I have no idea where this year went to but here we are – it’s late November and Christmas preparations have officially begun. My list of to-dos is growing at an almighty rate and my diary is filling up with highlighted events not to be missed – school activities, drama rehearsals, dance concerts and neighborhood festivities. But sometimes it’s best to stand back, take a deep breath and approach the busy season with a pinch of perspective. This Christmas, I’m determined to get my priorities right. Frankly, there’s nothing more important that taking the time to slow down and connect with my loved ones, regardless of the whirr of activity that surrounds us.
I’m intent on making the festive season memorable, love-filled and stress-free. I want it to be brimming with smiles and giggles and excitement and cuddles – for all of us! So I’m taking it upon myself to find pockets of time to slow down an just be with my kids.
This Christmas we’ll be:
1. Switching off! My partner and I often work from home so we have to be extra vigilant when it comes to closing the laptops and switching off the phones. But we both know that the benefits when we do switch off are profound – for the entire family.
2. Walking in nature. Personally I think that the best conversations happen when you’re walking beside your children. Plus, a good dose of fresh air and exercise is the perfect antidote to a foul mood (there’s bound to be a few as end-of-term weariness sets in).
3. Swimming. We may not have the romance of snow at Christmas time but we definitely have the beauty of a pristine beach. When the heat sets in and the busyness gets too much I’ll make the executive decision to go to the beach, cool off in the water and play with the kids – free of distraction and housework obligation.
4. Saying no. Sometimes. I don’t think we have to attend every single activity, celebration or party that we’re invited to. If the children are tired and it all seems like too much, I know it will be best for us to stay home, have an early dinner and get tucked up in bed well before the sun sets.
5. Reading Christmas books. One of my very favourite things to do with my children is snuggle on the couch and read stories about Christmas. Their wonder and anticipation is palpable and it’s the perfect way to slow down, connect and cuddle.
6. Scheduling one-on-one time. My third baby arrived earlier this year and now that he’s a little bigger and can spend a few hours without me I’m determined to spend time one-on-one with my big two. There is nothing quite as sweet (or important) as an uninterrupted conversation with your kids (and perhaps an indulgent ice-cream while we’re at it).
7. Practising gratitude. It’s a big concept for little people but I don’t think it’s ever too early to introduce it. When we talk about Christmas wishes and presents we’ll also discuss the privileged life we live. We have a healthy family, an abundance of fresh food, a cosy home, a shelf brimming with beautiful books and five baskets of toys. Indeed, we are so lucky.
What do you do to slow down the silly season?
More on simplifying Christmas this year:
- 10 perfect Christmas gifts for bigger boys
- How to host a simple holiday party for friends
- 10 awesome things to make this Christmas
Words and image: Jodi Wilson