December is such a frantic time, and this year I am choosing to embrace restful and engaged family time over anything else. I want MORE HEART, and less hustle! But I LOVE TO CELEBRATE!! And all of our birthdays are within the same handful of weeks, and we are hosting Christmas this year, it’s our wedding anniversary next week and we have guests for New Years! So how to be restful, and engaged, when you are responsible for the magic of these celebrations for your family?! Well, it’s a team effort in our home and here are some of my hot tips on how, and what, and why we are doing what we are doing in life right now ☀️
1. Getting started EARLY!
At the start of November I wrote a list, with the must-do, and the dreams I had for the season. I wanted to be prepared, on budget, and ultimately present in the moment. That same week I then sat down with hubby and worked out our Christmas list, then sat with my daughter and we discussed budget and options for celebrating her birthday and booked it all in (her birthday is mid December). I worked out what I wanted to get everyone for Christmas EARLY (with flexibility for Santa wishlists), and that allowed me to shop a little each week which is better on the budget and allowed me to wait for deals 🙌🏽 I also love shopping small, buying local, and shopping online
We are hosting Christmas at our home, and have guests for a few events so I got in touch with everyone back in November to work out what we needed and what people wanted to happen. This has been a life saver. I already know who is bringing what on Christmas Day, and what to have under the tree for my nephews
3. Charity with our children. You do not need to be religious to encourage generosity, and be conscious in teaching kind behaviours. They’re far from exclusive to churches. Doing activities and charitable acts with kids often sounds easier and looks easier than it is though, so if you’re looking for inspiration I recommend a flick through Pinterest, and looking at what programs are on offer in your local area which speak to your heart.
4. Expressing Gratitude!
Thanking the community we do life with is important to me, and something I want to model for my children. So I did the ground work by deciding on a small list of acts, and then consulting the kids about what they wanted to do. We decided on creating thank you presents for their teachers and support staff (never forget the office ladies, they’re essential!)
I made these gifts a few weeks ago, having purchased plain mugs from Kmart for around $1.50-$2.00 a piece, and ordering custom vinyl labels from this fabulous small business: The Sprinkle Studio
Miss E then picked all the treats to go inside the mugs ( having the kids help like this is a great opportunity to give room for general budgeting and maths practice for primary aged children).
Total cost $6 pp. I am really happy with this cost, for what I feel are heartfelt, and practical gifts of appreciation.
5. My principle with celebrations is this: Don’t go in to debt to show people you love them.
My daughter asked for a donut stack in lieu of a birthday cake, and it set us back a lovely $19 total thanks to Donut King (WINNING!). We decided on an activity, and number of guests, based on our budget, and I have to say this year was the least stressful, most fun, of seven years of parties. Miss E had a blast, and we followed up with a family party on her actual birthday. A fancy meal isn’t what works for Miss E, she just wanted tacos and pavlova for the family party, so that’s what we did! Easy, simple, and within our budget ❤️ It’s about your budget, and your family. If we had more money, and different tastes, then that would change our plans – you do you 😊
6. Be a person of your word.
If you aren’t sure if you can do it, don’t commit. If you commit, turn up. Life happens but if you’re a person of your word then in my experience, people show up for you. I hate exercise, sport etc. my husband says I spend more activity in avoiding sport, than if I were to actually engage in sport. But in a moment of distraction I committed to going and playing tennis with my sister. So today I did it. And it was GREAT fun. It shows my family that I’m a person of my word, was great for my body and we played near the ocean so the salt air was fantastic for the soul. Being active is a GREAT THING!
6. Be kind to yourself. I have shit days, we all do, but right now I’m on leave from work and my PhD for two weeks, and I’m just doing my best to totally de-stress and refresh.
You can not give, what you do not have, so fill your own tank up! If I can, I will spend a whole day in bed in the near future haha.