It’s beginning to look a reasonable amount like Christmas

Dan and I both aim to have less stuff. Our tandem de-cluttering has been an ongoing process over the course of our relationship and especially over the past 2 years, as we prepared for our cross-country relocation.

Christmas was one of the first places that we started. The idea of having a basement full of things that are only used for about 3 weeks per year is at odds with how we are trying to live — light, mobile, and surrounded by objects that have purpose or meaning.

That said, I also cling to a sense of tradition, so it’s a balancing act. A few years ago we landed upon a solution that works for us: we can have all the Christmas stuff that we want, so long as it fits in this single box. This has since grown to two boxes — we invested in a separate ornament box to keep our Rookwood Pottery and other delicate ornaments secure.

A few other items that have made the cut: stockings from my mom, a row of penguins, a few Christmas accessories that we add to items like Robot that already live on our shelves. The penguins, my Santa LEGO sets, a garland and a wreath (not pictured) all pack flat or break down to take up less room in our one box.

I insist on Christmas lights. Growing up, my grandparents had a single strand of large-bulbed Christmas lights on their house — now that’s our approach too.

And then there’s the tree. I have a “live tree or nothing” policy. Every year I suggest we don’t need one at all and every year I have an emotional breakdown and we buy one anyway. This year we found our smallish tree at Jax down the road.

Multicolor lights, ornaments, badda bing badda boom. I miss my dad’s obsession with tinsel, but I think Dan would lose his mind when it inevitably got everywhere — including winding around the motor of the vacuum cleaner, as I fondly remember from Christmasses past.

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