It is that time of the year again, wow, didn’t that happen fast?
Christmas is my favourite time of year, for me it is a time of joy and connection with the ones I hold dear, an opportunity to relax and unwind after the year behind, an opportunity to be present, connect and send out some of that peace and light I have in my little old heart!
It is also (unfortunately) a time of mass consumption and waste, and if you are not careful you could find yourself swept up in the madness feeling less grounded, less present, and not really shining much light, at all.
I have put together a little guide on how we can have a mindful little christmas, one with our heartspace, family, community and dear planet in mind!
1. Staying present.
First and foremost, stay present. To try not to not get swept up in the madness, we need to stick to our own mindfulness rhythms. Staying grounded and centred and continuing that magic practice called self love will get us through.
Practice mindful eating, go for walks in nature, regularly, starting your mornings with yoga and breath work is a wonderful way to greet the sun. And don’t stop journalling! – this will keep your head clear and your heart open.
Setting boundaries with family members may sound tricky but is so important. If you don’t, you may just find your kids unwrapping a tonne of plastic toys you didn’t quite sign up for, with loving thanks to well meaning family and friends.
Suggesting family experience gifts everyone chips in for, is a great one and something for your family to look forward to in the new year. Asking granny to knit the kids cute jumpers for next winter, or even suggesting plants or gardening equipment where the whole family brings one thing to add to the gift. These are all fun ways you can respectfully suggest other non plasticy options.
Also outlining the amount of time you are willing to spend at each gathering. And being clear with yourself about how much emotional energy you have to give is also, very, important.
3. The importance of traditions.
Teach your kids the importance of tradition and kindness. I wanted to share a few of our traditions with you – we mostly follow waldorf advent traditions focusing on the four lights of advent. We like to unwrap crystals and shells in the lead up, I have a reusable fabric hanging we use each year and a wooden spiral we decorate. We also focus on community acts of kindness instead of opening additional trinkets.
We buy a potted christmas tree from the local nursery, we care for it and then return it to the earth. We like to hand make eco craft for our christmas tree throughout the month, adding as we go.
Each year we take handmade ornaments to the local nursing home to handout. And pop a gift under a giving tree. Also, giving food and handmade gifts to other families to let them know you are thinking of them is also a great way to connect – because, trust me, there is no way I would turn away a plate of festive bliss balls in a hurry, that’s for sure!
Take a reflective moment to write down some existing traditions in your family or any new ones you may like to add.
Focus on story telling and connected play as a way to show your kids you care. Keeping secure rhythms in place for your kids over the holidays is so important. Keeping things as normal and calm as possible, trying to stick to your normal flow.
A fun way I like to connect is to make hand made story telling props to tell my children stories. You could also put on a lounge room performance, puppet show or even play!
Head out in nature with a story telling basket or picnic. Go for star walks, make cubbies, giant sandcastles, nature mandalas, craft and sing. Or just even sit down together and draw or play house our with cars or diggers! Follow your heart and have fun.
5. Be a mindful consumer.
Buy local handmade, thrift or craft. Second hand gifts NEED to be normalised. Handmaking comes from the heart and supporting small means you are helping other families.
But this does not need to stop with gifting. Buy local organic produce, visit bulk food stores with recycled glass jars, swap what’s in your garden with what is in the garden of another family, create a community of giving and trade where you make jams and pickles and swap them for a basket of cucumbers for your chrissy day salad.
Wrap your gifts in your kids artwork, upcycled fabrics, or pop them in thrifted vintage basket wear.
Most of all, prioritise what is important to you and your family, and go with the flow. Discuss openly with your kids what you are grateful for each and every day, hug heaps, and remember to reflect and take pockets of quiet time to stay connected to your heart.
Heidi, The Harmony Tree House Project