I love Christmas; the sounds, the smells (baked goods and pine might be two scents that I’d love to keep in a jar all year long), the cozy feeling that comes from decorating the house and, of course, the traditions that we’ve formed over the years.
What I have realized though is that you can totally get caught up in the commercialism and the FOMO that goes along with it too and this might be the first year I’ve felt very overwhelmed by the “To dos” and started to not enjoy some elements of this holiday. So, instead of getting frustrated, instead of dreading the “to dos” or worrying that we might be “missing out” on something, I am making a conscious effort to remind myself of what’s important to us at this time of year and try my best to forget the rest.
Today I decided, after another difficult go at Christmas shopping with a baby, that I am going to focus on the things I can do and love to do at this time of year and I am going to be completely honest, I didn’t think it would make a difference in how I felt, but I actually worked. I think that small Christmas rut that I was getting in because I wasn’t doing enough might actually be done now.
So I am sharing what I decided to focus on in order to find JOY in the season again
Make the Time to Slow Down
Yes, the holidays can feel rushed, we have gifts to buy, parties to attend, dinners to host … and the list goes on. This can all get a little blurry if we don’t give ourselves the chance to slow down and enjoy things. Plan a weekend or even just a day to slowdown (in the midst of the chaos) and it will bring a little magic back to the holidays because in the end that’s when the magic happens anyways. They will forget that amazing toy that took you forever to find and they will forget the perfect outfits they wore for the Christmas photos but they will remember the small moments, the time you spent with them baking cookies for Santa.
Forget Pinterest Perfect and Do You!
I remember how much I enjoyed decorating our first house, “Pre-Pinterest” (well technically Pinterest and Instagram existed) but they didn’t have that much of an impact on my choices at the time, so everything just felt easier for me because I just chose what I liked, not what was “on trend”. Now, I find it hard to trust my own creativity sometimes, because it’s easy to feel like what I like isn’t nice enough or “on trend” enough. Well, I felt a huge change today when I started hanging some hand-made decorations in what seemed to be a odd spot at the time, but felt so right when I was done. I didn’t look online for inspiration, I just did what I liked, and to be honest, it feels so right. Home décor, and Christmas décor are such a personal things and trying to match your real life up to someone’s Pinterest Picture won’t always work. Yes, I love to look for inspiration, but in the end you will love your home so much more if it feels like you.
Simple is Almost Always Sweeter
Yes, one day I would love to create gorgeous homemade garland for our staircase, but this year the pinecone and ribbon one I made seems so much sweeter. I feel the same way about baking and complicated recipes, just because it has 20 complicated steps and 30 different ingredients does not mean it will taste any better than something with 3 ingredients and four steps. I’ll link two of my favourite Christmas recipes here and share why I truly believe that simple is almost always sweeter. Check out Santa’s Short Bread and Christmas Candied nuts if your looking for something simple and super sweet this season. Hint … these also make the best gifts!
Shop Small This Season
For many of us gift giving at this time of year is a big part of the traditions, and I honestly do enjoy this part … most of the time especially when I can support a small shop in the process. There’s something amazing about connecting with a small shop owner when you step into their store or chat online and it truly makes the gift giving process different. I also love the unique finds that come out of this and help to make the gifts extra special. I did a lot of my shopping online this year and in small shops and I can’t wait to share more of that with you in the 2019 Gift Guide!
Do What You Love and Share that with Your Loves
There are many traditions we love to do over the holidays, but I have learned to scale back a bit when it comes to doing all of the things. There are a million activities happening at this time of year and you do not need to do everything and you also don’t need to be afraid of missing out on those things either. Yes there are fun activities to take part in over the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you need to do them all! I love that our kids remember the simple things we do and look forward to them. It’s so funny how the simple things like baking with our kids has become a huge part of the holidays for us and now they have the words to express that they want to do this with us, which makes me so happy. We also love going out to the farm to cut-down or find our Christmas tree and they look forward to this every year as well.
We also love going to the Toronto Christmas Market and look forward to it each year. We’ve already gone once as a family and will be going on a date there this year too.
Stay tuned for the details on that coming soon!