Slowing down? At Christmas? Sounds impossible, right? Like yet another Christmas fairy tale?
We love Christmas. A lot. We love doing fun things and living out our various traditions. But as you know, Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be an incredibly busy and hectic time. There are a thousand other things that happen this time of year – programs, recitals, and parties, to name a few. Oh, and we have to buy gifts for family, friends, neighbors, and teachers. And send Christmas letters. And, and, and…you get the point. (Sorry if I induced some anxiety there.)
The point is that we all know it is a busy time, and our family will at times make it even busier with our many fun and important Christmas traditions. So we need balance. Here are a few ideas and compromises we have made to take the hectic out of the holidays:
- Slow down. Purposefully stop once in a while and just enjoy the Christmas tree, take a nap, or play a game with the kids. Reflect on the good time you are having so that you can truly file it away. I personally love to sit on the couch at night and just look at the Christmas tree. This is a quiet time to just relax.
- Compromise. We feel that going through Advent activities is very important for the kids and for us. And we would love to make each day an amazing experience for the kids. But, we have compromised by just reading through this lesson and putting the figure on poster. There is a craft and extra activity that we could do, but we have chosen not to do them this year so that we can keep it simple. This advent activity literally takes 5 minutes each night, and we can do it while we are having snacks and winding down for bed.
- Together! Make sure most of the activities you do include the whole family, so that you are enjoying quality time together with all of them.
- Schedule it. Take time in November to schedule the most important family traditions, and then stick to those nights. This will make sure that you have purposefully chosen your activities rather than passively let them choose you. (We scheduled time to watch a Christmas movie, get the Christmas tree, and our annual Christmas Lights Tour.)
- N.O. It is okay to say no. There are more good things to do that there is time to do them.
- Shop Early: It’s too late for this year, but next year try to get all your shopping done in November so that you aren’t running around the last two weeks. (This is not always possible. This year we had nothing bought in November, but Dana hit it hard the first week of December. We ordered more online than we have before, and have almost all of it done. Some years Dana has done really well getting homemade gifts completed in the summer, which is really nice.)
- Organize your lists. Make a list of everyone you want to buy a gift for, take goodies to, and send a card. Keep it, put it on the computer so that you can remember it. This will help you avoid some of the last minute stress.
- Year to Year: Keep a list of presents you have bought for the miscellaneous people (teachers, friends, neighbors) so that you don’t repeat year after year. This has the bonus of being a brainstorming list so that you can remember the good ideas for the new people in your life.
One of the dangers of living a Purposeful Life is that it can turn into a Hectic Life. But it doesn’t have to. Remind yourself that you can’t do it all, plan out the most important things, say no to many good things, be organized, and take time to reflect, and you will be on your way to keeping the hectic out of the holidays. And yes, Virginia, it is truly possible to slow down at Christmas when you are purposeful.
What do you do to slow down at Christmas?
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