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December is finally here, and that means we are in the lead up to what is sometimes called the “silly season” because of all the parties and other social engagements, and everything that goes along with it. It can be overwhelming – so why not make a conscious decision this year to not get caught up in it?
Instead, try embracing a slow Christmas. How? Well, that’s up to you, but I suggest starting out by asking yourself what your ideal December/Christmas season looks like. Write it down or create a mood board with your family. Then, figure out what needs to happen in order to achieve it.
Would you prefer a holiday season with more family time and less time spent at parties and gatherings? Would you like to spend more of your time and resources on the people you care about? Practice saying no – to parties, to invitations, to gift exchanges. Say yes only where it matters to you.
When it comes to decorations, it’s also easy to get carried away. So many holiday decorations are plastic and glittery and shiny and overall non-sustainable. Why not decorate with items found in nature, instead? Pinecones, driftwood, natural greenery – these all make wonderful decorations. You can make an outing out of it with the kids or the whole family – who can find the best Christmas decorations on a nature walk?
When you do give gifts, think about alternate gift-giving experiences, like homemade items, or donations on behalf of the recipient. For example, many people will appreciate a donation in their name to an organisation that means something to them far more than a disposable knickknack. This helps limit all the shipping madness too – the conspicuous consumption that becomes even more excessive during the holidays.
Keep this in mind when it comes to gift-giving for children, too. No, your five-year-old might not find a charitable donation in their name to be the best gift ever, but there are other ways to keep gift giving for children sustainable and simple. Remember these keys for kids: Want, need, wear, read. The idea here is that you only give four gifts to each child: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. No matter what their age, you can get children thinking about these four things. It sets the stage for a simple Christmas for years to come.
Meals can also get over-large and overwhelming during the holiday season. Days of preparation go into a meal that is eaten in 20 minutes, and then takes two hours to clean up, leaving leftovers for a week. This doesn’t even take into account the cookies and candy and other goodies that are inevitable during the season. You can’t control everything, but you can control the meals you create. Keep them simple and keep them shared among your family. It cuts down on waste, time, and clean-up, and makes it more enjoyable for everyone. If you’ve never tried it before, make this the year for a slow Christmas. You may find it’s the best one of your life.
Written by Marnie Prowse of Tiny HausBio: Marnie is a slow-life advocate and the founder of Tiny Haus Lifestyle. She lives, works, plays and entertains in a ‘tiny house’, and when she’s not coaching clients towards a simpler more contented lifestyle, she’s sharing her practical wisdom with the likes of us and her own audience at tinyhaus.com.au.
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