Present buying, parties, organising a family get-together, decorating, card writing – phew, I’m exhausted just typing this stuff! I’ve also found that I’m actually busier before the holiday season since I started blogging, so when things are this crazy it’s time to simplify, but is that even possible? Can Christmas be simplified?
Simplification absolutely is possible, but only if you’re willing to be open mind about your projects and have a willingness to introduce change.
If you really want to simplify your Christmas? Ask yourself these 5 questions
1) What am I aiming to achieve? We all strive to achieve something in life: a better job, a new home, more money, happiness, financial freedom, the perfect Christmas – there will always be something. Sometimes we can be completely unaware of how hard we work to try to achieve our something. So take some time to think: think about what you’re striving to achieve. Is it stressing you out? Has it been filling your mind or your life? Do you push aside other, more important things in your life in favour of working on your goal? Having a goal is important, but is your goal the right goal? Is it a Pinterest inspired fantasy? Is it really important? Could you be happy right now without the thing you’re striving for if you accept that Christmas doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’? Could you accept that a Christmas filled with the love of family and friends it actually pretty bloody perfect? If you can then you will have achieved what you are aiming for, because you already have perfection!
2) Can I accept my own limits? Imagine that your life is a plate, now pile 20, 30, 40 or even 50 items of food onto it. Will you really be able to eat it all? Will you have the time to eat it all? Even if you can eat it all, how soon before you begin to feel ill? What if I told you that you are only allowed to choose 6 items of food? Sure, you’d have to think more carefully about your choices, but you would also enjoy each piece of food more thoroughly. Look at every area of your Christmas fantasy life, really think about each area and set limits for each one: limit how many Christmas parties you say yes to, limit your email and social media time, limit the courses you serve for Christmas dinner, limit the amount of presents you purchase by budgeting. Force yourself to choose, and only adjust the limits you have set yourself if absolutely necessary!
3) Am I holding on to things? We all want to hold on to the things in our lives: Christmas traditions, chocolate, over-eating, that Christmas drink, the turkey dinner, a festive get-together. Some things we cling to not out of a desperate love for them, more out of our desire for things to be ‘right’. Letting go isn’t easy because if something is in our lives that means we’ve already said yes. We have already decided that this ‘thing’ is important enough to be in our lives. Spend some time to reflect on the things you don’t want to let go of. Are they really that important? Or are they just a reflection of your unwillingness to let go of how things are, or how you want them to be? For instance: you may very well find that buying a ready cooked turkey does not ‘spoil’ Christmas, rather it gives you more time to enjoy it.
4) Who do I really want to spend time with? One of the best, and sometimes most stressful parts of the holiday season is spending time with friends and family. People who generally do not mix in social situation are thrust together, and it’s at the very time of year when there is enormous pressure to all get along with everyone. What if, out of maybe dozens of people who want to spend time with you, you are only allowed to choose a handful of people to spend the holiday season with? Who might that be? Prioritise your holiday time, limit the time you spend turning your dining room into Santa’s grotto and spend that time with the people who mean the most to you. Spending time with the people you can’t get enough of takes the sting out of sharing a part of your holiday season with the people you would rather avoid (and we all have them in our lives).
5) What one, small, achievable thing will make me happy? If you’ve read my guide to a stress free Christmas you will know that I bang on about making lists then pruning the hell out of them. But is there one thing on that list, or one thing that’s on your mind that by doing/achieving will make you happy? I’m not talking about the answer to the meaning of life happy, but putting a smile on your face and lighting up you day happy. If there is then go for it! As long as it’s not, “I want the perfect Christmas, and I’m going to allow myself to be half dead by Christmas Eve in order to achieve it.” The key word is achievable!
In order to simplify Christmas, you have to ask yourself these tough questions. It takes a minute or two to reflect on each question, but it’s totally worth the time investment. Take the time to reflect and have a very happy, simplified Christmas.