‘It’s the most busy time of the year’.
‘There is work still to finish’
‘Presents are looking quite thinnish, but never fear!!’
‘Cos parties and pantos and parties all bring us cheer’
‘‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’
When I think back to my happy Christmas memories as a child I recall the events and occasions more than presents. Whether it was going to London to see the lights and visit Father Christmas at Hamleys, trips to the Ballet, Pantomimes, Carol Services and Festive dinners with friends and family. I also remember sitting by the fire, getting excited to welcome Grandma and Grandad coming to stay, watching Christmas TV, and playing with new toys.
I am sure there was stress, and tiredness from my parents, and fights amongst family members, but I certainly don’t recall any of it being less than perfect. My family were together, we ate, sang, played games, and as we got older drank in the pub together. We were present, and engaged in life, no phones, Facebook or email to distract us.
Now as a mother, I am trying to focus on the traditions that will make Christmas special for my children, but not put too much stress on myself, yet someone has to fill the stockings, do the baking, decorating, and shopping, and if I didn’t have some plan of activities and traditions then it certainly wouldn’t be a Christmas I would enjoy.
In an effort to maintain the balance between simplicity, and recapturing the spirit of Peace on Earth this Christmas, I am trying to do less. This is my 2015 Christmas plan of attack;
1. Remember to Play
This is the time to put down all devices, and spend face to face time together. Pull out the board games, deck of cards and enjoy the new gifts and games to play (for us it will be lots of ball games on the beach, and in the pool). Forget about uploading the moments to Instagram or Facebook. Soak up the beauty that is with you in that moment.
“Nothing lights up the brain like play,”
Says researcher Stuart Brown, and it’s worth watching his TED Talk on the topic.
2. Communicate beforehand
Sit down and ask one another - what is it that you love about Christmas, select just one or two traditions and make them happen. Then draw up a list of all the presents, shopping, food preparation that needs to be done and allocate who is doing what. Don’t leave it all up to one person.
3. Once that is done allow yourself time to rest.
In an age we are constantly multi-tasking, it is very hard for us to just do nothing, make sure this Christmas time you factor in some nothing time (some time for tea), time to appreciate the ordinary, the fun in simply things. It is ok to feel unproductive, our brains aren’t designed to go nonstop. When we cut out the need to be doing, ideas will pop up, we give ourselves time to rest. If you have a faith make time to worship and devote to prayer. Take this time to meditate, or go for a walk, take a moments peace.
4. Christmas is about generosity,
In kindness not just through presents. You may have come across the 5 love languages, these are a great reminder of how we are all different. We give and receive in love in different ways. Who are you spending Christmas with this year? How can you show your love for them over this period?
Words of affirmation
My husband is very good at this, he will often say to me “thanks for getting the kids dinner” or “thanks for arranging the Christmas activities for the kids”. It is lovely to be recognised and appreciated, rather than feel taken for granted. What can you notice, and say thank you for this next week?
Undivided attention, turn the TV off, put your phone down and listen / interact with those you love, simply 20 minutes can make huge impact in your spouse / child’s feeling of self-worth.
A friend has just had twins and simply picking them up for a cuddle means the world to them, they feel loved. Simply holding hands, giving a hug to friends and family is very important, and as is finding the time for intimacy with your partner over Christmas period.
Its doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, its the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift that matters. Simply some flowers from the garden or a photo framed will mean the world too someone whose primary love language is receiving gifts.
“Let me do that for you”
Whether its cooking, bathing the kids, getting the shopping. What chores can you support with over Christmas