In my previous blogs I have talked about ways to have a well thought out, meaningful Christmas so that you can capture some of that magical feeling for yourself. I hope they have helped you to plan your time a little bit better and allow you to keep sight of how special this season can be in your home.
Slowly absorbing just a few changes can lead to a freer time of year and a warmer, peaceful, balanced Christmas at home. Allowing you to start the new year, refreshed and ready for new adventures.
In this blog I would like to further our stream of consciousness when it comes to the real meaning of Christmas.
“Our lives are full of things. Disposable distractions. Stuff you buy but do not cherish, own but never love. Thrown away in weeks, rather than passed down to generations. Perhaps things will be different now. Wiser choices made with grater care. After all, if the fewer things you own always excite you more, would you really miss the many that never could”
Consumerism can take over what comes into our homes and the habits it forms in our minds and behaviours.
The biggest reason for clutter in our homes is buying.
If we can look to change our habits on why, what and when we buy, it can allow you to take the first steps on changing habits in your home so you don’t have to live with a cluttered home and cluttered mind.
The average household spends around £660-1100 on Christmas. Most households start the new year with debt and with a lot more new clutter in the home.
The toll of clutter has a hidden cost on all of us. Draining away our time, energy and money. Inevitably causing stress and friction at home.
The run up to Christmas can however be a time for real change. Allowing us to gather at home, reconnect as a family home and share love, gifts and togetherness.
So here are a few top tips for stopping the stress of clutter coming in to your home for Christmas and beyond!
1. Set an intention – “Do whatever makes your soul shine”
2. Set out structure – budget, responsibilities
3. Set boundaries – children
1. Set an intention
When looking at ways to manage stress, people often overlook one of the simplest and most effective strategies: create a peaceful home. As most of our days start and finish at home, having a peaceful home as your base can help you launch yourself into the world from a less-stressed place each day (children appreciate this, too!)
So this year maybe try and set an intention to stop the stress of Christmas.
STOP expecting * STOP shouting * STOP being busy
START listening * START asking * START stopping
Make small changes each year to get going. Make a note of the changes in a journal
Create a different priority to Christmas day * Traditions create stability and memories not toys. Generosity can come from time spent listening not giving large unwanted presents
Small changes each month will lead to huge changes during the year, about how your family connect, talk and listen to each other.
2. Set out structure
I would be miffed if I didn’t have any presents to open, so do buy beautiful gifts. £5 - £50 per person is a really do-able per item gift budget.
Something you need * something you want * something to wear * something to read
for everyone in the immediate family – make these the children’s stocking presents
1 present for each friends and colleagues
5 extra presents for children from Father Christmas
Divide the purchases between you and your partner and keep to budget.
Set a budget for decorations and food – remember how much goes to waste each year, when we purchase as though the end of the world is nigh on Christmas Eve!
Make presents – My dad this year is getting homemade Eva biscuits from us all. A highlight for him as my mum monitors his chocolate intake during the rest of the year! Florentine Biscuits
My friends are getting homemade sage candles which I have made, as they are a wonderful fragrance to burn in the home to dispel the years old negative feelings and clear the air for the new year. Benefits of Sage Smudging
3. Set boundaries
Giving and receiving is magical, but it is worth managing your consumption. Your children are not going to hate you. Its ok to set boundaries and manage expectations for the amount of toys they receive each year.
With clear explaining and adding a huge dose of listening, asking, love and fun you can break the cycle of entitlement. If you learn to be consistent with your message it will relieve you of guilt and, in turn, change your spending habits. Any frowns will soon be turned upside down as everyone values laughter and good company above objects bought for money. And, if you’re able to continue with these new habits, there’s hope that attitudes through the rest of the year will change as well!
Ban household media for one day of the week (include the weekend) for children and adults and get involved in other hobbies. This is a great way to see where everyone’s interests lie - be it candle dipping, reading, cooking, Lego building, puzzles, the garden, music making. Let imaginations soar! It encourages pursuits other than screen time and allows you to make some really thoughtful present choices to encourage and develop them in their chosen activity.
A high value item needs to be earnt. Peer pressure and media pressure is huge and intense for children, especially teenagers. I didn’t want a phone but I wanted trainers and a clothing budget when I was 14! My step-son last year received a brand new iphone XR, he earnt half of it from a two month intense pocket money drive: washing the car, washing the neighbours car, sweeping leaves, hovering, cleaning the bins, ironing. He learnt really valuable lessons that he still continues to do the house and he was incredibly proud of himself!
Don’t give into high volume demands. If children are asked what they would like and you talk to them about budget and not getting everything they want you can draw their focus to games, time spent together, quality attentive time and not just all about presents. It gets easier each year they get older and traditions are set in place. My children love toys but more so, they love our family ice skating, tree decorating, movie nights, pantomimes and getting the scalextric out of the garage.
Even if this all doesn’t happen this Christmas, keeping these streams of consciousness in our minds throughout this time of year can lead to small changes every day.
Fail days happen, even fail months, but if we all try and keep working on achieving a simpler and happier mind flow, we can have gratitude and appreciation, not stress and clutter in our homes.
Keep warm and enjoy the seasonal peace.