Planning A Calm Christmas
This week my blog is all about avoiding overwhelm at Christmas. I have been doing a course on calm celebrations run by @mightymother_ Eloise Rickman and it’s been so beautiful to work out, with a little planning, exactly how to invite a joyous and calm build up to Christmas and to think about the wind down process. The course spurred me on to creating a vision board as I’m such a visual person, and that flowed over to getting my diary and actually fitting in exactly how I will achieve this beautiful Christmas. I already feel so calm, collected and excited about the festivities now. In the past I’ve left things a bit last minute to truly enjoy it. Now that I’m a mum I want to feel more in control and to connect with the enjoyment of it all.
That word................Celebrate! It somehow feels the wrong word, doesn't it?
It should be a time for celebration. You recognise that at least.......
Time to take a break from work. To cosy up in the warmth of your own home, sleeping in when the world is dark outside, wearing blankets next to the fire and watching your favourite movie, whilst drinking hot chocolate or something a little stronger if you should fancy!
This is how you would love the Christmas break to look. Idyllic, restful with slow, happy days.
But then you remember you actually have to organise Christmas, the gifts, the feast, the catch-ups with friends, family and neighbours, the outfits for yourselves and little ones, not forgetting tickets to school plays. You are responsible for how Christmas plays out! No wonder it can feel more overwhelm at times than a celebration!
But this can go one of two ways...
Option one you keep your head in the sand about it and yes.... you will be the one .....walking around in the sleet, rain and snow on Christmas Eve, wondering why on earth you didn't shop when Christmas stock was plentiful in October! Finding that the only gifts left are insanely high in price with any hope of coming out of December debt free leaves you there and then! Guilt tripped into using the credit card! Anxiety galore!
Or option two planning to enjoy a calm, peaceful, social and connected Christmas, avoiding overwhelm, anxiety, last minute panic and an anti climatic Christmas day.
So.....Having learnt my lessons the hard way I say no to anxiety and overwhelm at Christmas and yes to a small amount of planning for a huge amount of enjoyment.
I have reflected on what worked well in the past and bought it altogether. And this is my guide to a calm Christmas.
Do not allow Christmas to enter into your head too early. This weekend, November 25th is 'Stir-it up' Sunday (tradition to make Christmas pudding). It feels a natural time for me to start thinking about Christmas.
Get friends involved in your planning and get them to help you. I am visiting a friend this weekend to do Christmas puddings with our girls. She is a better baker than I am so we will learn together and catch up at the same time. Win Win.
When you do think about Christmas make a mood board. Think exactly how you would like your Christmas to look include feelings, outings, decorations, gifts, outfits etc. Map it all out and make space in your diary to enjoy it all.
Take into consideration the build up and the wind down. This prevents the intensity being put all in one day. There can be many small events to look forward to so that the whole festive period feels really exciting.
Minimal gifts - be proactive about gifts and ask for what you would truly like to receive. Ask friends and family to buy gifts for your children that will actually be played with and add meaning to their life.
Declutter - Sell things that have been unused in your home. Decluttering your home and making room for new purchases to be bought in.
Discussions with family members to set expectations! Be really clear about setting dates in advance. Agree times, how long the children can cope for and who will bring what foods/drinks, don't put all of the responsibility on yourself.
Learn to say NO! Prioritise who you really want to see and say no to other invites.
Most importantly take the time YOU need to connect with those most important to you. For my partner and I we like to spend the morning of Christmas until 12ish just as our little family, joining with our larger family for lunch and play time in the afternoon, do what suits you and what makes you happy.
Only spend what you can afford. Christmas is not all about gifts or getting into debt. Remember the religious reasons for the day too and spend some time reflecting, even if you are not religious, about community and connection and things bigger and more important than gifts.
Hope these ideas help you to create the calm and enjoyable time with family that you deserve.
I would love to hear about how you create a calm Christmassy period.