… and please do not think that simple here means sparse.
I love the holiday season, I love to bake and I love to decorate.
I can put the Whos of Whoville to shame when it comes to holiday happenings.
Simple in this case refers to carrying the homestead mentality of togetherness; of self sufficient, frugal living from the heart into the Christmas season and right on through to the New Year.
What follows are a list of ways we’ve chosen to “keep a simple Christmas”, things we’ve chosen to do as well as a few things we’ve chosen to do without.
I realize our choices (such as an artificial Christmas tree) are not for everyone; so just see this as an opportunity to peek in at our Black Fox Homestead Christmas.
A few things we do:
1. An Advent Wreath
This is a new tradition that we added to our Christmas season but it is one that I have wanted to do for a long time.
Our wreath is simple: it is just five mason jars with tea lites on a tray, but we look forward to the weekly reading together and lighting of the candle.
2. Christmas Cards
Every year I receive fewer and fewer. This makes me sad ~ I hate to see this kind of tradition fall by the wayside to email and electronic greetings.
We don’t typically do a Christmas letter, and my cards are purchased from last year’s close out at Dollar General but we do put in a handwritten greeting and send them out via snail mail.
3. Lots of Baking
I love to bake, and I usually plan what I will do for the holidays starting in September or October. Some things I make year after year, and I typically add something new as well. As mentioned in this post I did make an effort this year to bake healthy.
I wish I could say that I make up loads for the neighbors and hand deliver lots of pretty little bundles…..but….we’re still getting to know everyone around here.
On the other hand we are planning an open house this year! The first social event we’ve held at our homestead since we established it.
A few things we do without:
1. A Real Tree
So yeah. We do an artificial tree. And I know in some ways this goes against every image a “homesteady Christmas” calls up: trudging through the snow in a dense evergreen forest, a vintage axe slung over a shoulder, searching for The Tree while friendly woodland animals watch from a distance.
This is a a decision where both sentimentality and simplicity have played a big role.
Sentimentality: the artificial Charlie Brown -ish tree we have is still the same one I bought for $10 the first Christmas we were married. Every time I pull it out, I think of that happy first year together and how I stretched the budget to allow for that tree and a few ornaments. I can’t bear to part with it (and believe me I have tried).
Simplicity: as much as I swore I’d never own one, once I did, I reluctantly had to admit it was easier to put up and take down. It doesn’t loose as many needles, and it stays as fresh looking as an artificial tree can all season.
2. Outdoor Lights
I’d love to say that this is because we believe in keeping things to a minimum and lights take up time and space but honestly: we’re both afraid of heights.
Instead of outlining our barn with lights, I use a single, old fashioned battery operated flickering candle in each window with a wreath on the door. It is a look that is easy to put together, and is relatively inexpensive.
Often times the lights will stay up through the winter creating a cozy atmosphere while we wait for the spring.
3. Fancy Gift Wrap
We initially purchased several bolts of kraft paper to use as mulch in the garden. Then I decided it would make an inexpensive, pretty gift wrap. Choosing a “one size fits all” approach to the wrap saves time as well as money and I like the look of uniformity under the tree; not to mention the fact that once the gifts have been unwrapped the paper can be tossed in the compost bin or used for the original purpose: mulch in the garden.
To coordinate with the brown paper wrapping, I use red and white gingham (or polka dot) ribbon. And this year I designed black and white gift tags to coordinate with the paper and our ribbon:
You can click here to download and then print off as many sheets as you need. Merry Christmas!
How do you celebrate the holidays in your home?
What are some of the ways you like to keep it simple?
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You can find this post and others like it linked to: The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Tutorials Tips and Tidbits, The HomeAcre Hop, From the Farm Fridays