We have a new series for 2018! The delightful Mimi will document her preparations for the festive season over the course of a year. Without further ado, here’s episode one:
Last week I had to go into the big shopping centre in town to buy some new wellies for my three year old. This was because of a series of unfortunate events which had led to her previous pair being lost in the park. Upon entering the shopping centre, I noticed a beautiful display of large twinkling lights and stars hanging from the ceiling. Leftover Christmas Decorations. Christmas Decorations which have not registered in my consciousness until now. Any why was this? Because I was so busy and harried and hurried in the run up to Christmas. That really pulled me up short. In the whole of December, I literally did not see the large flashing lights in front of my eyes because of my own busyness.
It’s the same every year
Every year I say this year I will be ready for Christmas by December. And every year I start with good intentions, but somehow time slips away. Ironically, this year enrolled on an e-course called Savoring A Slow Simple December. An e-course I only had time to log into once.
Things got in the way. Inspiration deserted me, a run of ill health and some family situations meant it was well into December before I got properly started. Then I had to leave many plans unrealised, ideas put to one side, things not done. I felt stressed and horrible. The relief on Christmas Eve when I realised that finally everything that could be done at that point had been done. I can’t even describe it. But at that point, it really is too late to slow down and savour it all. I was more in exhausted recovery mode than enjoy Christmas mode.
‘This year will be different!”
I declared to the lovely Annastasia over one of our breakfast meetings. Luckily for me, Annastasia is not the type to let me leave things with just making such a fluffy vague statement. She is the type to help me make it happen. So she kindly offered me the chance to chronicle my efforts here on the Inkdrops blog. Hopefully this will also inspire others to also get ready early so they can take time to enjoy the December that they deserve.
Over the years I’ve read a fair amount on planning and creating Christmas. Books, blogs, magazines, ebooks, ecourses, downloads. It strikes me that while there are nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned, they are all a little too prescriptive. Surely the only plan that will work for me and my circumstances is the one that I plan for myself? I’ve noticed that they often begin with an exercise to decide what makes Christmas special to you. What your favourite things are, how you want Christmas to feel; to vision it so you can bring it into being.
Well, not me. That will come later. I am going to start off by thinking about all the things I HATED about last Christmas. The things that irritated and disappointed me. Then I am going to come up with a plan for vanquishing them. And only then when I have swept my Christmas slate clean will I start thinking about my vision for Christmas this year.
Your first step is to make yourself a cup of tea, light a candle if you can, then choose a notebook, or paper, and a pen or pencil, app or whatever else works best for you.
Jot down on the paper as quickly as you can, before you have time to think too deeply about it:
- Consider what was the worst part of Christmas for you?
- Think about what disappointed you?
- What didn’t you get to do that you wanted to do?
- Which were the things you did (but really didn’t want to?)
- Who didn’t you get to see that you hoped to see?
- Were there places and events you wanted to go that you didn’t get to go?
- Where did you go that you really didn’t want to go?
Hopefully the list won’t be too long, and that there will be a fair amount within your control. Your next step is to jot down a couple of actions you could take to mitigate each thing this year. Also, have a look and see if any of the things you did that you didn’t really enjoy can be struck from the list next year. I have a friend who hates sending cards, so she doesn’t. She knows that her friends would rather she cut the stress out of her life and enjoy the extra time it gives her rather than sit writing out cards because she feels she must.
Now have a think about the ways you could make happen some of the things you didn’t get to do and the people you didn’t get to see. For example, I didn’t get to see one of my close friends and her little girls for anything more than literally knocking on the door and swapping gifts this year. Again. So this year, I have plans to invite her and her girls over on an early weekend in December. Plus I’ll put a few crafts out for the girls and enjoy tea and a catch up with my friend. Crucially, I am going to ask her to save the date now so we know we will both have it in our diaries.
That is all you have to do for this month. However you also need to make yourself a promise that this year will be different. And you will join with me each month to create the Christmas that you want to have, and the December that you deserve.
Next month we will be looking at the jollier side of things. Also we’ll be creating our winter wishlists, and assigning some themes or tasks to each month to make it all happen.
Until then, wishing you a daffodil filled January,
ps if you would like to share any of your responses to this month’s prompts, please do let me know in the comments!
Our lovely guest writer Mimi lives in a little Victorian cottage with her husband and daughter and a great many books. She is rarely to be seen without her red lipstick or a teacup close to hand. She needs as books as she needs air and water, and writes about her love of the changing seasons, knitting, violet creams, crochet and baking over at Little Sips of Tea.