The Christmas adverts are on TV, family are asking what the kids want from Santa this year, and my diary is already bursting.
There’s no denying that Christmas can be chaos. There’s the never-ending to-do list, flurry of people to see and pile of presents to wrap, and then put away!
As well as the excitement, fun, joy and festivities, there are many other feelings that can come up - pressure, expectations, guilt, regret, grief, sadness, overwhelm, worry.
Perhaps it’s time to take a different approach to the festive season? Don’t let your merry and bright mood turn into anxiety. Try these ideas for a more Conscious Christmas that feels good to you.
How can I have a more Conscious Christmas?
Here are some ideas :
1. Get clear on what a Christmas that feels good to you entails. Where are you, who are you with (or not with), what are you doing, what does the festive break consist of, what does your Christmas day look and feel like, what kind of gifts do you want to give and receive, how will you spend your days? Use this as a guide. You don't have to do what you've always done.
2. Say no! Give yourself permission to say no to anything that will leave you overcommitted, make you feel stressed, anxious or steal your joy.
Saying yes and doing absolutely everything leaves us feeling over-committed, stressed out and harbouring resentment. Remember my blog about boundaries? This will help you with them.
Write down all the things you have coming up soon, or that you have been asked to do, and ask yourself the following questions:
1) Do I really in my heart of hearts want to do this?
2) Does it align with my goals and values?
3) Will I feel good doing this?
4) Am I doing this for me?
If the no’s outweigh the yes’s, politely decline or take a rain check if it's something you've already said yes to.
3. Get your diary up to date and book in some free time where you can decide on the day, or just do nothing and rest! I noticed our December filling up fast so I’ve blocked out a full weekend just for us four (my husband and our two kids) so we can spend some quality time together and do whatever we please. We try to keep most Sundays free all year round where we can. If you need some time alone to recharge, do it.
4. Comparisonitis can rear its head at this time of year! You may get a feeling of inadequacy or a pressure to keep up with that mum you see on Instagram who takes her kids to see the best Santa, the biggest Christmas lights & spends a small fortune on Christmas pressies, or the mum who is at home with her kids all holiday baking and crafting (no shade if you do any of this, these are just examples :) ).
Unfollow anyone on social media who makes you feel crap, and think about what kind of Christmas you do want to create. There’s millions of ways to make Christmas special. Pick the ones that feel best for you and your family, and in the words of Stevie Nicks, go your own way!
5. If you’d like to spend or consume less this year, look at ways you can cut back. Some ideas to help with this are:
Making and sending thoughtful handmade gifts – I love doing this and they’re always really well received. In the past I’ve made soaps, candles, gingerbread, fudge, sloe gin, jam and chutney
Gift an experience so you can make memories with loved ones. We’re bursting with toys at our house, the kids are super lucky and don’t really need anything so my mum has booked tickets for a show next year and I’m really looking forward to spending some quality time together. My friend and I get each other a voucher so we can enjoy a nice meal in the new year
My mum-in-law has decided to set a spending limit that’s more reasonable this year. We were really glad she did as it's prompted us to cut back too. I think spending less makes you think more about what to buy
Do a secret Santa with family – we do this on my mum’s side of the family with a £60 limit. We each share some ideas of what we’d like or ask for a surprise, and our secret Santa delivers the goods. It means we’re only buying one decent present each and we know the person wants it. Instead of spending a fortune on 20 little presents and guessing what people want (and lets face it, probably don’t want and will end up sat in a cupboard or taken to the charity shop).
A lovely idea my friend introduced me to is Want, Need, Wear, Read where parents opt to buy their children four presents that they (you guessed it) want, need, will wear and will read.
When you are buying pressies, can you buy from local or independent businesses? Small business owners really do a happy dance with every purchase. Chances are there’s less miles involved when buying local/indie. There's lots of gift fairs and local makers markets on.
6. Be more eco-conscious – use tissue paper to wrap gifts or check your wrapping paper is recyclable. You can buy biodegradable sellotape or use stickers instead. You can’t beat brown kraft paper with string and a little sprig of foliage in my opinion. Get the kids involved by stamping and adding stickers.
7. Get outside! It’s no secret that spending time connecting with nature helps us feel good. Go on a mindful walk, collect some natural decorations, maybe even make a wreath.
8. Set intentions and put in place boundaries to help you stick to them. Some ideas are:
only spending what you can comfortably afford – nobody wants you getting into debt just so you can buy them presents or provide a certain level of experience for them
not using credit cards (hands up, I always end up buying secret presents that my husband doesn’t know about on my credit card! I’m trying not to do that this year)
have a drinking limit, or not drinking at some occasions
build in some time for rest, movement, exercise or being outside
Remember, you and your family deserve a joyful Christmas that feels really good to you, so be clear in your mind about what you want. Communicate with others and announce any potentially awkward or disappointing news as soon as you can. Whilst it's the season of goodwill, it's also helpful to be a bit selfish too!
*Reminder - come along to one of my Festive Wellbeing Events to take time out for yourself, find peace, calm, relaxation and learn how to:
Have a Christmas that feels good to you
Look after yourself during this busy time
Be mindful and present