It's all too easy to let Christmas pass you by without truly enjoying and appreciating its magic. Everything leads up to that one special day, and then, within the blink of an eye, it's gone, vanished until next year.
I remember when my children were young, I exhausted myself trying to create the perfect Christmas., There a so much to do, food shopping, present buying, present wrapping, writing Christmas cards, putting up decorations; the list was endless. I felt it was my job to make Christmas perfect for everyone else and in the process, I neglected myself.
Nobody made me do this; it was a pressure I put upon myself. I don’t think my children would have noticed if the turkey hadn’t been stuffed with the latest top chef’s stuffing recipe or whether the mince pies had been home-made or shop bought!
Today I still want to create the wonderful Christmas for my family, but I am more realistic and accept that it doesn’t have to be perfect. I still put effort into creating a fun Christmas but I now enjoy the process of doing this. I pay more attention to each activity and what doesn’t get done won’t matter.
A few years ago I mislaid my address book so couldn’t send any Christmas cards. For a brief moment I thought how terrible this was and what would people think if they didn’t receive a card from me. For a brief moment I considered calling everyone on my Christmas card list whose numbers were in my phone to ask for their addresses. Instead I didn’t send any cards! Guess what? Nothing terrible happened. Christmas came and went, life carried on and the world didn’t notice that cards weren't sent from the Quinton Smiths!
Christmas starts with battling through the seasonal crowds and keeps going to the New Year hangover. We need to pace ourselves. When you go shopping, take breaks. Sit in a café and follow your breath, regardless of what’s going on around you.
Check Your Expectations
So much stress comes from the idea that everyone should be happy and get on well. But things are as they are: children can get hyper and temperamental; family tensions can come out; old patterns can resurface. Allowing ourselves to experience any feelings of disappointment and frustrations when they arise, can help us find a more creative response.
Look After Yourself
For some people Christmas is a lonely time, and it can bring back painful memories of people you’ve lost. If that’s your experience, make it a time to take care of yourself. Give yourself the space and kindness you need.
Enjoy Yourself (within reason!)
It’s easy to do too much of everything at Christmas: eating, drinking and being entertained. The downside is feeling tired and bloated, regretting the weight you’re gaining, and spending too much money. So take a mindful breath, appreciate the simple things and stop when you need to.
Take Time Out
At family gatherings and celebrations things like meditation are easily pushed out, especially when children are around. So try to maintain your practice and take breathing spaces. Reflect that staying in a better state helps you to respond better to others.
This Christmas be mindful as much as you can and don’t let unhelpful thoughts get in the way.
One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day.
Don’t clean it up too quickly.
Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of a child they are all 30 foot tall!