The holiday season can bring out the best and worst in people. It’s the most wonderful and stressful time of the year and for some people, it’s just plain hard.
Other times you’re so busy baking, planning, shopping, decorating and so on that you forget to even too enjoy the holiday season and before you know it, the season is over.
Whatever your crutch this year, I’ve compiled my best tips to help you enjoy a simpler Christmas this year.
How to enjoy a simpler Christmas:
Practice mindful breathing
This is a great way to handle any negative emotions or stress around the holiday season. Start by taking 10 deep breaths. Breathe in for 5 counts and out for another 5.
This is a great way to measure how deep your breath is. While doing your deep breaths, focus on one thing that you’re grateful for. This can have a really calming effect on our moods and help put things into perspective.
It’s time to take a step out of ourselves and focus on the people around us. That’s what the holidays are for after all. But really pay attention to not just those in your circle but people on the street too. It’s true that you never know what other people are going through and the holidays can be a tough time for some or just plain stressful.
Be conscious of how you’re actions reflect those around you and just be kind. Go the extra mile for a stranger, help your grandma in the kitchen. Do what you can for others. It’ll warm your heart and theirs, trust me.
Learn to say “no”
This is a good habit to have during the whole year but can be particularity helpful during the holidays. So many parties and gatherings and tasks to do is what can lead to the majority of holiday stress. Make it a goal to listen to your body and emotions and know when you need a break.
If you would rather stay in and watch a Hallmark movie, then feel free to say no to that outing. If someone asks you if you can bring a dish but you know you won’t have time or the energy to prepare it, say no. If you can’t take care of yourself you’re going to have a lousy holiday.
Set boundaries and make them clear
Similar to learning how to say no, you need to set your boundaries early and make them clear to your loved ones. Let them know in advance that big parties aren’t for you and you won’t be attending or let them know you don’t want gifts. Whatever you decide.
Set your boundaries, make them clear to your family and friends (the earlier the better) and stick to them. This helps ensure you create the Christmas you want.
The holidays are prime time to stuff our faces, and while I’m all for indulging a little bit, it’s easy to go overboard. Practice sitting down when you eat, chewing a bite thoroughly before taking another. Slow down and enjoy the food you’re eating. That way you’ll know when you’re full and you can practice tip number 3 by saying “no” to more food.
Starting with black Friday to Boxing Day, the holidays are all about spending money and things. This is an incredibly dangerous thing because I have definitely been sucked into the black hole of deals that is black Friday. More often than not we buy things we don’t need and we end up having too much stuff or just throwing it away.
The holidays should not be about things but about people. This can reflect in your gift-giving this holiday season. Not only for the people you are shopping for but also for the people who made these gifts. You can check out my ethical gift guide here and my zero waste gift ideas here.
I don’t know about you but growing up I absolutely LOVED getting gifts. (And as I’ve talked about before this definitely led to my over-consumption of…everything?) But as I get older and have realigned my lifestyle, the last thing I want is more stuff.
The things I want and the things I need are now one and the same. When I used to hate getting things I needed instead of things I wanted, they’re now in the same category! I don’t want useless gifts. I want things that can be put to use and that I can use in my daily life in the future.
Let family and friends know that you don’t want gifts, only want meaningful gifts or things you need. This will help keep the clutter to a minimum instead of receiving a load of gifts that will just collect dust.
Alternatively, you could ask for an experience from a friend. Suggest a night out or a day to a spa instead of something that goes under the tree. Another idea I love is asking friends to make a donation to one of your favorite charities on your behalf.
Don’t spend what you don’t have
Christmas: a celebration of Jesus’ birth or the time of year where everyone goes bankrupt? This year, set a budget, not just for yourself but with your friends and family. That way there is no competition on who spent the most and you can enjoy giving without worrying about your next credit card bill.
Keep decorations minimal
Presents aren’t the only thing that makes the holidays feel cluttered. If putting up and taking down your decorations is overwhelming, it may be time to minimalize it. It’ll help keep your mind and spirit at ease all season long.
Those are just a few of my tips on how I practice having a simpler Christmas. Remember, it is the most wonderful time of the year after all. I challenge you to slow down, find the meaning of the season and actually enjoy it.
Don’t get caught up in the spending, the decorations, and the parties.
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