INSIDE : Learn these 7 tips to Slow Down during the Christmas Season. What good is time off from work with family and friends, if you are more busy, hectic and stressed during the Holidays! Make plans to enjoy the winter break this year.
This post has been updated since it’s original December 2016 publish date.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” these are words I strive to feel this time of the year. I have eluded to it in my Thoughtful Holiday Decorating post and in my Meaningful Holiday Cheer newsletter, but something in me as the holiday season approaches always says slow down and simplify.
Why slow down during the Christmas Season?
I think it is due to a number of personal things in our life, but without fully even realizing the ‘why’ until very recently, I knew I needed to scale back on the crazy and savor the small moments. Today I am sharing how I thoughtfully Slow Down during the Christmas Season.
The Good News
I am here to say – it’s actually doable to decorate your home, bake cookies, enjoy Christmas movies, read holiday books, teach your children the real meaning of Christmas, buy + wrap gifts for friends and family… and feel slow, relaxed and joyful.
It sometimes feels as if I am in a huge crowd yelling the opposite message of everyone around me. Christmas is typically the season of busy, buying, hustling, bustling and shopping till you drop.
However, I feel closer to accomplishing a December slowness that I have wanted for the last few years and I want to share how.
Benefits of Slowing down during the Holidays
- Reduced stress When you’re rushing around trying to get everything done, your stress levels almost always will rise. Slowing down helps you to relax and de-stress, which can lead to better physical and mental health.
- Increased enjoyment When you slow down, you will have more time to savor the simple pleasures of the holidays!
- Improved mindfulness Slowing down can help you to be more present in the moment and appreciate the things that are truly important to you. This can also lead to a greater sense of gratitude and fulfillment.
- Better decision-making When you’re stressed and rushed, you are more likely to make impulsive decisions that you may regret later. Slowing down will give you the time and space to think clearly and make sound decisions (think gift giving and possibly spending excessive money here).
- Enhanced creativity Slowing down can also boost your creativity. When you are relaxed and your mind isn’t racing, you’re more likely to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
How to Slow Down during the Holidays
Make a Plan to Slow Down
It sounds so obvious, but it has taken me a long time to actually narrow down my plan of slowing down. Having younger children, I let myself get so excited about starting holiday traditions with them, that I suddenly found myself doing ALL of the traditions.
-Wrap 25 books and open one each night to read aloud? Yes, done.
-Bake every holiday cookie ever known to mankind? Yes, done.
-Deck the halls, watch the movies, see nightly light displays while in our pjs AND drinking hot chocolate….. done, done, done and done.
Before you know it, you’re completely exhausted and it’s only December 8th. (I know because that was me a few years ago!!)
So around Thanksgiving time, possibly even earlier, sit down and decide what you really want your Christmas season to look like. Then be ready to hold fast to it.
My husband was nearing the end of a two year phd program, so my plan for Christmas was lots of chill family time. ‘No’ to extras and ‘yes’ to family. We’ve not been able to do ‘together’ all too much during the last few years, so together time is always such a gift for us.
Let go of the Unnecessary
Oh, this is where it starts to get hard. This is where “traditions” and “obligations” and all the like, start really pulling on you!
In order to continue on with your plan of slowing down, you HAVE to let things go.
- Decide ahead of time, how many parties you will attend during the month of December.
- Decide ahead of time, if you will make just a few homemade gifts versus all homemade gifts.
- Decide ahead of time, how much of your home you will decorate.
- Decide ahead of time, if you will be doing a daily “Winter” activity or if a weekly activity is enough for you.
- And then, let the rest of it go!
We had a business related party we needed to attend for my husband and all other parties this year, we have opted out of. As I mentioned previously, we were in need of a “family together season”, so by all means attend more parties if your family is able. (I LOVE parties and many years we’ve actually hosted holiday parties.)
However, we needed less, we needed slow, we needed together. So this is what we choose to do this year.
And because we’ve not filled every single moment on our calendar, we’ve been able to enjoy lovely time with dear friends, have had a few weekends of absolutely nothing but baking cookies and building legos and coloring and movies. It’s been relaxed and so memorable!!
Shop Holiday Smart
I’m not sure if I have stepped into an actual store this entire month (Okay, Target and the grocery store). Typically I love the hustle bustle, but I planned and purchased nearly every gift online from the comfort of my sofa this year.
Check out my Holiday Shopping List printable.
I can not say this loud enough — There is no shame in not getting every single “bargain” and early morning “Black Friday” sale going on.
Online gift purchasing alone has freed up quite a bit of my time and having Amazon ship the gifts right to my home or the recipient’s home is just added bonus. Check out my gift guides if you are in need of some present ideas.
This is also a great way to stay on budget during Christmas. It’s so much easier to over spend when in a store, but I find having to click on “my cart” and see all the items lined up with the total makes it much easier for me to say… okay, that’s not really needed and remove it from my total.
Don’t worry about keeping up with Others
I would really love to get a real Christmas tree, but as magical and romantic as that sounds it would have added more stress this year. Know your holiday capacity and be okay with doing good enough instead of stressing about creating a “picture perfect” holiday.
Our fake tree is perfectly fine. I lit a few evergreen scented candles and it was great. I also really wanted to put up white lights outdoors this year, but I just did not have the energy to get it done. It’s OKAY.
Keep your expectations realistic. You can make your home lovely and cozy without going all out on every detail.
This year, I decorated our living room and it is wonderful. But that is pretty much the end of the decor. I normally want all the color, all the pom poms, all the fluff and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But this year, I wanted my holiday decor to reflect that slower pace. It’s special, but not over the top.
Plan for Unplugged Brain time
Electronic devices are taking over our lives. I’m sure most of you feel the same way.
Commit to a holiday puzzle with your kids. I KNOW! A puzzle. I just bought a 500 piece puzzle and little by little we will get it done.
This is time where you can organically do some of the traditions you actually enjoy doing.
- Baking cookies
- Watching a movie all together
- Checking out Christmas lights, etc…
When you have already spent time planning to slow down, letting go of un-needed tasks, being smart with your shopping, etc… then you have the time to unplug and enjoy your family. Imagine that!
Make rest and sleep a priority
Maybe this one seems odd to include on a Christmas slow down list, but I’m a night owl and my natural instinct is to always stay up late. Now that it’s dark so much earlier and cold outside, I’m making a conscience efforts to rest my body.
A rested body creates a more rested me in the morning and thus continues in helping me stay clam and relaxed during December. Plus, with all the extra colds and sickness during the winter months, sleep is a great first start in keeping as healthy as possible.
This one is still a work in progress for me. I’m probably going to add it to my New Year’s Resolution list. I’m always tired and going to bed too late is 99% my fault.
Keep your main things, the main things
Don’t stress about your daily Holiday Activity Calendar.
Don’t fret that you didn’t get out to make a snowman yet.
Let go of your feeling of obligations.
Focus on counting your blessings and remembering what you are grateful for every day of the year. This will help you gain perspective on what the holiday season should really be about.
And a recent updated tip…
Holiday SELF CARE
Self care can go a long way in helping us having a more intentional and meaningful holiday. Read my huge list of Holiday Self-care Ideas here!
There you go, seven (eight) ways I have been trying to slow down during this Christmas Season. This entire month has felt so wonderful that I am thinking I might adopt a slower December attitude from here on out.
How are you feeling this holiday? Any additional tips for an enjoyable Christmas? Share share below. I’d love more ideas!