4 simple tips to do december well
Hello dear reader,
It’s the 8th December already, we are well and truly in the silly season. Darkness is upon us at seemingly all hours, work is busy (the classic I-have-so-much-to-do-so-that-I-can-actually-take-a-break-so-I-will-work-twice-as-many-hours-this-week-so-that-I-can-have-a-holiday). LET ALONE the Christmas prep. Those of you with little ones (COVID dependant) will have about fifteen reasons to go into primary school, leaving you with no time to hold down an actual job in December. Then the texts start. “What does Jonny want for Christmas?”. “Shall we go in together for Dad?”. “Can you transfer the money for the jumper I bought?”. Then the socials. Work social. School mom social. Rugby Club social. Friends social. Book Club social. All the socials. And carols (I love carols so there will be no moaning from me here). Then the family dynamics and planning. Who is having mom and dad? When are the in-laws coming? Who else is hosting when and where? And then there’s the stockings (note to self: DO NOT WRAP STOCKINGS ON CHRISTMAS EVE, THEY TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN YOU EVER REMEMBER).
Now you might love Christmas, and in fact, I simply can’t wait this year because my boy is home, but it is still a lot. I have peaks and troughs of overwhelm every December and try as I might, the overwhelm comes. Too much to do.
I’m not going to write an essay this week, just a couple of simple points, and a reminder of one of my most-resonated with social media posts from earlier in the year.
1. Embrace imperfection
You do not need to home bake everything, hand wrap everything or hand write everything, for it to be wonderful. Yes, go to town as much as you like, but decide what really matters. The roast will be eaten within ten minutes, so if you pre-bought the stuffing rather than spending hours chopping fifty onions to make it yourself then who cares? What does a perfect Christmas involve for you? Decide on your definition of what a perfect Christmas is. For me, it’s seeing friends, family, loved ones, going to church, sitting still a bit more than I usually do, playing games, laughing, eating, walking, sleeping, sitting by the fire, all together. So, if that is my definition, I probably need to let go of the totally handmade Christmas because I simply do not have the time.
2. Try not to compare
Christmas is an easy time to look to the left and the right. Not just about who does it brilliantly, but also about family. Maybe your wider family won’t be all together (mine won’t, and it saddens me), maybe you have lost family members this year and so can’t have the Christmas that you had hoped for. Looking at what others have will just leave us feeling lacking and left behind. Look at what is on your table, who is sitting around your table, what you are able to do, and live in that story. This is your story, the one you are living. So, love that story and be as present in it as you can be.
3. You matter in this season
If you are the one who carries a lot of the load in the Christmas season, then remind yourself of what was on my delivery sticker for our new bath a while back. Here’s the social post that resonated with so many of you.
This sticker came on my bath delivery 🛁.
It caught my eye as I went outside to sign for the delivery and to check the pallet.
Treat as priority. I came back into the house to my kids and husband wearing the sticker. “What are you wearing that for?”.
Well, I need to remember to be a priority. We had a family discussion the night before you see, about how we behave towards one another, and how I can feel at times at the bottom of the pile. But I need to treat myself as a priority. I am not the only priority; self-care doesn’t come at the expense of prioritising my children and my work and others that I care for. But I am a priority. You are a priority. Treat yourself as a priority.
Notice it also says “deliver more”.
When I prioritise myself, when I ensure that I am healthy, emotionally, mentally, physically, then I deliver more. I deliver more in terms of work, to others, in terms of my well-being, and my interactions. I’m going to keep the sticker.
Treat yourself as a priority. Not only do you deserve it and need it, you’ll deliver more.
4. Look out for one another
I saw this beautiful quote on Instagram this week. A challenging but important reminder:
If you’re reading this, and you’re not the one who carries the majority of the Christmas planning baggage, here’s a couple of thoughts for you. What can you take off the plate of the one who is? How can you lighten their load? How can you express your gratitude for those that are?
Final point — as we head into the mayhem and merriment, remember, this season was never meant to be about doing stuff. It was never meant to be about getting stuff. This season was meant to be about hope. About joy. About giving. About peace.
Here’s to more of that, less of the other!
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