Does holiday clutter, I mean, “holiday décor,” make you anxious? You’re not alone.

While it seems like most people want to deck their halls to the nth degree (not to mention the “extreme decorators”), some people shudder at the thought of baubles and bells taking over their home or apartment.

But still, you don’t want to become one of those Scrooges who won’t host this season. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holiday season, with a minimalist flair.

Start With an Empty Canvas.

To help minimize clutter, pack away any purely decorative items that aren’t holiday-themed before putting out your decorations, suggests Sarah Donawerth a self-described minimalist from Orange County, CA.

“That prevents you from piling décor on top of décor,” Donawerth says.

White Christmas tree with golden and silver balls, gift boxes

Choose One Color for Festive Splashes.

Or, skip the conventional holiday icons of dreidels and snowmen, and instead weave holiday color into your existing look with a monochromatic theme, suggests Kristen Forgione, founder and principal designer with the LifeStyled company Interiors and Renovation Design in Gilbert, Ariz.

“Take a traditional holiday red, green or metallic and spread that color throughout the home in unconventional places, such as swapping bed linens for a more festive, deeper or more textural color, or adding a simple table runner to an otherwise naked table,” she says.

Picking one focus color can help avoid the riotous color deluge that too many disparate decorations can create.

Create a Single Focal Point For the Room.

Christmas lovers tend to over decorate, which can make the whole room feel suffocating.

“You don’t have to cover every square inch with pine sprigs and ornaments to make the room festive,” says Donawerth.

Instead, choose one place to put your Christmas decorations where they will draw the most attention. For example, a single beautiful centerpiece on the kitchen table or an adorned mantle can make the whole room look holiday-ready without a proliferation of knick knacks.

Burning lantern in the snow with christmas decoration

Pick a Simple, Unifying Theme.

While minimalists typically do not participate in what you’d call “themed decor,” it actually can simplify your holiday look, providing you go for something understated, Forgione says.  She suggests a simple theme like “winter,” with cozy, sweater-like materials, wood tones and deeply scented candles; or “celebrations,” with mixed metallics, barware on display and faux fur.

Go Au Naturel.

No, we don’t mean totally bare, but often nature can provide the cleanest, simplest decorations, says Bradley Odom of Atlanta design store Dixon Rye. For example, pinecones, holly and greenery can spruce up your tablescape or elevate your mantle without looking gaudy. One of his favorite looks is a classic hurricane glass filled with seasonal elements that you can use year after year.

girl is decorating the Christmas tree

Decorate the Christmas Tree Your Way.

Some people love an ornament explosion, but others hate the messy look of modern ornaments mixed with those that have been passed down from your childhood.

“If mingling different types of ornaments on a tree isn’t your thing, group a few collections with common characteristics to display in other settings around your home,” Odom suggests.

Another idea to help prevent ornament overload is to commit to choosing just one special piece each year.

“You can still have the thrill of adding new decorations without overwhelming your collection,” says Donawerth, who designs and makes a single ornament each year. If you’re not crafty, browse the stores to find the perfect one that captures the essence of your year.

Of course, you can also go super simple with a nice spruce tree adorned with lights, Odom points out.

Avoid Materials That Shed.

One of Donawerth’s main stresses during the holidays is the glitter.

“I love the way it looks, but I am constantly wiping it off of everything it touches,” she says.

Ditto for fake snow. So choose wisely – remember that what looks eye-catching in the store might follow you all over the house. And if too much holiday bugs minimalists in December, you can just imagine how they feel when it’s still lingering in January!

Cathie Ericson