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Hello. As November slips by and the Christmas production machine slinks out of control, I find myself rejecting the commercial shebang of the season more and more in favour of a simpler, greener and homespun version. I want to enjoy plenty of time at home with my family and friends and the least amount of time possible in the shops.
Last year I wrote about my views on the over commercialism of the season. See here for tips on minimalist festive shopping and here for my ideas on simplifying Christmas. This year I hope my gift buying will be even more modest and mindful. I shall plan, research, shop online and avoid the shops as much as possible, especially at the busiest times.
I've already heard many declarations that it doesn't feel like Christmas this year and I wonder if that's because so many people have such high expectations of Christmas. The festivites seem to start earlier each year. If you spend weeks rushing around shopping, over committing yourself to social occasions and generally feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to make Christmas perfect then it's no wonder that you'll have no enthusiasm left for the main event. Most of us will have to do more shopping at this time of the year but I believe it can be kept under control and shopping should not be the main focus of the preparations.
Nostalgia and tradition is a big part of Christmas for me as is the simplicity of the Christian message. It doesn't seem right to me that we should spend excessively at a time when we are celebrating the birth of someone who lived humbly and reached out to the poor. Shouldn't we be doing the same? And no matter what our religious beliefs shouldn't we be reflecting on how much most of us have in the western world and making an effort to help those who have less? How many people in our own towns don't have enough of the basics of life - food, warmth, shelter and love? As I write this I feel I need to do more to support these people this Christmas.
However, my Christmas won't be too austere and I'll be indulging in little rituals along the way that help create that Christmas feeling. Here's a list of some of the things I'm hoping to enjoy over the next few weeks. Most of them cost next to nothing.
baking mince pies the way my Nana used to using my Mum's old tins
sherry drinking (only in December)
listening to carols (I love Classic FM for this in December)
dipping pine cones in white paint and glitter
quiet reflection at church
late afternoon walks to enjoy the solitude and the twinkly lights
making something new for the Christmas tree
ice skating (even though I'm rubbish at it)
How about you? Do you have plans for a more modest Christmas this year? What simple things give you that Christmas feeling? I'd love to hear.