Slow living is a lot about living more intentional. To value the simple things in life and to steer away from the work more-earn more-buy more merry-go-round. Christmas is, for many, a holiday where more is more and it’s a competition of who got the best/most expensive/the most Christmas gifts, who had the biggest Christmas tree, the most trendy decorations, most outdoor decorations, most food. Who baked the most, who was done with all the preparations first. It never ends.
I love Christmas. It’s probably my favorite time of the year. But I really don’t like the stress, materialism and consumerism that it’s so much about these days. Since K and I started to celebrate Christmas together, and created our own traditions, we decided that Christmas should be slow and not about stuff, but rather about food we love and just being together. We give Christmas gifts, but we’ve decided that the price is not important. What matters is if the other one wants or needs the gift or not. If one of us needs socks, it would be a great gift since it’s something that’s needed anyway. Boring to some perhaps, but we want to avoid buying expensive things for the sake of doing it. We’ve had this approach for years now, and we don’t plan to change it.
We also have a one gift-policy, which means that we give one gift each, and that’s it. That includes Adam and William too. They get one gift from us, nothing more. We love to spoil them rotten, but we don’t want to do it with stuff. To us, it’s much more important that they get memories of being loved, being happy and having their family around for Christmas. We want to show them that that is what’s important, not how many toys you get under the tree. Of course, we also want them to appreciate what they get, not just throw it to the side and tear open the next gift. Since they’ll also get gifts from others, they’ll end up with a few gifts on Christmas Eve anyway, which makes the one-gift-rule even more important.
When it comes to food, we love to have a Christmas buffet with a few carefully selected things that we love (mindful eating). We cook as much as we know we will eat and make sure that nothing goes to waste. We don’t serve anything just because it’s tradition to do so. We serve food we like, be it a traditional dish or some new thing we want to try out. We add and remove dishes every year. Some we make every year, others show up just to disappear again.
The same goes with Christmas candy. We bake a few things, and make a couple of different sorts of candy and that’s it. We don’t buy tonnes of candy in the store and eat until we feel sick. We decide on a few things we love, bake them from scratch and eat them over the Christmas days. Nothing more, nothing less. This year we’ve decided to make even less than we usually do.
I guess our traditions can sound boring to some, but this is how we like it. It feels good knowing that the gifts we give will be appreciated, that we don’t contribute to climate change by buying lots of gifts and new Christmas decorations, that no food will be thrown away because we made too much, or things that no one really likes but ”has to be there because of tradition”. And I want to make it very clear that we don’t feel like we’re giving anything up. We value the time spent together with loved ones the most. Getting together, eating good food and having a good time is all we need for a lovely Christmas.
If you want to celebrate a slow(er) Christmas, here are my best tips:
- You come a long way with candles, some flowers and wreaths. You don’t need a neon colored Santa shining in your garden. Your neighbor might have ten, but that does not mean that your garden has to look the same.
- Focus on what you and your family like. What’s important to you? Learn to see the difference between what you like and what you think you should do. It’s not about pleasing others. It’s about you and your loved ones. What you see on social media is not important, you don’t have to do everything everyone else is doing. You do you.
- Cut down on the gifts. No kid (or adult) needs 20 gifts.
- No, you don’t need a new Christmas outfit.
- Cook less food. No one wants to eat Christmas food for 4 days anyway.
- If you are celebrating with others, everyone can bring something. Everyone can cook or bake something to bring.
- With less decorations, food, bakes and Christmas gifts you’ll have more time for other things, like playing with your kids, read, talk, and be outside.
- Don’t compare. Remember that the snippets you see on social media is just moments from someone’s life. Don’t compare your life with someone else’s. Log out from social media if you need to. You don’t need new Christmas decorations just because someone you follow on Instagram just bought new stuff.
- Be thankful.
- Put away your phone. Be present, take in the smells of Christmas, enjoy the company of others and just be yourself.
Merry Christmas! <3