) (staple) $8/each
  • Burlap ribbon for tree (this is something I might change from year to year) $4
  • Greenery touches around the house (1x use) $5
  • Live tiny Christmas tree (1x use) $24
  • Front door wreath (reused from fall + fresh pine sprigs for $5) 
  • Table centerpiece--two tiny ferns that will last longer than Christmas + tiny car that was a splurge for me but also a staple $21
  • Iowa Pine Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap--$4
  • Gingerbread tin candle from Trader Joe’s $4
  • Be Merry wooden sign $3
  • Winter/Christmas photo hanging wall (free, already have and can be changed each year) 
  • Norman Rockwell Prints (free—keep in a bin of rotating art)
SPLURGES:
  • little Christmas car (Target--$10) 
  • Curly Girl Christmas Mug ($16)
  • Christmas car sweater for Lincoln (TJ Max--$10) 
Considering that most of these things will last for years, my repeat budget should land somewhere around that $50 mark as I plan to get a real tree and greenery each year. Money was one concern, but honestly the bigger concern was space. Here’s how I thought through these.

*Live Christmas tree + greenery will not require any storage AND fills my whole (tiny) space with the seasonal scent. Plus it keeps it smelling like evergreen and feeling all cozy well into the winter.

*Sheets and throw can store in my couch linen storage space (I allowed extra room from the start for this purpose).

*Wreath is morphing through the seasons and will not need to be stored.

*Soap and candles will be used.

*Everything else (sign, Christmas tree trimmings, nick knacks) should fit into one little shoe box storage bin that I can tuck in the back corner of my closet shelf.

*Christmas/Winter photo wall is stored with all of my other seasonal photo wall packs.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a small space and so it doesn’t take too much to make it feel like Christmas. But if we’re being honest, that’s the case for all of us no matter how big or small the space.

I’ll leave you with these tips and some photos:


1. GREENERY GOES A LONG WAY!
I bought one large bunch of evergreen greenery for $5 and used it all over the house to put touches and scents of Christmas in every nook and cranny. Even if you bought three or four packs for a bigger space, you’re still looking at under or around $20 and avoiding buying a ton of candles and room sprays.

2. DON'T FORGET YOUR DIFFUSERS! Where are my essential oil lovers at! This is like the BEST time of year for diffusing. You can have your house smelling like the North Pole in no time (stay tuned for our favorite Christmas diffuser blends coming soon on the blog!)

3. DECORATE FOR WINTER NOT CHRISTMAS
This is something I’m really intentional about for several reasons. 1. I usually spend a few weeks of December back in Ohio and so I want to be able to enjoy my own little space before and after the holiday. 2. I don’t want to come back and immediately take everything down. If it lingers until Valentine's Day, I don’t want it to annoy me that Santa is still staring me down. I go for things that are white and gold and evergreen as opposed to the very obvious Christmas colors. I look for prints and patterns that are trees and winterized animals more than Santa and elves and explicitly Christmas trees. 3. This helps me for storage purposes as well.

4. USE WHAT YOU HAVE
I’m all about repurposing for budget and space purposes. I save a lot of prints I love from books and use a lot of hanging methods that allow me to trade out artwork and photos. I don’t frame a lot of things as that is more expensive and takes up more space. I look for containers and pieces that can transition well or that I can add touches of Christmas to rather than purchasing pieces I can really only use for one day or maybe a month. A great example is adding some festive ribbon to a vase you use all year or my sage green placemats that can translate well in every season. I also let my gingerbread cookie cutters double as simple decor because let’s be honest, how many times am I actually going to use them? And I can do lots of little festive things with the chalkboard I already had.


Like I always say when I write posts like this, I know this mindset and tiny spaces are not for everyone, but it’s my hope that just maybe these ideas and thoughts will get you thinking and you’ll find a way to apply them wherever you are!


Happy Christmas friends!
...and I don’t mean that minimally at all.




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