A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in line at Publix chatting with the young cashier and bagger as they rang up my groceries. I made a comment about needing to hurry up and put up my Christmas decorations. The cashier told us that her family decorated the tree on Christmas Eve. “Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve was more traditional when I was little,” I told her.
I’d like to say that I decided right then that I would slow down the decorating process and focus on really enjoying it, not just crossing it off the list–but that’s not what happened. The truth is that I just wasn’t in the mood for rushing and stressing, so I gradually decided that I wouldn’t. As I gave up worrying about when and how fast all the Christmas preparations got done, it was easier to enjoy what I was doing and become more mindful in the process. If there’s ever a time to practice mindfulness, it’s definitely at Christmastime!
Here are five simple ways to have a more mindful Christmas:
Listen to Music:
There’s nothing like music to fill any space with a smile. Christmas music at Christmastime is perfect for me, but more of any music is a good thing. I love listening to Classical music at this time of year. It reminds me of taking the girls to see The Nutcracker at Christmastime when they were little. While putting up our living room tree, my husband put on the 70’s music channel. It reminded us of our childhood and put us both in a good mood.
The soft lighting of candles is always soothing. But don’t just light any candles—light the good candles! Many of us only put out the good candles, the good di00002shes, or the good whatever, when company comes over. What better time than the present to enjoy the “the good stuff”? Who better to enjoy it with than your family?
Slow down your favorite Christmas-y thing to do:
In my case, it’s decorating the tree(s). We have one tree in the living room and one downstairs in the foyer. We have a lot of ornaments on both trees, and it takes a long time to hang them all. We did each tree, leisurely, on a different day. It wasn’t just fun, it was a chance to connect as a family.
I think we can all agree that being inflexible is a big contributor to stress. Learn to accept that everything may not get done, and it may not get done exactly as you hoped it would. This year we got a real tree for our upstairs, which is something we haven’t done in a long time. By the time we had gotten home, we were all tired, so I didn’t push to get it put up that night. When the tree lights didn’t work, I didn’t rush right out to get new ones. I didn’t make everyone rearrange their schedule to get it done. It got done when it all worked out, and it wasn’t stressful at all.
When priorities are in focus, goals and tasks go smoother. The same is true at Christmastime. Write down tasks to be completed and then number them according to priority. If an item at the bottom of the list doesn’t get done, it’s easier to not get too upset about it. Right now there’s a gingerbread house kit on my counter that I’d love to build with my youngest daughter, but if it doesn’t get done, it won’t be so bad. We could always do it after the holidays.
I still have a few decorations left to put up around the house. If I get to it, I get to it. If I don’t—that’s okay too. It’s at the bottom of my list. Spending time with my family, enjoying ourselves, and taking it all in is at the top of my list.
Let me know what you do to practice mindfulness at Christmastime in the comments below.
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