Yesterday I decorated our flat with our Christmas decorations. We chose not to get a tree this year (which means, I decided I could do without it, Rasmus is not really a fan any year) so I used the tree decorations we have a little more creatively, hanging them from the bannisters on the stairs, from the wine bottles in our rack…
I also made a deal with myself that I was not allowed to buy more decorations this year. I’m trying to be very intentional this year about not letting Christmas become about the stuff, whether that’s decorations or presents or even food. Those things do all have a part within our Christmas celebrations, but sometimes I think they become a too big a part. I want to remember why I do them, why I decorate, give presents, make special food. And somehow, for me, pulling back on how much of each of them I do is a way to find a better balance.
So the rest of our decorations consist of 3d snowflakes made from basic A4 white paper, and a banner in the window cut from coloured glitter paper which proclaims “Joy to the world!” And a lot of our candles spread throughout the rooms. It feels simpler and more meaningful to me somehow to do it this way.
Back in mid-November, my cousin was bemoaning on facebook the fact that the Christmas craziness had already begun. My mum wrote some advice in reply, and one of the things she said was:
Do the bits you love and want but resist pressure to do anything else -keep it simple, cheap and fun and make time to be completely still for 5 mins every day.
See what a wise mother I have? I think sometimes I feel required to do so much to make Christmas “perfect”, giving myself an impossibly long list of things to accomplish before 25th rolls around. And so many of the things I put on my mental list are good things – make cookies for colleagues, hand make presents for all the family, write cards to every single person I know – but if they cause me to be stressed and busy through the whole season, I miss out on the blessing of advent, and the true joy of Christmas.
I found the print above on pinterest last week and I keep going back to it, because it says exactly what I’m trying to do in just four words (also there seems to be a naked women in it, I imagine her about to go skinny dipping which is kind of fantastic…).
I want to collect moments this Christmas. Moments with family that are joyful and stress-free. Moments around the table celebrating with good friends and good food. Moments enjoying the festiveness of the Christmas markets. Moments alone in the candlelight to reflect on this time of waiting and expectation.