In this Pinterest-worthy world we live in it’s so easy to get caught up in what we should or could be doing.
Make your own wreath. Design your own holiday card. Hand-letter on a chalkboard to hang in the kitchen with the day’s menu.
To be honest, I just want to sit with my feet up by a fire drinking fancy DIY coffee drinks, or at least hot tea.
I’m not alone.
Just like all the rest of the year, I like to enjoy a slow holiday season. Savoring the best time of the year, as my children would call it, means everything to me.
In year’s past, I have taken the time to write a little note to myself every year this time to remind me of what worked last year and what did not. That simple email is something that has truly saved me over time.
It reminds me to slow down and focus on just the essentials of the season — cozy family time, handmade gifts and lots of music and movies.
Still, it’s easy to get sidetracked and caught up in the frenzy. I wanted to create a A Simple Guide for Enjoying the Holidays. A tiny reminder about what to keep at the forefront for any special day in our life.
And thanks to some friends I’ve found some great resources to add to the list of ideas as well.
Letting Go of the Frantic
What does enjoying the holidays really mean for you?
For me it means savoring the magic of the season with all of my attention and senses.
It does NOT mean feeling frantic.
Frantic simply means running around — even at home — feeling like we have to be accomplishing some task.
Frantic is a mindset more than it is a physical reaction.
It creates anxiety and anger.
And it’s counter-productive to living the Abundant Mama Way, which is to slow down and savor each moment.
This really should be our motto every single day but I know that anyone with children just may always feel frantic, especially if our kids are high energy anyway. However, adopting a No Frantic mindset for the holiday is a great message to send yourself and your family members.
Keep the stress at bay by writing down all of your ideas and putting them on a schedule that includes lots of space and downtime. This is a great way to find out that your ideas are way bigger than your available time slots.
For more ideas on slowing down, get your copy of Savoring Slow and start implementing the 12 habits now.
Focus on Giving and Doing
When out shopping, and during conversations, keep the conversation around what you will make or give to — and do for — others. When we choose to think about others for the holidays we are teaching ourselves and our children to value our relationships more than things.
Asking questions like: What would Nana like for a present this year? What can we make for the neighbors? Does your teacher like chocolate? Who are we forgetting and need to make something for?
When we place a huge value on the kindness of others it turns the season around and reminds us about the magic we all carry inside to be the gift givers of the world.
Even if the gifts are sloppily made cookies and imperfect cupcakes.
And the focus on doing is less about doing too much and more about doing just the right things that puts experiences over things. When we say yes to doing, we say yes to memories that last a lifetime.
Challenge Your Expectations
When we choose to embrace enjoying the holidays we often forget how to do that because we get caught up in the frenzy of an idealized celebration.
So often, the stress we feel is really self-induced.
Challenging our expectations is something we’re always working on in the Abundant Mama Way program.
The thing about modern mothers that makes us amazing is all that cool stuff we get to do with our kids that past generations never even thought to do.
And the thing about modern mothers that makes us all crazy is all that cool stuff we get to do with our kids that past generations never HAD to do.
As you approach the holidays — or any special day such as a birthday — embrace uncertainty and the imperfect and, by all means, lower your own expectations for how things should turn out.
In other words, be OK with surprises and going with the flow.
What others say about simple holidays
“Have you hopped on Pinterest lately? It’s a feast for the eyes and the imagination! You’ll instantly be reminded that it’s Christmastime when you see loads and loads of pins with an abundance of ideas — 42 New Traditions to Make Christmas Magical, 239 Ways to Position Your Christmas Elf, 96 Christmas Songs to Download Now, and 63 New Cookie Recipes You Can’t Live Without. So many great resources! I have to admit I love being able to hop on and find new inspiration with just a few keystrokes.
But perhaps the real brilliance is not in finding all the best new stuff to do this Christmas, but in choosing what NOT to do.
Amanda at Not Just Cute in 147 Things You Don’t Need to Do During the Holidays
“I like to define “Christmas Guilt” as that feeling you get when you feel pressured to buy, get bigger, and want more for the sake of “being in the Christmas Spirit”. I’ve noticed an increasing number of people that state they want Christmas to be simple. They vow it’s not about presents. They turn their focus on helping others and being thankful for the things they have.
I truly believe the feeling is genuine.
However, something happens as the calendar winds closer to the 25th. Those same people (including myself) begin to worry that maybe they haven’t done “enough” for Christmas.
The “Christmas Guilt” sets in.”
Dayna writes over at Lemon Lime Adventures in Avoiding Christmas Guilt
“We spend a month (or more) getting ready for Christmas, and then on Christmas morning it’s rampant CHAOS with wrapping paper flying and towers of empty cardboard boxes piled higher than the Christmas tree.
And that one present? The one you were so looking forward to your little one opening so you could see the look on her face? Because you knew she’d just LOVE it?
In the moment, she was so overwhelmed with the flurry of presents that she could barely process what the present WAS, let alone give you that thousand-watt smile of pure joy you’d pictured in your head.
Instead, the look on her face was a bit…zombie-like.”
Kelly at The (Reformed) Idealist Mom in A Quick Way to Help Kids Be Grateful this Christmas (printable)