Last Sunday morning was spent doing one of my favourite things in the world; decorating the house for Christmas! Putting up the tree, hanging fairy lights and styling a festive interior is my idea of a Sunday well spent.
This really is my favourite time of year but it can also get quite crazy and stressful! Gifts, expectation and the need to please everyone can lead to pressure which often rules over the festive season and can make it kind of miserable. We’re always so busy, everything gets very condensed for time and money and there’s no room to breathe during the festive period. My advice? Go for a pared back Christmas, take it back to basic with a minimalist flair. Here are my tips for a wonderful, layered back and calmer Christmas…
Embrace Hygge – Ah yes, Danish concept of Hygge that’s been taken on by pretty much the whole world this year. Its minimalist nature of appreciating the basics, makes it the perfect way to slow down and take stock this holiday season. Quality time with friends and family is what’s most important in this Scandi manifesto. Add in classic yet simple meals and plenty of candlelight and you have Hygge, the ultimate de-stressing tool to embrace.
Go ‘Homemade with love’ – Handmade gifts are a brilliant, ethical option when deciding on presents. Whether it’s a completely homemade gift or something you’ve bought from a friend/small, local business it’s a brilliant way to make gifting more personal, sustainable and often cheaper!
Take time for yourself – In among all the hustle and bustle it’s important to take time out for yourself. This can be tricky within all the work, parenting and other commitments you may have but trust me, it is so important for well-being and sanity! Whether it’s a walk in the great outdoors, a calming bath or even just 5 minutes of yoga in the morning, your body and mind will thank you!
Stick to your budget – Finances can be the main cause of worry and trouble during Christmas and the easiest way to solve that is to make a budget and stick to it!! Now I know this is often easier said than done but it really is so important. Family and friends don’t expect you to get into financial difficulties if you can’t afford a certain present or that premium turkey, just be honest, there’s really no shame in saying sorry it’s not in my budget. And if that bothers them then… well… that’s just a bit un-family like isn’t it…
Keep a diary – Keeping a diary has changed my life and it’s so simple! I used to attempt to remember every meet up, appointment and work shift and that went well while things weren’t busy but come Xmas time, wow there’s suddenly a lot going on! By keeping track of it all and staying organised it takes some of the manic pressure away from when and where you’re meant to be all the time. Plus, seeing a week planned out in front of me on paper really helps me to visualise when I’m free and can fit in those extra errands.
At the end of the day, this season really isn’t about presents, decorations or food, so why make that the pressure inducing focus? We could all enjoy the holidays that bit more by centreing in on what we already have, not the added extravagance Christmas has become that we seem to think we need to have a good time. Homes, loved ones and food in our bellies is quite enough to be thankful for. This can be a tricky time of year to navigate but if we start to appreciate more what we have, take all the decadence down a notch and breathe, it might be a bit easier!