I’m cheating a little with this post as the core content is taken from a blog post which a good friend shared on Facebook a few weeks ago. That blog is Becoming Minimalist ( link here ). It isn’t a blog I was previously aware of but in it, Joshua Becker aims to inspire others to pursue their greatest passions by owning fewer possessions. This post of his, relating to having a happy Christmas, really resonated with me. It was clearly originally written in a pre-Covid world though much of it still applies.
- Identify your main thing
From food and decoration to presents and parties, December is full of opportunity. But there is a very fine line between opportunity and distraction. Determine the main thing you want Christmas to represent. It may be based on religion, family, or rest. Whatever you decide, keep your main thing in sharp focus first.
- Slow down
Peace is rarely found in adding commitments and errands, so cut a few – on purpose.
- Realise perfection is not possible
Travel gets disrupted. Houses get messy. Kids want more presents. Family members bicker. This is life. And unless you are part of a magazine photo shoot, perfection is simply not possible. Stop expecting it.
- Don’t push your expectations onto others
We all have different expectations of how Christmas should be. Often times, these expectations are based on childhood memories. But we all have different childhood memories, so don’t assume everyone expects Christmas to look the same as you do. I’m all for developing traditions but I’m against thinking everyone expects my traditions to become theirs.
- Make room for rest
Take a nap, retire to bed early one evening, or find a morning to sleep in later than normal. Running ragged to make everything perfect rarely results in perfection. Instead, it results in snippy attitudes, short tempers, and runny noses.
- Offer forgiveness quickly
People make mistakes. Be quick to offer forgiveness and mend broken relationships – whether the offence occurs today or happened many years ago. Take the step. Because holding onto ill-feelings towards another is one of the greatest sources of disappointment in life.
- Remember – memories are made in the mistakes
Some of my fondest Christmas memories centre on the mishaps that have occurred over the years: getting left at a department store with my cousin; discovering a Christmas gift early; my grandmother wrapping the gifts but forgetting to mark who they were for. These mishaps make me smile even today… we should also learn to smile when they are unfolding right in front of us.
- Realise the meaning is in the giving, not the gift
You won’t get everything you want this Christmas and, conversely, you will get some things you don’t want. Put less emphasis on the gift in the wrapping and put more emphasis on the fact that somebody thought you were special this holiday season. The gift is not the gift. The true gift is the giving…and the giver.
- Admit you can’t change others
We can set bold examples. We can look for teachable moments. We can offer advice when appropriate. But we can’t make decisions for others. They are going to choose options for their life we wish they wouldn’t. In these moments, remind yourself that you weren’t called to live their life, you were called to live your own.
- Know when to stop
From over-eating to over-drinking, knowing when to stop quickly becomes a lost art during the holiday season. But too much of a good thing quickly turns into a bad thing with lasting consequences. In almost every regard, for maximum enjoyment, embrace moderation.
- Stay within your budget
Avoid holiday disappointment by celebrating it within your means. This pertains to the number and extravagance of gifts, but should also extend to travel, celebration, and entertainment.
- Embrace spirituality
Regardless of your religious (or non-religious) preference, there is much more to this world than the things we see. Embrace spirituality this Christmas by championing love, hope, forgiveness, and grace. Rather than losing yourself in the hustle and bustle, find intentionality in remembering the heart of Christmas and celebrating the soul of everything good.
I hope you can find something of use in Joshua’s list. My next blog post will be available on Sunday and will be part two of Don’t Beat Yourself Up. In it, I’ll continue the theme I addressed in my previous post and also explain why there haven’t been any YYCDI blog posts during December (prior to today).
As always, thanks for reading, please do take care, and I hope you and those close to you are able to have a healthy, peaceful, and happy Christmas.