All is calm, all is bright

Do you ever really listen to the words traditional Christmas songs like Silent Night? “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright..” It sounds wonderful, but not a thing like the Christmas season, which is a little more Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (by the way.. how terrible is that song?!).

In the past few years, our family has tried to make changes in the direction of calm & bright. Last year and the year before, we did handmade gifts, which was really fun for those years, and this year, I felt like I had really maxed out my creativity and it was causing more stress to make every gift. This year I identified 5 steps to a more joyful and peaceful Christmas.

5 steps to a more joyful & peaceful Christmas

ONE/Gifts. They can be handmade, or store bought. Whatever makes your stress level next to nothing, as long as they are given with love, they are right.

TWO/Budget. I am really passionate about this one. If you aren’t doing this already, try a cash only Christmas. Start in January, setting a little bit aside each month in a Christmas fund, or build Christmas expenses into your December budget. Either way, no credit cards. I think most people you buy gifts for would rather a smaller gift (or a nice note!) than have you go into debt to give them something amazing that you really can’t afford. Gift within your means.

THREE/Decor. Keep it simple! Some of my favorite decorations are the simplest – family heirlooms like my grandfather’s model trains and great-grandmother’s copper molds, a rosemary tree, and candles. The absolute best new thing we did this year, was to do a major declutter and purge before bringing out the Christmas decorations – we donated and packed away almost all of the boy’s toys that were in the living room. It has been wonderful and much easier to tidy up.

FOUR/Tradition.  I think traditions and rituals are one of the sweetest gifts I can give my children, so we’ve been trying to focus on experiences more than anything else this year. We’ve had a few nights in with Christmas cookies and hot cocoa watching some of our favorite Christmas movies, gone to Zoo Lights, attended the Winter Faire at Reid’s school, and I have plans to see the Nutcracker with Reid in a week. Some of these things are traditions from our childhoods, and some are new to us.

FIVE/Breathe. Be kind to yourself and take time to recharge, no matter what that looks like – wine with the girls, a dinner date, yoga, daily quiet time, or reading a book with a big mug of tea (or all of the above). Let yourself off the hook when it comes to doing it all. Do some well, let the rest go.

Wishing you a calm & bright Christmas.

 

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