Last Christmas, we had a Popeye's chicken sandwich for Christmas dinner! Now usually, we have a huge meal with either a huge turkey and the fixings or then a huge prime rib with all the fixings. It's a big affair that I LOVE. Christmas is one of my favourite holidays. Now you'd think that I would be horrified at Christmas at Popeye's but it was the ABSOLUTE BEST Christmas I ever had!
I spent it with many of the people I love the most in this world
There was no stress
We got to float in a lazy river
We still honoured many of our traditions - like taking a sauna on Christmas Eve
It wasn't about the stuff, it was about being with family
Now, this Christmas, I won't be in Florida but I've learned so much about what I really want out of my Christmas. It wasn't the presents or the decor, or the food, it was the people and the element of fun and relaxation that MADE our last Christmas.
I know many of us will be facing a different Christmas than you are used to. Here is how to to make your Christmas just as beautiful.
This is probably the MOST important factor- it's 100% about mindset. If you think it'll be bad, it will. Go into your Christmas with an open mindset. Go into it with the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect! It's not about the beautiful table. It's not about the perfect gift. It's about YOU being who you are and taking the time to feel the joy.
Enjoy the PEOPLE! It's the people you are with that really make the day. Laugh and smile, relax, have some fun.
Do something fun. This year, we've planned for a snow shoe in the woods because we love to hike, we'll just make it fun in the snow too! It was floating down the lazy river instead of worrying about cooking last year that was so fun!
Forget about SHOULDS. Last year we completely forgot about what we should do and did what we wanted to do. Don't worry if you PJs don't match, if your table is full of delicious food. Do what you feel like doing. This especially comes into play with kids. I know I run myself ragged trying to do things for the kids, but really, when I looked back, it wasn't for the kids, it was for me. My kid absolutely loved our relaxed, non-traditional Christmas in Florida (there wasn't even any snow!!) I think they feel what you are happy and that feeling extends to them. They love it when their parents are feeling good.
Release Expectations of Others. I fall into this trap all of the time. I think people should want the same things I do. If they don't, I get anxious and upset. If I am concerned about what they are doing, I'm losing sight of what's important. If your 16 year old wants to be in her room all day, let her, it's a holiday. You can go in and give her a Christmas hug, and chances are, if you are feeling joy, she'll feel it and be attracted by it and possibly come out!
As I write these, I realize that many of these points all culminate in the idea of concentrating yourself on your own actions and your own happiness. In the end, all we can control is ourselves. It's in the controlling of others we ruin our moods. If you want the Christmas spirit, you alone are responsible for feeling it inside of your body. Yikes! Does that sound harsh? I am SO passionate about being responsible for your own feelings - this is what breeds empowerment!
GIFTS - this is a BIGGIE for me. As you may know, we are minimalists in our house. We don't subscribe to piles and piles of stuff in our house. I've learned that while we don't necessarily want a pile of presents, to many people, giving presents is their way of showing love. I found it can be hurtful to these people to tell them we don't want anything.
Here are some things you can do about giving presents THIS YEAR:
ASK for a list! I am not sure why people feel weird about this, but it's incredibly easy and people actually don't mind as much as you think they will. Also, if it's someone you haven't really done a gift exchange with before, they will KNOW that you are getting them one so they can have the opportunity to get you one.
Listen. Most people tell you what they want, if you just listen to them. It's actually an AMAZING opportunity to use active listening
Give practical things people really need, like oven mitts to replace those old holey ones.
Normally, I'd say give experiences, this might be a little harder this year due to closures or restrictions. Be creative, maybe your town has a drive in concert, or a socially distanced movie theatre.
Family gifts are amazing! Once my mom got us a membership to the Zoo! We loved it and didn't have ANYTHING to store.
Consumables. You can give your elderly parents a big pile of toilet paper! I have a feeling this will be an amazing gift this year!
If the person you are giving a gift for doesn't want a gift but you want to show your love, write a heartfelt letter with a beautiful envelope. Do something from the heart.
Do something for someone. An act of kindness can be a great gift. I know my aunt and uncle would love it if someone raked their lawn for them. If you think about this, this gift can be much more valuable than an actual gift to unwrap.
If all else fails, a gift card is an amazing present. If someone has a favourite store, get them a gift card from that store! Bonus points if it's a small local business - they are in need of your support now, more than ever. You can combine #9 and #3 - give them a gift card to see the dentist (for those of you that don't know - my day job is at a dental office)! Make sure it's an awesome dentist.
My favourite - have a meal with someone and agree that that will be the present to each other. My friend and I agreed we'd each make a meal from a different country for each other. It was such a fun gift.
Other than telling people you don't really want presents, you can't control what they do, especially grandparents! They are going to give, and really, it's kind of their thing. I have found it to be against what I stand for to limit the love that grandparents want to show my kids. In this case, you accept what you get and feel the love behind the intent of the gift.
I used to get so worked up and upset about people giving me gifts when I knew that they knew that we didn't want more stuff. I've come to realize that the gift is the love, and caring that passes between people that actually happens with gift giving is what is important.
Smile, feel the love, feel the gratitude and when you are ready, let the gift go to a person who can really use it.