Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Simple Christmas

What excites me most right now is living a simple life, and decluttering and organising to aid in this quest. I’ve been doing this with many areas of my home and life as I come across them, and a few months ago I thought about Christmas.

Even though it is a time of year I look forward to, there are parts of it I don’t like. These things are others expectations and too many gifts. I know I can be a bit of a control freak and that’s what I’m working on, not being bothered by what other people want or do. I am going with the flow and know that the only person I can control is myself and also the way I deal with things.

I have issues with gifts because even though they are genuine and meant well, I find them stressful because if they are something I wouldn’t use or don’t like or will clutter my house, I feel like the person who has given me the gift has wasted their money, and being from thrifty Scottish stock that upsets me. My brother calls gifts ‘knick knacks and cloggers’ and tells us not to give him any. The way he says it always makes me laugh.

And I don’t believe you have to give gifts to show love for your family and friends. Little kids, yes, I know get excited about Christmas presents, but as we get older I am more than happy to receive not a single one and just spend time with the people I care about. Last year for the first time my brother, sister and I did not swap gifts and it didn't make Christmas any less special.

So I sat down to make a list of how I can have a simple Christmas and really enjoy this magical time of year. Here is my list.

How can I have a Simple Christmas?

1. Make a choice to have a simple Christmas
2. Make lists and look at ways to make them easier/less
3. No unnecessary rubbish
4. Don’t swap presents with those that agree
5. Leave time to recharge the batteries
6. From 1st December switch into Christmas mode – put the tree and decorations up, feel relaxed and Christmassy, watch Christmas movies and tv, don’t eat too much crap – eat good food and feel well
7. Don’t stress about what others will do – take them for who they are and be happy with that
8. Look at all my Christmas blessings – a wonderful husband, comfortable and happy home, loving family, financially stable, our own business that we happily run together
9. Think of others at Christmas that I can reach out to – (and I’ve got a few people listed).

I put our tree up today, and Jessica is posing with it above. She is such an obliging model-cat. Nina was too busy tearing around to stop for a photo. She never stops! Up and down the hall, in the cat-door and straight upstairs, s-shape from the dining area, down the hall and into the guest bedroom and many other routes. I wonder if it’s because she grew up from kitten-age in a crowded cat shelter until past the age of 2 with no room to run around – she’s really making the most of all this space with just her and Jessica now!

With my decluttering enthusiasm lately, I even managed to declutter my Christmas tree decorations. I tell you, there is no part of my home that escapes decluttering at the moment! I realised the purple decorations I bought a few years ago which I thought would zazz up my Christmas tree were a big mistake. I am not a purple girl. I am classics and I am neutrals.

So I took out all the decorations I love and put them in a smaller container and bagged up the purple hanging baubles and purple tinsel and put them with the coloured fairy lights. I donated these to a charity store today when I went out. When I want something gone, I want it gone.

Now my tree has every single Christmas decoration I own on it, in silver, gold and a touch of red, and white fairy lights. I also have a few decorative items around my coffee table candles and apart from these, just a small wreath in our entrance way (and I’m even a bit half-hearted about that so it could be donated soon). And that's the extent of my simple Christmas decorating.

I would love to hear any thoughts you might have about simplifying Christmas.


  1. YOUR thoughts are MY thoughts! Christmas w/o clutter is simply chic.

  2. We are putting our tree up tomorrow & I plan to declutter decorations while doing so. I have a ton of stuff that needs to go to the charity shop.

    I try to get everyone (my mama and siblings on both sides) a little something but don't break the bank in order to do so.

  3. Most of the things on my Christmas wishlist are books or are to do with sewing. I've been culling my books to make room for new ones and when I take a break from sewing, I've been uncluttering my crafting closet shelves. A lot of stuff has gone in the bin or to charity shops lately!

    I've never been one to put up a lot of Christmas decorations: a homemade wreath on the front door, my tree in the front room and a table runner my Mom made for me years ago. I'm more on top of Christmas this year (and was more organised for Thanksgiving) than I can ever remember being, so I'm definitely more relaxed. That said, I always look forward to January when it all goes back to normal.

  4. I appreciate your post-it will get us all thinking about making Christmas more simple.
    My feeling about Christmas gift giving: Give real gifts to the children who are still excited about Christmas, Cash to the teenagers (they always want money!), and either nothing or small special Christmas edibles like nuts, honey, cookies,fancy cheese, chutney or jam to close friends or relatives.

  5. I love your Christmas tree (& posing kitty cat)! You are always so spot on with my thoughts. I have given extraneous ornaments and decorations to the rehabilitation center in our neighborhood, hopefully it will keep the patients spirits up. Our gift giving consists of gift cards and food now - no more cluttery junk, I can't bear to purchase "stuff" (junk) that the recipient will probably never use or want, especially when I know they are well off financially. In the past I have proposed donating to a charity organization in honor of the person I'm buying it for, but unfortunately I was told it wouldn't seem like a gift then ... I know, how sad is that? As far as decluttering, I typically do it after Christmas because I am sorry to say we get a lot of "stuff" we don't want and end up taking it all to a charity. I just can't seem to get it across to my extended family that we REALLY DON'T want any gifts!

  6. I did a lot a decorating when my children were little, but am definitely scaling back. I'm getting rid of anything plastic or made in China and holding on to the handmade ornaments that are so much more meaningful.
    I, too, am planning on donating to charities in lieu of some of my gifts, but, sigh, not everyone seems to be on board with this.

    I think this is my first time commenting, but I really love reading your posts. Thank you.

  7. i too am planning a simple christmas. love your list and it soothes me just reading it. your tree is very pretty. :)

  8. I buy gifts for the kids in my life (personalized photo "books" composed of photos that I took of us during the year). For adults, I take the charity route and sign their names (instead of mine) in the gifts that I buy for a children's charity. So far, everyone seems to feel good about this simple arrangement, and the holidays are much less stressful.

  9. Hi Fiona,
    I love your simple and elegant decoration, and of course a cat :).
    I love the atmosphere of Christmas, all the shops with beautiful windows etc. I love gift giving to my loved ones (close family). In recent years I usually give either something hand-made (knitted scarf or hat etc) or some disposables (cosmetics or edibles, liquors, tea and coffee). I know that they will be used sooner or later. For example to my son I have already bought a gift wrapped set of shaving foam, after-shave and shower gel from the brand that is a bit above what he normally uses (supermarket brands).
    I created a tradition for myself that helps me to feel Christmassy - every year I buy some special edition Christmas cosmetics from Yves Rocher as soon as it released(I don't know if this brand is in NZ but they are definitely not the only one who release special edition for Christmas). Something that I use every day or even several times a day - hand cream, shower gel. They have a festive design and smell lovely. For example this year I bought Cacao&Orange hand cream.
    LOL What I've wrote is not really about simplifying Chrismas :). But I live in a small apartment and have never had much space for decorating :)).
    Kind regards,

  10. I have stopped sending most cards, left most of the decorations in the attic and opted for natural branches with fairy lights in the window boxes. It leaves me with a feeling of calm, a defense against the insanity that the season had become. I am giving gift cards to my grown children along with a small personal gift. And if it is not something that they feel is suited to their needs, I am encouraging them to exchange it for something that will suit them. This has taken so much of the stress away. I want to enjoy the peace and beauty of the season focusing on its true meaning instead

  11. Hi Fiona,

    You are so chic! I came across blog post written by you in year 2010 while looking for French chic. And I was hooked after reading few blog posts! So since past couple of weeks, I have been reading all blog posts from the one I started and last night, managed to reach end (actually blog start, if that makes sense!) It has been like reading a book that you don't want to put down :) You write beautifully and it comes across as classy, calming and serene. Please know that I would be reading your blog regularly and am glad that there are still many posts that I am yet to catch up on ;)

    Thank you.
    Swapna, Australia

  12. I wish more people were like you, Fiona. I am so surprised when people give my daughter heavy and/or bulky items when they know she has to fly home. She never complains but I get all her presents since she has to leave them here. They go to Goodwill. (sigh)

    I give gift cards to avoid waste.

    My other daughter told me to eat fish once a week because the ocean is getting dirty. I think the concern is mostly mercury. When I replaced my fairy lights I found a small note in the box which said there was lead on the strings and I should wear gloves or wash my hands immediately after stringing the lights. How many people read that notice? Not many I guess. So I think you are very bright to help the planet by avoiding waste.

    By the way, I am from the USA. :)

    Vous etes tres chic. :) sorry, English keyboard here. I bet there are some accents in here somewhere.

  13. oh what a thrill...so glad you are back. I'd been missing your blog so I popped over and there you were, back again!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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