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The most wonderful time of the year, or the busiest? There’s plenty of pressure to fit everything in come December, while also seamlessly delivering a magical day for those you love come the 25th.
It’s easy to get swept up in the busyness and forget to actually enjoy the festive season while you’re planning for it. And when you then inevitably start to lament that it is passing too quickly, you are no longer in the moment. You might experience something like anticipatory nostalgia, the feeling of missing something that’s not over yet. It’s quite the Christmas conundrum, isn’t it?
While a little festive stress is expected, there are ways to strive to be more mindful during the Christmas period, both in terms of how we spend our time and what we consume and waste. For a slower, more curated Christmas, read our seven tips below.
What is a slow Christmas?
A slow Christmas is a curated festive season both in terms of what we consume and how we spend our time. A slow Christmas celebrates considered consumption, reducing waste and thoughtful gift giving. A slow Christmas is also about truly savouring this magical end of year period through being present with loved ones. It’s about quality of interactions, not quantity of commitments.
How to have a slower, more meaningful and curated Christmas
Curate your Christmas
One of our favourite slow living quotes reads, “Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.” This quote is from Leo Babauta who writes the blog Zen Habits. While he wasn’t talking about the festive season specifically, it’s particularly apt for this busy time of year. Slow living is about doing less, and doing those things better. A curated Christmas is about focusing on the aspects of the season that truly bring you joy. It’s about relieving some of the pressure by packing in fewer commitments. It’s a simplified festive season that’s all about meaningful time with loved ones. After all, it’s sometimes the slowest, most simple moments that make the most meaningful memories.
Champion the reusable
The additional waste generated from the Christmas period is said to equate to 3 million tonnes. To reduce your impact, identify where you can swap single use items for a reusable alternative. For example, a beautifully made, permanent advent calendar can become part of your Christmas décor and eventually a family heirloom, while fabric crackers can become a feature of your festive tablescape year in, year out.
Give thoughtful, considered gifts
It’s said that approximately £42 million worth of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown away each year. To lessen the impact on your purse strings and the environment, consider these thoughtful questions when Christmas shopping:
- Will the recipient use this gift?
- Does the recipient want this gift?
- Does the recipient need this gift?
- Is this gift going to last?
To celebrate supporting small businesses who are striving to provide more eco conscious and considered gifts, we’ve put together a ‘Shop Slow’ gift guide. Each gift or business included has been carefully chosen because they align with our own values of slow, seasonal living and considered design.
Decorate with nature
Foraging for natural decorations can be a slow, creative activity for the festive season, while helping to reduce your consumption of new and often plastic-based products. Decorations can be easily composted after the Christmas period, too.
While the amount of wrapping paper the UK uses has reportedly dropped since 2016, Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) still estimates that the paper used each year is enough to cover the island of Guernsey.
Remember that sticky tape and many types of glitter-topped or plastic-coated wrapping paper can’t be recycled. The rule goes that if you scrunch up the paper and it stays in a ball, you can probably recycle it. Look for FSC-certified and recycled paper, or try Furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping. Furoshiki is a square-shaped wrapping cloth or piece of fabric, and a method of wrapping, which avoids the need for paper altogether. The fabric can be reused, or given as a gift itself.
Create meaningful traditions
When we’re nostalgic for the festive season, it’s the memories of traditions and special moments with family and friends that we remember. Sometimes it’s the simplest experiences that become part of your Christmas stories. From making a gingerbread house to reading Christmas stories on Christmas Eve, it’s these moments that make the season special.
Savour the season
We squeeze a lot into the first three weeks of December. Office parties, meet-ups with friends, shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking, school plays and festive days out are just the beginning. If we’re too focused on our to-do list, we miss the magic of advent and winter. Slow down for a day, or at least an afternoon, to put the to-do list aside. Watch a Christmas film in pyjamas, take a walk and admire all the wreaths and decorations, or light a few candles and have a relaxing evening in, complete with a glass of something mulled to sip on.
A lot of effort goes into preparing for Christmas, yet, it often feels like the day itself is over in a flash. While no one has the superpower to slow the rate at which time passes, you can make a conscious effort to be more present during festive activities in the run up to Christmas Day and on the 25th.