Is it just me or does the run up to Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier every year?! On the one hand, I’m not complaining as I love an excuse to put fairy lights on everything but on the other hand it can feel like time is disappearing.
Although it really can be the most wonderful time of year, the run up to Christmas can be downright stressful as we rush around trying to get everyone a thoughtful gift, find the perfect outfit for Christmas parties, all whilst trying to avoid breaking into the tub of Christmas Day choccies whenever the going gets tough (or is that just me?)…
This year I’m determined to have a calmer run up to Christmas and I thought I would share my attempts to really try and “Make it Mindful” this Christmas.
Stop watching TV adverts
After watching just one program that had adverts in it I swear my blood pressure went up. Adverts depict the “perfect” Christmas, but most of the time the adverts depict a perfect Christmas for the retailer whose advert it is as they try to convince you that the ideal Christmas is achievable if you buy all of the things that they are advertising…trust that you know what you actually “need” for Christmas, make a list and stick to it to avoid getting caught up in the pressure to buy anything and everything
Crowds and queues are not a good recipe for a calm Christmas. Shopping online might sound like a really obvious suggestion but I didn’t follow my own advice yesterday as I thought I’d just “pop to town for a few bits” when actually this meant being in a huge crowd of people in the centre of Manchester at peak Christmas shopping season and it was just vile. It’s not worth the stress when it’s so easy to get things online. Pay the delivery fee or you could sign up to Amazon Prime for £7.99 for one month and know it’s money well spent to avoid queues and frantic people.
Support small businesses if you can
Rather than buying the same things year after year packaged in a different box from high street retailers I am going to try and spend my money supporting small businesses this year. Sites like Etsy or Not on the High Street showcase the work of thousands of small businesses so you are bound to be able to find something suitable for everyone. One of my favourite small businesses is Keep it Bright – I love Zara Khalique’s positive outlook and beautiful gifts!
Schedule time for yourself
I am a huge believer in this, it is not selfish to spend time on doing things for you, it’s essential! At this time of year we can spend so much time doing things for others and this can lead to burnout so by the time we actually stop for Christmas we are too exhausted to enjoy the day we had worked so hard to make perfect.
Give to strangers
I know at this time of year we are all quite time poor. But giving to others doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time. Consider giving a few items to your local food bank (many supermarkets have collections in store to make it easy to donate) or donate any clothes or blankets you don’t need or use anymore for example. If you’re local to Manchester, the Wood Street Mission help to provide children and families with everyday items that many of us take for granted. They also do a special Christmas collection to provide families with food and Christmas presents.
Consider an alternative advent calendar
Don’t worry I’m not suggesting that you give up the chocolate one…this year I am taking part in The Blurt Foundation’s Merry Calm-ness advent calendar. It’s a helpful reminder to take some time each day to be mindful.
I hope these tips help to lessen any potential stress in the run up to Christmas. In the coming weeks I hope to share my tips for Making it Mindful on the big day itself. Have any routines for Christmas Day that help things to run smoothly or that make you happy? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear them.
As always, thanks for reading.
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