A Calm Christmas? Say WHAAA?!
I admit it. I’m right there with you.
At first glance, the notion of creating and enjoying a calm Christmas may feel unrealistic, unobtainable and simply put, out of reach. I get it. I really do.
I often struggle with existing in more chaos than calm. Can I get an “Amen?!” Are you with me?
I also know, like deep, deep “know” on the cellular and soul level know, that when we honor the process of slowing down and establish a pace that feels more like a calm, soothing cadence, our body, our mind and our families will all mirror that peace back to us.
Let’s keep it real, right now. This is NOT about perfection. This is not an “all or nothing.” Let’s focus on what you can do. Even the smallest intentional moments can achieve a deep sense of restoration. Let this be light. Let this be easy. You DO get to decide.
For so much of my life, I didn’t realize that I actually get to CHOOSE how to respond to the rushed and intensely dictated pace that so often comes along with the holiday season. Marathoning from one place to the next, juggling calendar invites and crowded shopping malls, can leave our bodies in a constant state of “fight or flight.”
Beyond the overwhelming sense of exhaustion and burnout, this frenzied pace opens the door for whatever funk is floating around to walk right in and wreak havoc on ourselves and our families. I’ve traversed more than a few uncomfortable seasons of mandatory rest that took my whole family down with me. Holiday stress is the worst. Unless you’re all sick too. That’s next level breakdown in the spirit of the season.
My own childhood is chock full of frenzied memories that left a lasting impact on my perception of the holiday season. Preparing our house for Christmas Event guests was more frenetic intensity and pressure, on a wild goose chase for perfection, than it was a spirit-filled fellowship of grace and simple celebration among loved ones. Thankfully, we were able to transition beyond the “freak out” and embrace joy as my sweet grandparents walked through the front door with trash bags of goodies for my cousins. I wonder if we would have felt any less joy if the house hadn’t been as spotless, with every twig of mistletoe perfectly in position?
After falling into this natural rhythm of frenzy for many seasons with my own family, I made the decision to usher calm and peace into our lives and home as much as possible. This declaration and conscious slowing down to be more fully present took more than a little moxie, especially with the rest of the world still buying into the chaos. It can be done, and it will be worth it.
Here are three areas of focus that will help you re-prioritize the simple pleasures that will align the spirit of the season with your desire to live a slower life on purpose.
Regular Check Ins with Self
What do you and your family need most right now? It’s time to let go of the outside “commitments” so that you and your family can focus in. If you need to say “no” and rearrange plans to preserve your family’s well-being, do it. Without guilt. Let’s trade the FOMO (fear of missing out) for JOMO (joy of missing out).
Overextending ourselves and our families results in a general sense of autopilot that causes us to participate at the most basic level. Simply put, we don’t even enjoy ourselves when we go out. We wander around in a fog. Be intentional and participate when and where you can be fully present with genuine excitement.
Take a little space to dream. Visualize and create the experiences with yourself and your loved ones that will consciously choose to imprint the positive energy you deserve and crave. You CAN do that.
When I hit “pause” and take a moment to wrap my kids (yes, even my 12 year old) in a soft, warm blanket to hold them close, we are both immediately infused with love, snapped back into the moment of simply being present with each other.
This also releases the “love hormone” and re-establishes connection. I do my best to incorporate different techniques of physical touch and affection into our daily living so that my sensory kids are constantly reminded that they are loved and prioritized.
Embrace the White Space
I bet your children are just like mine - super, active minds that crave constant stimulation (translation: screen time). It’s THE realllllll struggle of our generation, isn’t it? We’re all in this together. I certainly don’t have this all figured out. ;)
My best case scenario looks like this...time off around the holidays is full of opportunities to cuddle up, rest together with space to talk, be silly and dream up future adventures. Honestly, I’m craving a little boredom.
Have you noticed we rarely GET to be bored anymore? We see white space coming from a mile away and our knee jerk reaction is to reach for our devices. (Side bar: This is one of the reasons I champion yoga classes as a must-have for peace and presence. Where else can you find a room full of people embracing quiet with themselves among others without a phone in their face?)
I believe that being bored is CRUCIAL. It’s an important opportunity to sit and process our thoughts. Even though many of us may routinely reach for our tvs and phones when it comes time to relax, we’re actually “relaxing” in an atmosphere of high stimulation.
Take a chance and cuddle up with your kids. Breathe and stare. No devices. Admittedly, it will take practice. Don’t set expectations on your time, especially with your children involved. It may last only a few minutes (or in my case, 30 seconds with my son). Be present when and where it happens for as long as it happens.
Encouraging this “white space” to tune out and process life is underestimated currency these days. Let’s show the kids what it looks like to pause, appreciate and repeat often.
We are always holding SO much together, especially during this time of year. Give yourself permission to show fierce compassion. To YOURSELF. Ditch the perfectionism and let go of the self-imposed expectation. Savor the simplicity and warmth of tranquil moments together with the ones you love. Breathe.
To help you put these ideas into action I created an awesome guide just for you!