Radically simplifying Christmas decorations? What did you do? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Because we have a tiny house, I have gotten rid of much of our Christmas "stuff". So far, I still have: a tiny wooden Nativity set, the barn gifted from dh's grandparents, several strings of lights, two shoeboxes of ornaments, and a stocking for each of us. But somehow, this still feels like a lot to store considering we only use it for a few weeks a year!

Has anyone successfully gotten rid of more than this? If so, what do you decorate with? Do you still put up a tree? I feel like I'm at the point of WANTING to see more of it go, but then what do you use for stockings? What do you put on the tree? etc etc etc

I have seen some neat ideas where people have used regular household items to decorate (ie a cream-colored candle surrounded by cranberries), wondering if anyone else has other ideas.

Thanks!

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#2 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 04:54 AM
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well, we moved to the other side of the planet so we literally left it behind.

our plan is to decorate with natural things--fruit, flowers, what we find in the woods, streams, beaches, etc--and also paper like origami and the like. then it's all compostable.
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#3 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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We hadn't had a tree in years but we felt the kids were old enough this past Christmas. The tree fell down several times so most of my "nice" ornaments got broken. I think next year we'll make a lot of homemade ones. You can take the round coffee filters and make snowflakes out of them and they looke pretty cool. You can watercolor paint them while they're still folded up so I think we'll do a bunch of those for this year. And last year I crocheted my own garland and it was so easy. I took red and green yarn and did a really long chain, then single crocheted one row. It actually looked really impressive even though it was really simple to do. I also do needle felting and I've already made a bunch of heart ornaments to hang on the tree. I hand dyed the wool and used a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape it. I might make some star ones too. So next year my tree will be homemade garland, the snowflakes and the wool stars and hearts. And it won't take up too much space either.

My Mom decorates a lot with greenery arrangements she makes from going out into the woods. I think this year I'll ask her to show me how makes the wreaths.

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#4 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Our house is really tiny (about 600 square feet but it's split-level so about 100 of that is an unusable stairway) so I didn't even get a tree this year. I put out a Nativity set, hung some stockings over the stairway, and strung Christmas lights around room near the ceiling. Simple, but it still felt cozy.

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#5 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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I have about as much as you and it seems like "too much" to me also even though it fits neatly in to 1 medium rubbermaid tote. My kids really enjoy the decorating, but honestly I was SO glad to put it all away at the end of the season because it just felt like clutter.

Personally, I'd love to have only a few special handmade Christmas items (stockings, tree skirt and a few ornaments) and give the rest away except for the lights. I have a very few "decorative" Christmas items that I do like the look of, but honestly I'm wondering why I have them.

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#6 of 16 Old 03-03-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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We have a wooden chest. The 18" tall tree AND the ornaments all fit, except for a few stragglers which show up during the year. The ornaments are about 10 times what we need for the tiny tree, so I don't mind at all if some break
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#7 of 16 Old 03-05-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I decluttered the ornaments I didn't like (anymore) 2 years ago but there's still too much "stuff" for my taste, too. Step by step, I guess.
How do you feel about using crafty ornaments which aren't meant "for eternity" (popcorn & cranberry strings, paper stars etc.)? Then you would have less to store over the year.

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#8 of 16 Old 03-05-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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I decluttered the ornaments I didn't like (anymore) 2 years ago but there's still too much "stuff" for my taste, too. Step by step, I guess.
How do you feel about using crafty ornaments which aren't meant "for eternity" (popcorn & cranberry strings, paper stars etc.)? Then you would have less to store over the year.
Yes, I agree...I think it always seems to be step by step with decluttering/simplifying. I made all our ornaments one year with my oldest and it was SO much fun. We made salt dough ornaments (shaped like stars) and painted them with natural watercolor paint. They actually turned out really pretty. I think it may have been my most favorite tree ever!

This last year we had a 2 week old newborn so I let DH convince me that we should get a bunch of ornaments from Target. I didn't have time to make any obviously and he wanted a great big tree. This year I'll have to give them to a friend or family member I guess, I'm kind of annoyed that I went along with it. I really love the look of a tree with handmade ornaments, much more than storebought ones.

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#9 of 16 Old 03-07-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
our plan is to decorate with natural things--fruit, flowers, what we find in the woods, streams, beaches, etc--and also paper like origami and the like. then it's all compostable.

We do this. And just a bit extra. I'm crafty, so stockings, some doilies, ornaments, etc. but overall a very small amount.
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#10 of 16 Old 03-08-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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We went very radical a few years ago and no longer do presents or decorations. I still have a bin of x-mas stuff but haven't opened it in years -thinking about passing it on to someone else this year perhaps. The kids create stuff and decorate a bit with what we have so it's fun to see what they come up with and it changes daily which feels nicer to me than seeing the same ol' junk come out every year and then I'm counting the time until I can pack it all up again because I get sick of looking at it, ack!
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#11 of 16 Old 03-09-2010, 02:03 AM
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Ygle:

tell me/us more about not doing presents. how did you get to that point, is everyone happy, how does it work for you (as in, how does it work, not as in, are you happy with it)?

thanks.
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#12 of 16 Old 03-09-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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I've always been really into Christmas. I have a ton of decorations, etc, but I'm going to tone it down this next year. The biggest thing I did was get rid of the tree. It was huge, waaay too big for this house even though it was lovely. My sister wanted it so I gave it to her. We have a small fake one (a really cute pink number!) and we might get a potted tree to stand on our table, but if not we will have no tree at all. I do need to go through my ornaments-I know I have entirely too many. And now I'm inspired to get rid of my stockings as well. We never use them.

Eventually I want to get a cd binder for all the dvds and cds we listen to during Christmas time, but that will probably be closer to the holidays.
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#13 of 16 Old 03-09-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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I was shocked, and then sort of admiring, when Don Aslett said that when his cleaning service sets up Christmas trees for clients, he just gets rid of the decorations at the end of the season rather than spend time and money and storage storing them. It makes financial sense - lights and many ornaments, like those boxes of two dozen pretty glass balls, are incredibly cheap.

In his case he just threw out the fully decorated trees, because he wanted to save labor as well as storage. In your case, you could un-decorate the tree and give away the lights and most of the ornaments every year, and keep just a few special ornaments.

So you'd have the usual tree, if that's important to your family (it is to me, at least for now), but without the storage commitment for the ornaments, and without actually throwing stuff out.

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#14 of 16 Old 03-09-2010, 10:53 PM
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i'm really interested to see how the holidays will go here. we live on the other side of the planet from family, though we have many lovely friends.

we have always been simple at christmas time. foremost, we really don't celebrate it in any big way, and i really don't decorate for it anyway. this last year, DH really loved what i did--which was essentially bouquets of greens in our huge white vase, and white candles in our candle sticks. really, nothing too fancy--but he loved it.

but with this, we never really did a lot as far as gifts went. we would buy things for our families, but not really for each other. and for the first two christmases with our son (3 mo and 15 mo), we didn't really do much for him because we didn't need to. our parents and siblings did--with no obligation we asserted--but we didn't because we felt that with their contributions, he would have more than enough. and he did.

so, we are looking at doing a really simple christmas celebration of some sort. decorating as before with natural things that are recyclable and such), and then keeping presents to a minimum or to being things that one can do over time--like a zoo pass or some such. or whatever he might need in regards to art supplies or what have you.

because we live so far from family, they don't want to mail/send gifts. their plan is to simply deposit money to us that we can then spend as we wish. i'm thinking i might set it into a separate fund, so that i can use it throughout the year for various items as well.

i can't imagine throwing all of that away each year. financially, fine; ecologically, ridiculous!
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#15 of 16 Old 03-11-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
Ygle:

tell me/us more about not doing presents. how did you get to that point, is everyone happy, how does it work for you (as in, how does it work, not as in, are you happy with it)?

thanks.
Hmmm... I just can't think how to answer this question without writing a book! We still have loads of fun and keep very busy -people do think we are crazy and don't really get it though (I mean they really don't get it as in not understanding that we actually don't buy x-mas gifts... they will think we are just buying a few, or just not for some people, or just not for the one year, or just waiting until after christmas -it's just so outside the box for people it seems, lol!) It wasn't really a dramatic difference for us (not going all out with the decorations was a bigger change) though because we were really only buying for friends and family, not for ourselves, we just don't seem to ever want stuff so it was a challenge even coming up with suggestions for others on what to get us. That's just one thing... there are so, so many others... we would work so hard trying to create a want just so people could fulfill it, and then more often than not they would get something else anyways and whereas before we were perfectly content now we felt denied/dissatisfied/ left wanting. It's just so incredibly freeing, in so many ways... I love not worrying about and contributing to unnecessary waste... I could go on and on really... this last year when a couple of people were really pushing for ideas I told them what I really, really wanted was for them to go buy something crazy for themselves and say it was from me and that would be the best gift they could get me. I know some people say it's not as fun that way, but oh well.
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#16 of 16 Old 03-11-2010, 10:51 PM
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i would be interested in a book! LOL

what we do is we keep a running list throughout the year of what we want or need. and then we provide others with that list at birthday/christmas.

but, i hear you on the "left wanting" feeling because it is more common for those people who do buy us gifts to completely ignore the lists that they beg for and then buy us something that we really, really do not want and then i have to sell/regift/donate!

this is as close as i've been able to get to getting out of the gift-giving loop. and, i feel like we *have* to give to at least 8 people--my mother and father, my sister and her hsuband, my FIL, MIL, SIL, and GMIL. but, we have decided between us--my sister and i--that instead of giving to each other, we will give to the kids when she has some. she gave to our kid this year and not to us, and that was great. we give a combined gift to her and her husband--which is usually money because they put it in a pile and use it to fix up their house.

my ILs will not go for a no-gift christmas. they freak out about it. we have tried multiple years, and they get really angry with us when we suggest that none of us needs gifts. i mean, i get my MIL *socks* each year for crying out loud! $7 worth of socks! it's dumb. lol

but, now that we live in NZ, and shipping is pricey, i think the expectations have dropped a bit. perhaps we can start to get out of it! LOL
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