Christmas Minimalists

Don’t you just love this time of year that maxes out credit cards and unites families to revisit arguments from the year before?  And how better to exhibit this joy than redecorating your house with cheap junk made with sweat labor from Asia.



When I was working for a new home builder as a Warranty Manager I had the pleasure of knowing an elderly couple who for them, Christmas was the ultimate holiday and they showed it by elaborate displays of Christmas paraphernalia that would make the shops on Rodeo Drive jealous.

The couple, Merry and Dave – that’s right, even the wife’s name reflected their love for the holiday – owned a home in Frisco, Texas and utilized an entire bedroom and its walk-in closet to store all of their ornaments, tree, lights and statues of Kris Kringle, angels, elves and reindeer.  If there was any part of the Christmas tree showing, it was an oversight that was quickly corrected with another ornament of the Magi or a sled.  It was an event that took Dave an entire month to assemble and hang, and another to take it all down and store away until next year.  It was literally wall-to-wall Christmas ornamentations.

The Juicy Couture boutique in Beverly Hills, Calif ain’t got nothing on Merry and Dave’s home decorations in Frisco, Tex.

The Juicy Couture boutique in Beverly Hills, California ain’t got nothing on Merry and Dave’s home decorations in Frisco, Tex.

Dave and Merry are of course the exception to such decorative displays.  Most I think who take the time to dress up their home, inside and out, are not quite as ambitious.  I’d like to think my wife and I fall into that category.  My wife, Roseann, works on the inside …

above the TV dining room table hallway decorations living room decorations more hallway decorations the tree

… and I tackle the outside for the most part, though she is also a big contributor to the low-hanging decorations like the lights on entry walk and the garden wall at the front of the house.

entry walk decorations garden wall decorations

And here’s what the finished product looks like.

Xmas on Sherman Dr

Okay, so maybe we do tend to exert ourselves a bit but Clark & Ellen Griswold we’re not.

Of course most people don’t bother to decorate at all.  Let’s face it.  The Christmas spirit for many entails lighting themselves up with plenty of yuletide eggnog or a bourbon-laced hot toddy rather than lighting up their home.

But what about those half-hearted efforts we often see by some who have at least thought about participating but just didn’t see themselves taking it too far.  You know the type.  A Christmas wreath on the front door.  One red and one green flood light in the driveway light fixture anchored on the exterior wall.  Or the single string of lights around the front door frame.

These are men and women you might think are cheap or simply lazy but I like to see them as people with minimalist tendencies.  They drive the most economic version of transportation with only an AM  radio, adjusting their own side mirrors and roll down their own windows.  They have basic cable or may even get their reception from an outside antenna.  And watering the lawn during the summer is required only when the grass starts showing shades of yellow.  You may want to snobbishly chortle at such people but at least they can make paychecks meet and even sneak a little away in a hidden nest egg so they can take that weekend summer trip to Pensacola or Bossier City, Louisiana.

So, in  celebration of the Christmas minimalist, let me display a few of their decorative efforts I have observed on my daily walk with my dog Millie in tow here in my hometown.  Click on each pic to get a better view

Here are a few of the typical minimalist decorations with a door wreath.  As the first photo shows, double doors means double wreaths along with a reminder of the July 4th holiday off to the side.  The red, white, blue and green of Christmas is a cherished tradition for some apparently.

double door wreaths door wreath and porch ornament single wreath

Most Christmas minimalist tend to stay close to the porch.  The first one reflects this while the second ventured out to the yard and decorated their walkway lamp post

porch santa walkway light fixture decoration

This one seems more like a cop-out rather than explaining why they didn’t decorate their yard with nothing more than a realtor’s yard sign.  Jesus’ dad lights up the sky with a heavenly host of angels and they can’t run a string or two of lights?

jesus is the reason I jesus is the reason II

Nothing says Xmas like an inflatable Santa.  It took more effort to wrap the boxes at his feet than it did to blow him up.

inflatable Santa

Not only did this person not take time to decorate for Xmas, they took an equal amount of time to remove their Halloween decoration.

Halloween pumpkins

This one I threw in as a bonus. It has nothing to do with Xmas but does indicate that if people with dogs are passing by and their pet wants to leave a little gift on their yard, please be sure to tote it off in the gift wrapping they so generously supply here.  Might Santa have need for it should Donner or Blitzen drop a loaf while visiting?

doggy poop bags

But none that I have seen here in Denton beats this clever effort by what has to be the greatest Christmas minimalist alive today.

a true Christmas minimalist

‘Ditto’ sign on Kristina Green’s house points to Christmas lights display on Eric Cyr’s house.

Of course what really matters is that we let the tension from work subside and allow ourselves to be transformed for a brief period as the colder weather sets in and songs of Noel are playing on the radio 24-7.

Christmas takes on some different meanings for many people but it has something we all share.  Outside of the negative atmosphere generated by the “war on Xmas” crowd and the crass commercialism that begins the day before Halloween, most of us are transferred back in time when, as children, a two-weeks break from school was thought to be the greatest gift of all and the sense that something really magical was transpiring as Christmas day approached, making us truly glad to be alive.

Merry Christmas Everyone


11 responses to “Christmas Minimalists

  1. Thanks for the Christmas wishes. I’m even less than a minimalist. The only thing I feel like lighting up at his time of year is a joint.

  2. Your place looks very nice indeed. We have a little less, but we are just starting. Next year we will working on framing the door. We do enough decorating inside to let everyone know it’s Christmas, but I tend not to do any room other than the living room. I’m not much for Christmas dish rags, lol…We have our tape of the Griswold’s Christmas ready to go. I laugh like it’s the first time every time.

    • We really never put up much outside decorations either as a kid but spent a lot of time on the tree. It was the lights on other people’s homes that always attracted me to this in later life.

      • yeah we never did either, but we got in the car and took a tour of the neighborhood every year. weird. I like decorating, though we’ve had some wind problems as of late. Parker did some work on nailing the reindeer down! lol.

  3. Excellent post! Of course, we live at the end of a dirt road that has only three houses and no traffic. So i don’t decorate the outside at all. Nice pictures!

  4. Ha! I’m with Hansi! (but alas, cannot even afford that this year!) I think I am a Xmas Nihilist…..I do have a two foot fake tree….never decorated, but it looks good in the corner My Father used to love to decorate the outdoors of the house, but with his polio limitations, it was I that decorated while he supervised. Huge wreath around the picture window, hay bales and a manger scene, flood lights…….damn if he wouldn’t have live sheep and dress us all up as magi if he could have gotten away with it. When I was married…it was a fake wreath for the door (nice,see, and not cheap,and totally reusable) with lights and a nice tree inside. The tree went up the week before and came down the weekend after New Years. Now….Halloween decorating is a whole different deal….I tend to indulge my inner pagan:

    All the best to all of you this Season! OK!

    • As much as I enjoy the lights I find each year that I am a bit slower putting them up and quicker in taking them down. I’m working my way to the nihilist approach too I think.

  5. Merry Christmas! I was minimalist when I lived in the US because doing anything outside in December/January where I lived was generally painful. Now in the southern hemisphere it’s summer and light until after 9pm so there’s not much point.

    • Merry Xmas to you too T.E. Yeh, living in the southern hemisphere has got to be a bummer at Xmas time especially if you were raised where snow and cold weather were the norm.

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