What kind of Christmas do you want?
When we start with an outcome in mind we can then understand what practical actions we need to take for it to become a reality. Creating a vision and setting an intention for your Christmas season can really help you consider what the season means to you. What do you want it to look like? What will it feel like if it happens the way that you would love it to? Are there any smells you associate with a lovely Christmas feeling? What memories do you have from your own childhood that you want to incorporate into the Christmas season? Think about whether there are any words that you associate with Christmas.
It can be fun to create a vision board for your Christmas – something lovely that you can do as a family. Get together magazines and search online and pick out images that sum up that Christmas feeling. Get paper and add in the words that feel right for you and your family.
Some prompts to help you:
• For me/us Christmas is all about….
• When I think about Christmas I feel…
• My best Christmas was….
• This Christmas I would love to…
In this way you can really take a step back and consider Christmas for the season you are in – the one you create with a new-born, for instance, may be different to the one you create with grown up children or teenagers.
Bring your intention to life
For instance, it may be that the intention you’ve set this year is that your Christmas will feel magical, calm and joyful. What does that look like in real terms? What will you be doing? What plans do you need to make now to really see that intention come to life?
Think about the best Christmas experiences you have had… ask yourself what made them magical? Can you bring elements of these experiences into your own Christmas this year? What have you been doing the last few years that really worked for you and your family that you’d love to do again and again? Part of the magic of the season for me is the rituals that come with Christmas – getting ready for advent, putting up the tree together, reading stories, even the fact we have a satsuma and a walnut in the Christmas stocking like I did when I was little.
Make conscious choices in line with your vision and intention
When we are clear about our intention and vision it enables us to make more conscious choices from our heart. We can look at the options and say, “Yes, this will help us to have a Christmas that feels good,” or “No – doing it that way feels out of intention.” – when we know that we can look to see how we can make a choice that fits with what works best for us. For instance, maybe it is saying no to going to six different events, but saying yes to the three which feel like they are closest to your intention and vision for the season. It can also be suggesting an alternative that feels more in tune with you.
We can also look at the things which usually stress us out and plan for them in the wider context of our vision and intention for the season. Maybe we need to do something earlier, like getting all the Christmas shopping done before the start of December so that it’s all ready and you can concentrate on experiences rather than “stuff”.
Seek out and create a Christmas that fits your vision and intention
Use your vision to create a Christmas that works for you. For instance, one Christmas we ate “lunch” late on Christmas day and went down to the beach for Christmas morning breakfast of pancakes and fruit and fun in the waves. It took a little planning (and a little reluctance when the children saw the piles of Christmas presents) but it was a magical way to start our day and left us feeling exhilarated and recharged.
Take time out: self care in a busy season
To create moments of calm over the Christmas season look for opportunities to build them in and take them through December and at Christmas. Here are some of the things that I love about the Christmas season and which fill my soul with joy and enable to me feel restored and able to be the wife/Mummy I want to be.
• Shop early so that I avoid the crowds when it’s super busy
• Go to a carol service/ crib service. There are ones that happen throughout December and a crib service is often early on Christmas Eve which is great if you have small children and can’t get to a midnight service.
• Listen to Christmas carols at home by the light of the tree lights
• Visit a grotto or wildlife sanctuary with your children
• Read stories together
• Go for walks on crisp winter days that feel “Christmassy” because the air is fresh and its frosty outside
• Savour a hot chocolate and cake – I love the idea of “hygge” – creating a cosy environment which is part of what the season feels like for me.
• Make a small sacred corner filled with lights and some symbols and your intention for the season. Go and sit there if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
On Christmas Day itself I find that the buzz of two small children, whilst lovely, can feel a bit overwhelming for my soul which likes a bit of quiet time! If we have all the presents out, it can feel a bit like, “Open this! No, play with this!” So we open a few things and then clear some space for the kids to actually enjoy the presents that they’ve opened so far. We’ve also streamlined the gift exeprience and put some of the presents aside to be opened later in the day or maybe at some point over the next few days, which helps combat overwhelm.
When Christmas is hard…for whatever reason
Sometimes the season that should be the most magical can feel the most upsetting and stressful. If you feel in advance that this may be the case, go back to your vision of what you want it to be like. Your Christmas can be just perfect for you. Give yourself grace and compassion and the space to ask yourself what you need in this season of the year and your life. Reach out to friends. Take it slow and show yourself love. Treat yourself with compassion. Write a list of all the things you love and try to do one, no matter how small, every day.
A Christmas wish for you
May your Christmas be filled with all the things and people that light you up in joy.
May your season be peaceful and bright.
May your Christmas tree twinkle and you see the magic that is all around us.
So may it be.
Claire is a mixed media artist, coach, mummy to twin boys and describes herself as an “enoughness explorer” – seeking to discover how to be “enough” in a busy world where we can be pressured to take on too much and do it all. Claire lives with her family on the Essex Estuary near Southend on Sea.
READ: Living Passages for the Whole Family by Shea Darian
EXPLORE: Find out more about Claire at csheehanart.com or visit her etsy shop for the art of enoughness etsy.com/shop/csheehanart
FIND: A wealth of ideas on celebrating midwinter at thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/celebrate-the-solstice