28.11.13

That Christmas Feeling

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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.

clementine eating
garland making
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)
wreath making
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
movie watching
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.


14 comments:

  1. My Christmas plans for Christmas all upside down now after the death of my father. Don't feel like shopping at all. So instead of the usual presents I'm putting together a book of memories of our childhood for my sisters complete with photos.

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    1. What a lovely idea and something meaningful for you to do and share. Sorry about your sad news, take care xo

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  2. This is a great post Claire. Each year I try to do a simpler Christmas than the year before. Last year I made presents for friends from what I already had at home - craft stuff, etc. I try only to give consumables so I am not adding to some else's clutter mountain. We have told our sons that we both have a book request and that we'd like that so they each share in the cost (just a couple of pounds each) so we get a "wish list" pressie and the boys, who have all just moved into new houses, have a very low cost spend. I have bought all the non perishables. Tomorrow I will get whatever can be frozen. I like Advent to have little or no shopping - I enjoy Advent making and wrapping presents!!
    I do spend money on 2 Marks and Spencer turkey crowns - I have to entertain loads of family and this has given me my Christmas back - everything comes ready prepared and I just throw it in the oven whilst savouring a Bucks Fizz and I am not in the least bit stressed!!
    I tell myself that Christmas is two DAYS not Two months and buy accordingly!
    Lynn.x.

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  3. My plans for Christmas get more modest each year, and feel all the better for it.

    I shop in the supermarkets for my things the same as always, slipping the odd extra thing into the trolley each week so no 'big shop' is needed, still looking for bargains all the while.

    Why do we even need a 'big shop' anyway, are we all entertaining 50 guests, do we all attend black tie parties and need new dresses, do we all have to out do everyone else and have the best, the sparkliest, and the most extravagant Christmas ever .... I think not.

    I need time off, I need time to be with my loved ones, to watch a bit of extra tele in the long dark evenings and time to admire the house decorated simply with holly and ivy from the woods at the back of the house, to admire the little thoughtful gifts that sit under the tree waiting to be opened by visiting family, time to just be.

    Family, warmth and time, that's all I want for Christmas.

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  4. I like a simple Christmas. Just the same easy routine every year, the same reliable recipes, piles of books for everyone. Bliss.

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  5. I am so with you on this. Time spent with loved ones is the greatest gift.

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  6. I used to envy the traditional christmas dinner etc now I am so thankful that we dont celebrate it anymore and do my Polish christmas instead. It is so low fuss, a bit cooking intensive, but otherwise its the simplest of christmasses to have! I may have to do a blog post on it. Now I love the decorations etc and things of the usual xmas, in spite of feeling very jaded with it all in recent years. in reality glad that we dont actually do it though and do all the Polish traditions with the family! it really is simplicity bliss!

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  7. I agree with everyone here. Our Christmasses actually began to simplify as the girls grew up and we only exchange token gifts with them, now, which actually makes gift buying/making fun and the men all get a simple themed gift as they're not so bothered anyway (interesting, that!!). We are going back to a real tree this year, though, which we'll pick up from one of the outdoor markets here and put up on the 23rd or so, no stress.
    Although I spent about an hour putting out those decorations I kept while decluttering a couple of months ago, that's all the time it took me and now I can just enjoy them and Advent with the simple pleasures the same as Claire describes.
    There are no parties or glitzy events here for me, my daughter has taken on the turkey now and seems to find it a breeze (we don't have as many side dishes any more, either!), so there really is very little I need to do, it's all about people and their company - and this year my overseas daughter and SIL will be here to hang out with :). And we've just had the first sprinkling of snow!
    I love Christmas and make a good 6-7 weeks of the season, but in a simple way.

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  8. This post is really reflecting the thoughts I had lately. I always put myself under pressure following high expectation for Xmas. This year is the second year, I am able to step back and turn things around. I am now hoping that next year, I won't have to stop and step back. That I will be able to rethink Xmas and have reasonable expectations before hand.
    Enjoy December.

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  9. My earliest presents were a satsuma, a little bag of nuts and raisins and my first new fountain pen in my sock on Christmas morning, nothing since has beaten that!

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  10. Love this post. I feel the message of Christmas has changed over the years into commercialism. I have asked for presents I would like but wouldn't necassarily purchase myself (nightdress, bed socks etc). I prefer simpler presents that are ethically made or handmade here in Britain. I am beginning to feel better with less and enjoy the simple things in life. Loved your posts about your wardrobe, you should keep that series!! What would you recommend for simplifying a jewellery collection?

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    1. Thanks Louise. I have been paring down my jewellery over the past few years. I'm now trying to minimise my collection to silver pieces with a few aqua pieces as well. See http://www.justa-littleless.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/minimalist-monday-too-much-jewellery.html .
      Of course there's more work to do so I'll be posting about it again, I'm sure xo

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  11. Our Christmas too will be simple and modest compared with today's standards, more like I remember as a child.
    Sarah x

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  12. What a peaceful and harmonious looking moodboard. Finances mean that our Christmas will not be extravagant this year (not that it ever has been!) and the focus will be on cooking, eating, crafting and relaxing, I hope. Your Christmas sounds truly lovely, Claire. x

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Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Keep in touch xo