It’s all too easy to let Christmas pass you by without truly enjoying and appreciating its magic. Everything leads up to that one special day, and then, within the blink of an eye, it’s gone, vanished until next year. All the stressing over shopping, card sending, cooking and what to wear for the Christmas party. And then there’s feeling ill from your seasonal cold while trying to meet those end of year work deadlines.
Instead of really enjoying Christmas, we end up living outside of the moment, lost in doing the next important thing to prepare for the big day. The older we get the more difficult it becomes to rekindle that child-like magic at Christmas, to enjoy every step of the season. This year, I am on a mission to bring back my childhood Christmas – where it wall about the experience in the run-up to and the days itself; long walks in exploring areas in my new hometown (we moved to the seaside back in April), sitting in from of the fire (in this case it will be watching the fire on our TV) with hot chocolate, watch ‘Home Alone’ while eating candy and popcorn, make homemade Christmas decorations, bake cookies and our own gingerbread house, wake up on the morning of Christmas Eve and watch Disney Cartoons (something my brothers and I used to during our childhood years) – and most importantly; no more than 2-3 presents per person – SIMPLE – this year I am rethinking my holiday gift-giving attitude. Christmas used to be magical, now it’s just too commercialised.
Thankfully, I’ve learned in the past couple of years that simplicity is the key to capture the spirit of a magical and mindful Christmas.
Here are five things you can do this year to stress less and love more this holiday season.
1. Limit those to-dos.
Ask yourself, “Will this create meaningful memories?” And more importantly, “Will this add to the peace of the season or take away from it?”
2. Plan ahead.
For me, the biggest thing to help instil calm into the holidays is to get organised and start early on my to-do list. No matter how much you scale back on the to-do’s, some tasks (like shopping for family gifts or planning the food for a family gathering) are inevitable. Thankfully, nothing reduces stress and anxiety – like early preparation! I aim to finish the bulk of my to-do’s by mid-November, especially because we put up our Christmas tree and decorations around the 25th of November (and take it down a couple of days before New Year’s Eve as we like to start the year fresh).
3. Spend less, do less.
Another big stressor during the holidays is financing. Giving yourself permission to spend less and do less – like skipping the expensive holiday card or dialling down your gift budget – will leave you with the more mental and emotional capacity to really soak in the season. Every year, I buy my Christmas cards from Poundland and this year I am banning the use of gift-wrapping paper.
4. Get the kids on board.
Early in the season, Khushi & I and discuss what kind of Christmas we want to have. We talk about the feelings we want to experience and brainstorm ways to get there – without going overboard. This enables us to catch the vision of how a simple Christmas will mean more fulfilment and contentment.
5. Keep coming back to your “why.”
When the hustle creeps in, try to ground yourself again by remembering why you want the kind of season you want. For some that may be to feel closer to Christ; for others, it may be to find more time and connection with your family. (For many of you, it may be both!) Keep holding on to that longing – that desire for a slower, more meaningful season – and you’ll find it.