So, its finally here, the build-up to Christmas is just a few days away! The stress and the excess of December with Christmas parties, nativity plays, last-minute work tasks before the break, frantic shopping, and excessive eating, drinking, singing and being merry – after all, it’s Christmas – is about to culminate in an over-too-quickly festive day.
This year I’ve asked my true love to give me a slow living Christmas. I’ll be sharing my 12 days of Christmas with a slow living twist for your most peaceful and meaningful Christmas ever.
12 Excited Children
Luckily I only have two excited children, but in this day and age it’s more and more difficult to remind children the real importance and meaning of Christmas. They only have to watch a few toy adverts on TV or, in my teenagers’ case, flick through social media to be bombarded with images of expensive material things.
This time of year is ideal to remind kids about the importance of a gift; to consider the thought that has gone into the gift and the act of kindness. We can easily share the joys of Christmas with our children without making it about toys and gadgets!
11 Simple Joys
My simple joys of Christmas are waking up before everyone else on Christmas morning for coffee on my own before I hear excited footsteps upstairs, taking the dog for a walk on Christmas morning, which feels different with no cars on the road and very few people out and about, and although I don’t like gingerbread, I love gingerbread-scented candles and melts and save them just for this time of year to enjoy that smell of Christmas. Unlike most people I also love wrapping gifts and, since switching to eco-friendly options, it has allowed me to be much more creative with cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices added to brown paper.
I’m also using reusable fabric wraps this year for those special gifts and for shapes that are hard to wrap!
Find joy in the quiet, not just the noise, lights and material possessions.
10 Christmas Crafts
Allow your hands and mind to get lost in some Christmas crafts. Make your own wreath, crackers, decorations or cards. A homemade Christmas feels that much more special.
You could make mince pies instead of buying them this year, or bake biscuits and cookies to enjoy with hot chocolate in the evenings.
9 Walks in Nature
Don’t let the cold put you off getting some fresh air. Talking a walk can give you some mental space and calm. Grab the family and wander around, taking notice of the seasonal details and admiring other people’s decorations and lights. You could even forage for table settings; a sprig from a tree combined with a ribbon makes a simple and effective cutlery holder, or fill a big flower vase with foliage such as leaves and pinecones for a pretty centrepiece. Add lights and some eco-friendly glitter for that little bit extra. Bring the outside in to really connect with the season and enjoy what’s unique about winter.
8 Dreamers Dreaming
Dreaming of sleeping in or sitting by the fire with family, with something warm to drink and sweet to eat? Do it! Make sure you spend this time resting, as the longer you rest, the deeper you replenish your body and mind. No doubt it won’t be long until the next last-minute panic appears out of nowhere!
Take a few quiet moments with a lavender eye mask or a few drops of relaxing essential oil blend on an aromatherapy necklace – aromatherapy jewellery means you can benefit from the relaxing scent wherever you are.
7 Trees A-Twinkling
I was recently around some ladies and they started talking about the pressure to have the perfect Christmas tree after scrolling through social media and seeing picturesque displays of twinkling lights and colour-coordinated decorations. The importance of Christmas is lost in the quest for perfection.
Now, I’m no minimalist; we have lots of decorations up at Christmas, including a plug-in fireplace ornament that is such a tradition that it symbolises to everyone who knows us that its officially Christmas. I could forget the tree and just display the little fireplace with its flickering bulb and ceramic Santa and it would still feel just as festive.
And that right there is what I want to focus on: the magic of Christmas in our home with my family, soaking up those special memories that we can all agree, when we look back, are never about the gifts.
6 Phones A-Pinging
I run an online business, so I’m guilty of being on my phone quite a lot. However, over this year I have become more mindful about how and when I use my phone, and Christmas will be no exception. In fact, I’ll be imposing a house rule on phones over the Christmas period so we can really enjoy what’s in front of us.
5 Festive Things
The meaning and purpose of Christmas (goodwill and giving) has been overshadowed by greed, excess and stress. It doesn’t have to be this way! Sit and reflect on what you actually believe Christmas to be about and come up with a list of five things you can do to practice goodwill and giving this year. I’m sure you’ll discover some new family traditions, no matter how big or small, in no time. As an example, take some home bakes or sweet treats to your local fire station; they, amongst others, will be working Christmas Day.
4 Big Questions
Before filling your online or physical basket with gifts, ask yourself these four questions:
– Do they need it?
– Do they want it?
– Is it useful?
– Can I buy from a small business or second-hand?
My sister loves all things beauty, so would appreciate this reusable cotton pad gift set!
My mum loves a bath so a soap bar is perfect!
My husband has a stressful commute to work every day so I’m giving him essential oils to keep things calm in traffic jams and long drives.
My nephews would use reusable silicone straws with a handy carry tin to throw into their football bags.
3 Thoughtful Gifts
I love to give; its my favourite part of Christmas, watching someone open something I’ve found specifically for them. However, the more people you have to buy for, the more stressful it can be. Creating a new tradition of a family secret Santa, or agreeing on a smaller budget means there is much more emphasis on thoughtful gift-giving rather than cost.
2 Reading Books
I have a pile of books I’ve bought over the last year or two to read “when I have time”. Christmas is the perfect time! No normal routines or work stresses; it’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle down with a blanket and a (gingerbread) scented candle and finally open page 1 of that book that’s been staring at you since June!
And a Slow Living Christmas For Me….
Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.