Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year… but sometimes it isn’t. Money worries and an over-packed social schedule can easily make this loving, festive time seem stressful, producing unrealistic expectations and panic.
But ultimately the season isn’t about the perfect present, the perfect decor, the perfect meal. It’s about celebrating, being with your loved ones, taking care of yourself and focusing on what’s important in your life. Basically all the things that can get easily swept under the rug with the onslaught of Christmas adverts.
In a way, slow-living can be the antidote to all that Christmas stress!
Tips on a Slow-living at Christmas
Write cards. One of my favourite things to receive are cards and letters. My best friend sends me postcards from the wonderful places that she’s visited and it’s honestly one of the best things to get in the post.
Buy minimal clutter. Maybe it’s just me, but I get stressed out when the house is cluttered and untidy. A lot of Christmas gifts are super exciting on the day, get used once or twice and then shoved into the cupboard. So think about buying loved ones experiences or consumables instead.
Make your presents whenever possible. Spoiler alert family: you’re getting something handmade this year.
Bake some sugar cookies or gingerbread. Either by yourself or with a helper!
Have a game on hand. Sam and I are those annoying people who are always up for some friendly holiday competition. Personal favourite games are, Cranium, Taboo, Bananagrams, and Charades. (I’d recommend staying clear of anything that takes up too much time, like Monopoly.)
Go on spotify and assemble a playlist of your favourite music to listen to at the holidays. I try to make it a combo of cheesy and actually good music, but whatever you pick, I’m sure it will be fun.
Set a gift rule. Some families have a maximum spend rule. Sam and I institute a 4 gifts rule with each other, and the gifts have to fit into 4 categories: Something they want, something they need, something to read, something to wear. That doesn’t include any small gifts that go in the Christmas stockings. Usually Chocolates.
Remember your decorations don’t need to be pinterest worthy. Just relax and do what you can.
Neither Sam or I are religious, but we always try to catch a Carol Service for the beautiful music. Last year’s at the York Minster was especially memorable.
Pick out a film to watch together on Christmas morning. In my family, we used to always pick out a film to watch after breakfast and present opening on Christmas morning. It’s lovely to still be in your pjs and all curl up together instead of heading off separately to the four corners of the house messing about with whatever gifts we’ve been given.
Light some candles or curl up next to a fireplace.
Pick out a book to read together. Sam and I always like to have something that we’re reading aloud to each other. We’ve been working on Stephen King’s “It” for ages, but one of my finest Christmas memories is reading the “Prisoner of Azkaban” aloud on Christmas morning.
A bit of fresh air really does the body good. I’m that annoying dad on Christmas afternoon who forces everyone out on a freezing (but beautiful) walk.
Give to charity. Sam is a blood-donor, and I donate to the RSPCA and Planned Parenthood, but all charities need a boost over the holidays. Especially ones that are dealing with people sleeping rough.
Put away your electronics. (Kind of). Since my family lives across the world, I always set aside a chunk of the holidays for Skyping with them, but otherwise I try to make the festive period a techno-free zone. Minimal instagram scrolling, no twitter blackhole sessions and no email responding.
Assemble your Christmas menu. I love picking out recipes and deciding what we’ll be eating from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day. Spending time in the kitchen (when you aren’t hurried to make a meal quickly or stressed about making the meal perfect) can be really satisfying.
Create your own traditions and ditch any traditions that don’t make you happy.
Tell your loved ones that you love them. Tell yourself that you love you!
How do you slow down and savour the holidays?