simple living

Simplifying Christmas

This year Christmas is going to look different for us as a family than any year before. This is our first year entering into the Christmas season with the intention of being intentional with our time and energy. As with any change to the norm, it has not gone down well with everyone and I’m sure post Christmas, we will have learnt new lessons and ways to do it next year. It’s all a learning curve!

But here are some of the ways we are changing our Christmas this year:

Identifying our priorities. In the past we have danced to the tune of others, but this year we have been focused on really narrowing down what is important to us. This year we are going to be intentional to be together as the four of us. Spending time together and making decisions which work best for our family. This needs to be addressed with caution and sensitivity but we are aware of the effects that over committal to events has on our boys and on us. We get to Christmas Day exhausted! Hopefully this year we will avoid that!

Simplifying our decorations. We have gone for the same colour scheme as last year, white and silver. Instead of purchasing new decorations which we don’t need and wasting what we have, we have reused them. We have got a door wreath, a nativity toy scene, a skinny tree, window curtain lights and a fireplace garland. Although nothing spectacular, it looks good and not too cluttered. Plus, it only took an hour to put everything up! Simple clean up post Christmas.

Present buying. We have set a budget for me and my husband so we don’t over spend. The same with the boys. It’s so easy to go crazy with buying things for children, I tend to buy a lot online and as much second hand as I can. For wider family, we all have a £10 limit and with the in-laws we have all put money into a pot to buy a game. This encourages experiences over things!

Mental simplicity. As a family we’re consciously trying to approach the season with gratitude and mindfulness. Trying to savour every moment and be grateful for the experiences we experience. For me especially, I have had to lower my expectations. I look through Instagram and Pinterest and want to have the perfect Christmas, yet it isn’t real life. Just a time bound moment, set to impress the cameras. What it doesn’t show is the under cooked potatoes and the toddler tantrum because they’ve had a sugar high!

Declutter before hand. We have got into a habit of having a clear out of toys before the invasion of toys on Christmas Day. My eldest picks out around 10-20 things he wants to donate to charity. This way, it’s teaching him about others who don’t have a lot and may be in need this Christmas. It is now something which he looks forward to and I’m often surprised at what he gets rid of!

Moving and moderation. Over eating is a big problem at Christmas and although we won’t deny ourself, we are not going to buy as much as in previous years. If it’s not in the house, we’re less likely to snack throughout the day. Maintaining exercise is something we are doing different this year. Prioritising this over nights out and scheduling it in. We are going to try and go walking as a family instead of other more typical Christmas things.

Simple traditions. As a child, some of my favourite traditions were those that cost very little and were not that amazing! I loved going and seeing other people’s lights around the estate and this is what my dad and me did each Christmas Eve. It is these forms of simple traditions which we are going to try and emulate this year.

Christmas time should not be a time of stress or rushing, rather, it is about time spent with family making memories. As a family who do hold the Christian traditions firm, we also want to ensure that our children remember the reason for the season. Simplicity will look different to each family and what works for one won’t work for someone else. These changes, we are hoping, will make Christmas a happy time where we can relax, make memories and spend time together.

Let me know what you guys are doing to simplify your Christmas!

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