Yesterday I had a bit of a panic attack. 10 days to Christmas and I’ve done nothing! How will I get all these things on my list done in time? I haven’t even started my December Daily album and it’s already the 15th!!! After breathing deeply, I reminded myself of my vow to not get caught up in all the hustle and bustle this year. That we want to take it slow, and enjoy special experiences, not run around crazily trying to do everything possible. So I sat down and wrote this list of ways to slow things down. I immediately felt better, so I want to share these ideas with you in case you need some help getting re-centered on what’s important this season.
1. Choose one or two big events, and fill in with smaller ones
We had a pretty crazy day on Saturday, with not one, not two, but four events to attend. In our desire for Kieran to not miss anything, we overextended ourselves and him. As we sat to have dinner last night, both Lucas and I realised that neither of us felt like we had an actual weekend. We won’t be doing that again for sure. We’ll just have to choose one thing, and politely decline the rest. So going forward for the rest of the season I’ll be carefully weighing all the invitations and potential events and choosing carefully before jumping in. We have tickets to the circus later in the month, and we’ll do smaller activities like baking cookies and watching a movie or two.
2. Check your town’s activities for free outings
Our small town puts on a fair amount of free activities for the Holidays, and they are kind enough to send out flyers listing all of them. A good majority of them are free, so on the day we do feel like doing something “Christmasy”, we will check the schedule and choose just one thing to do.
3. No Daily Anything
I’m not doing anything this year that requires me to do something specific each day. I am notoriously bad at daily projects, and adding one more thing that I HAVE to do will just make me grumpy and stressed. I set up Kieran’s Advent Calendar, and he self-manages it. It’s in his bedroom and every morning after he wakes up he will go get his surprise, then come show it to Lucas & I. I’m not doing a December daily, but more of a December Memories album, so I am taking photos as we go along, and I will scrap the pages when the feeling moves me. Not for me the daily Advent activities, that kind of thing would drive me batty. I much prefer to be spontaneous about these things. Since I love Christmas, I know that we will listen to Christmas carols and do Christmas crafts and activities. The most I did was have a Christmas Top 5 list, things that we’ll spread out over the month.
4. Want, need, wear, read
Going crazy with the gift buying for the kids? Stop for a moment and consider giving gifts in the four categories above. It totally simplified my approach, especially as we get many requests from family about what to get Kieran. I’m on a mission for him to have less toys not more, so this idea helps a lot. (Get a free worksheet to help you plan this here.)
5. Make handmade gifts
Making gifts is a great way to slow things down. Why? because it takes time, love and care to make something by hand. This means that not only will the recipient be getting a one of a kind creation, but it’s impossible to go crazy and get 10 things for one person if you plan to make them all.
6. Share with others
Nothing makes you appreciate how much you have, by sorting through your belongings and deciding to gift what you don’t need with others. Check out toy and food drives that already exist, or come up with a giving plan of your own. My friend Marci and her family are currently doing 12 Days of Giving, which is so inspiring! One of their ideas was to donate leashes and collars to a pet rescue center.
7. Have a pyjama popcorn party
I’m anxiously awaiting for school to finish so we can plan one of these with Kieran. New pyjamas and bowls of popcorn? Yes! The only decision left to make is which movie should we watch?
8. Spread out the decorating
I’m taking my time with the decor this year. We already have the tree up, and I’ve done a bit of decor in two other spots. I like the idea of doing little bits leading towards the 25th, it’s kind of like building the excitement as the big day draws closer. And every time Kieran discovers a new set of decor he gets super excited and happy. I love seeing his reaction to it, and seeing the magic through his eyes. Plus let’s be honest, decorating means cleaning, and I can only add decor as I slowly tidy and declutter the house!
I feel so much better now that I’ve written this out. We can have a beautiful, magical Christmas that is slow, simple and not overwhelming. Is there anything from this list that might help you slow things down this year?
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