Tips on Slow-living at Christmas

Tips on Slow-living at Christmas

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 

Tips on 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? 

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  • Cate in the Kitchen

    Adore the message here Amanda! I’ve been thinking a lot this year about all the STUFF we accumulate and how much of the money we work so hard for is spent on needless things that are just wasting the earths resources..

    I too am a Cranium fan. Have you ever played Articulate?!

    • Don’t get me wrong- I love beautiful things. But I really can tell the difference between my head space pre and post a big declutter. “Stuff” makes me stressed (which is weird to say). And 99% of the time we just don’t need it. So surely it’s better to save your money? *Stop reading here family* All our family in England is getting food this year, so hopefully it’ll be delicious and appreciated.

      Articulate is amazing. We should have a blogger games night. x

  • Some lovely ideas here. I love the present categories you and Sam have – it must encourage you to be more inventive with your gift choices. I always donate to charity instead of sending cards (Shelter this year) and the night we put the tree up, Mr P and I watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with mulled wine. Christmas morning, we’ll take a walk to visit Mr P’s mum’s grave before heading to the pub for dinner x

  • yes to this list!:)

  • Ohh this made me feel so warm and Christmassy! I always do a big jigsaw over Christmas and love it! x

  • Lovely tips as Christmas can definitely become overwhelming! Christmas in Chile is very very low key in comparison to the UK so I feeling I am embracing all of these things without it being intentional!

  • I love the idea of splitting gifts into categories like you and Sam do πŸ™‚ It can be easy to go overboard sometimes, especially with someone you know well! Hopefully I’ll be starting to create a few traditions starting this year and I can’t wait! Have a lovely Christmas!

    • It’s so much easier to go overboard with people you know so well because you can think of so many things they need/want. But Sam’s really great at reminding me that we don’t need to spend our “fun” money for the entire year just on this one day.

      I’m positive that you’ll start some traditions of your own! x

  • Thank you for this lovely list, I needed the reminder that the most important part is spending time with loved ones and relaxing!! It’s such a wonderful time of year but it’s so easy to get swept up into the present buying and running around side of things!
    Peta x

    • I know it’s definitely an “easier said than done’ tip of thing at Christmas but it helps to get reminders sometimes. xx

  • I love this list Amanda! And I love the gift rule, that’s much better than just a spending rule. We decided not to do much gifts this year, a cd for him and a book for me, mostly cause buying a house was our big gift haha

  • I love taboo too! Any Christmas-time competition is healthy ;P And I am also a fan of making and writing cards and gifts. I do cards every year for the whole family, it’s so relaxing and easy to do on airplanes or trains or just sitting in a comfy chair with some tea πŸ™‚

  • Really enjoyed this post! We’re hosting Christmas this year which is super exciting but also very daunting – Christmas lunch for 9 anyone?! Alice xxx

    • We cooked Christmas for 7 a few years ago – it was a bit stressful but easier than you might think. I’m sure you’ll smash it! x