When Christmas Perfection leads to overwhelm

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and also the most everything time of the year.

It’s the time to eat the most cookies and desserts you’ve had all year.

It’s the time to cook the most elaborate meal you’ve made all year.

It’s the time to get out all the fancy china, with way too many pieces of silverware and all the special serving spoons and butter knives and gravy boats and snowman spatulas, and on and on and on.

(When really your normal set of dishes and cutlery would do.)

You don’t need all those things and all those desserts and all those Christmas cards to write— but yet we write them.

And we stress because we waited too long and now they might not make it in time for Christmas. And the presents still aren’t wrapped and…

You might feel overwhelmed. Honestly I’m not partaking in any of the above (except the eating desserts) but I got overwhelmed just now typing it all out.

It’s not your normal. It’s no one’s normal. So it’s completely okay to feel overwhelmed this time of year. Don’t feel guilty or like you’re just not able to handle it like everyone else is.

They can’t handle it either. Everyone is pushing extra hard this month to get everything done and to make things just perfect.

But I think that’s one of the big flaws. This idea of Christmas Perfection. Maybe it’s how we saw our own parents handle the holidays, where everything seemed so effortless because we were kids and didn’t know the half of it. Or maybe it’s to live up to some Instagram expectation that’s now become our standard.

Whatever it is, this idea isn’t sustainable, and it’s hardly attainable. (tweet that)

We exhaust ourselves by making sure the appetizers are perfectly spaced on the tray, while looking over our shoulder to make sure the right wines are being paired with the right cheeses.

It’s too much.

What if we did Christmas a different way this year? What if we minimized all the plates and little spoons. What if we only made our favorite few dishes and really savored them. What if we only bought half the Christmas gifts and didn’t send out any cards.

What would that Christmas look like? Would it look like a Pinterest fail, or would it actually look a lot closer to how we remember Christmases feeling when we were kids? Carefree, fun, and memorable.

Would we have more time to sit down, and admire our favorite few Christmas decorations we put out this year? Would we engage more directly with those around us, instead of worrying about a half-hearted card in the mail? Maybe we would pick up the phone and call the few people we actually think about on Christmas. Or, maybe we’d have more time to think of more people.

What is your idea of Christmas Perfection? Is it something you can post on Instagram? Or is it something you have to be there to feel? Something only those around you can experience together?

Whatever it is, I wish you a lovely Christmas. And I wish you peace. Peace of mind and peace within yourself. I wish you a slow pace and a happy heart. And lots and lots of dessert.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

The speed you’re not used to

With all the holiday rush and the hundreds of things we think we need to check off our to-do lists, take a minute to read this quote from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist:

paul coelhoSome people go through life like they’re in slow motion. For others, everything is a rushed blur. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, but have days that lean to either extreme.

The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and savor every moment with family and friends, but usually the opposite gets prioritized, resulting in stress and fatigue. (tweet that)

This time of year more than ever, try and find pleasure in the speed you’re not used to. If you’re rushing more than usual, try and find joy in the experience. See if you can keep up your pace but lose the stress and the hectic state of mind. Embrace that this is your speed this time of year.

Or, if you can, slow down a bit. Go completely counter to what everyone else is doing and really be present this December. You might feel pulled to “do more” or be in ten places at once. But is that what will make you happy? Go slow despite the social pressures. Do what feels right for you. As Coelho says, allow a new person to grow inside of you.

On a related note, check out Sage On Earth, a travel blog I recently found about a family of four who combines simple living with family adventure, “discovering our beautiful world at a different pace.” P.S. They have a beautiful instagram, too.

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

A minimalist meditation for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on what we have and to understand that we have enough. (tweet that)

Here’s a simple meditation exercise you can do today to celebrate gratitude.

Find a spot in your home to sit and just spend a few moments taking in all that’s around you. Look at your home. Look at what’s in it. Allow your mind to recall memories sparked by the different items. Equally allow your mind to recognize when items don’t bring up any feelings in particular, and could easily be removed from your space without any loss to you.

Enjoy the feeling of comfort that gratitude often brings, as we feel safe in our surroundings. This is your home. Whatever it is, you have made it yourself. Whether you brought in the items one by one, or whether you are living in a home that was furnished by someone else. It is your home.

Take note of how you feel as you sit in this part of the house. Are you calm? Stressed? Is your mind racing or at peace? What made you choose this spot in the first place?

Often we become so used to our home, we glaze over the items in it without ever really looking at them since the day we placed them on the shelf. Take this time of Thanksgiving to really look. Look at each item and feel gratitude for it.

If you find with some items that it’s difficult to feel genuine gratitude, take that as a sign you can live without it. Remove it from your home. This time before the holidays is a perfect time to donate items (especially in good condition) to second hand stores and charities.

By passing things on to someone who can better use them, we allow ourselves the chance to feel genuine gratitude toward the things we truly enjoy. Without the unnecessary clutter, we can really see those items which spark fond memories and loving thoughts. Aren’t those feelings what Thanksgiving is all about? Give yourself and your family the chance enjoy them. You might find it becomes one more thing you can be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends,

Brianna

 

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Should I buy a Halloween costume I’ll only wear once? | Ask LFB

Hey Brianna,

With Halloween coming up, I was just thinking about the different parties and events, and it seems like you have to buy all this stuff to really have fun. Costumes and all the accessories it might need, plus sometimes face paint or other special hair/makeup stuff. How does an aspiring minimalist handle this holiday when I know I’ll never use this stuff after October 31?

—Amber

Welcome to the LFB fam, Amber!

Halloween can be so much fun once you find (or make) the perfect costume! But, you’re right – what about after Halloween? Do you shove the costume in your closet, knowing full well you wont wear it again? Do you keep the special makeup in with your daily makeup, as a constant reminder of its uselessness in your life now?

Let me ask you this: are you looking forward to this costume party? Do you see yourself having fun? If you could take it or leave it, then I’d say either skip dressing up, or skip the event all together. But, if you know it will be a blast, then go for it! Go all out! And donate the costume and whatever else you acquire to your local thrift store on November 1st.

There’s nothing wrong with buying something that serves a purpose. Even if it’s a short-lived purpose. (tweet that)

If money is an issue, see if you can DIY something together using what you already have, or buy something for the costume that you can see yourself also using afterwards. Or, ask a friend if you can borrow a costumes from a few years ago (chances are they still have some in their closet!)

Remember that the definition of minimalism (that LFB likes to use) is “everything you need and nothing more”. So, if you need something for a special event, be it Halloween or a wedding, or accompanying your friend to a religious service, or a vacation in a different climate, go ahead and buy what you need.

Hope this helped, Amber. Happy Halloween!

Brianna

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.