Christmas is only around the corner, but this year is very different for me.
At the end of an year of change and simplification, Christmas has arrived with the daunting prospect of having to buy fancy presents for people because they will buy them for me (or my kids), having to organise elves on shelves, advent calendars, pre-christmas dos, etc.
If you are already into minimalism, you’ll know that the best way to avoid arriving to an event such as Christmas stressed and exhausted (mentally and physically) is to:
1) Learn how to say NO
2) Rethink your priorities
3) Step back and just give your time and energy to what matters truly to you
4) Make it more about the experience than the material stuff.
I’ve decided that people (my people, my tribe, my family) count more than anything else for me. My children are still little, so I wanted to focus my attention on making their Christmas (and the run up to it) as magical as it gets. So yes, I do move the elves around the house and leave a little note every day with world of encouragement and little kindness tasks (to learn more about the kindness elves, read here) for the day. I do put glitter in front of the elves’ door, meaning that they did go to see Santa overnight. I also prepare the advent calendar so that the children find a little chocolate and an activity to do together every day (making gingerbread men biscuits, singing and dancing to Christmas music, going to see Santa at the grotto, make Christmas decorations, watch a Christmas movie at home with popcorn, etc.). This year, our advent calendar also had a couple of activities involving buying food for the food bank and gifting socks to the homeless. I want my children to feel the magic of kindness, because that warms your heart well more than a brand new plastic toy.
Of course we have gifts, but the rule now is: one toy and one book (from Santa) and some new clothes (from mamma), including new pyjamas to use on Christmas eve. I don’t want them to have lots of super fancy toys that get discarded after an hour – which has happened in the past, by the way – when other children don’t have anything at all from Santa.
I told my friends that I wanted to do an alternative Christmas, so I invited them to go out with our families to go and see a Christmas display at the local garden centre and have hot chocolate together, instead of buying presents for each other.
I made some gingerbread men with my children for my friends’ families, and we wrapped them with handmade decorations and made them pretty.
I gifted cinema tickets and spa days to my family, and I made a soft toy for my little sister using the fabric from clothes she used to wear when she was 20 kg heavier, to celebrate her incredible achievement this year.
I loved every minute of it so far. I’ve been mindful of where my money was spent, and I thought hard about where to spend my energies too.
My whole family is in another country, so it will be just me and the kids this year on the actual Christmas day, who are actually the people I long to spend my Christmas with. I’m looking forward to the walk in the cold, crisp air on Christmas morning, and to watching the children unwrapping their presents, and to cooking and enjoying some lovely traditional food, and to cuddles and reading books together, and finally, to a glass of wine while bingeing on Bridget Jones, Love Actually and Friends when the kids are in bed .
If you want more inspiration for a simple, minimalist Christmas, check this post by Cait Flanders out.
I hope you have a wonderful, meaningful Christmas.