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Mindful Monday: preparing heart and home for the holiday

by Meagan Francis on November 21, 2011

Last week, my Mindful Monday intention was simple: get a jump-start on work and tie up some other loose ends so that my family can have a relaxed, mellow December. It really helped: I managed to knock off some tasks that have been lingering too long on the to-do list, Jon and I sat down together to create a sane work calendar (since we’re both self-employed, we have to check in pretty regularly with one another to make sure we’re fairly – and realistically – balancing the work load) and I even finally dealt with some backed-up paperwork that had taken over my desk. I love how reminding myself to focus on one thing seems to clear up the background noise and allow me to make real progress.

I’m carrying the “preparing for the holidays” intention forward this week, but this time I’m going to focus on holiday planning and rituals, and creating an atmosphere of peace and relaxation in our home. To help with that, I’m taking a tip from SimpleMom’s “Plan your Peaceful Christmas” series and really thinking about our holiday plans earlier than I usually would.

It’s true that I generally like to wait until December to truly get caught up in the holiday spirit…I resent when retailers try to rush the season, and avoid shopping, decorating, or even listening to a single holiday tune until after Thanksgiving. But that doesn’t mean I can’t start thinking about – and planning for – the things I’d like to do once the season has officially (to my mind, anyway) commenced.

I already summed up the who, what, and why in last week’s post, but here are some of the simple steps I’ll take this week to greet the holiday season:

  • Since we’ll be traveling all weekend, I’ll pull out all the bins of decorations and Christmas music before we leave. That way, when we get home everything will be there waiting, and I can get right to the fun part.
  • Generally we do about half of our shopping at major retailers, and the other half at small, local businesses, like our awesome toy store, book store, kitchen store and art co-op. I really enjoy shopping downtown, and don’t mind putting it off until a little further into the season. Big-box stores in December, on the other hand? I’m thinking online, all the way. This week I’ll start putting together a gift list to figure out what we can order right away to knock off that part of the list and save only the pleasurable shopping for later.
  • I’m going to take a close look at our usual holiday traditions to determine which ones we want to carry forward, which ones we want to change, and which traditions I’ve been meaning to add to our holidays but never seem to get around to. For example, for two years I’ve been meaning for us to 1) string popcorn and 2) find a way to volunteer together as a family…and yet, both years these two simple goals have gotten lost in the shuffle. This year I’m making a point of getting those things written down and on the calendar so they don’t get lost.

That’s enough for one week! But from here through the end of December, you’re likely to see the holidays come up again and again in my Mindful Monday posts and throughout the weeks. I feel strongly about “opting out” of the image of the frazzled, harried holiday mom, and creating a relaxing, restful holiday season. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas or another winter holiday, I hope you will join me in focusing on family, tradition, and peace over the next several weeks!

Are the holidays on your mind? Please share your Mindful Monday intention for the week!

Want more ideas
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

SleeplessinSummerville November 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I’m trying to wrap my mind around a plan for gift-giving. I have a very limited budget, and I think I need to give it a lot of careful thought in order to give gifts that I’m proud of without busting my budget. One of my big plans was to make baked goods for some of my gifts. Now I’m sidelined with a bum foot and it’s not certain to get better in time for me to do anything labor-intensive like candy making, so I may need to switch gears. There will be online shopping involved regardless of anything. I can only stand to go shopping in December if it’s early and I go on a week day. I just can’t take the stress of all the people standing around the stores at Christmas!

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Tragic Sandwich November 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Within a four-year period, my mother passed away, I married Mr. Sandwich, my father re-married, and my brother got married. So two years ago, we hosted the “pre-Christmas” that we have at our place the years we’re not traveling for the holidays. It seemed like the perfect time to re-evaluate some of our traditions–particularly our traditional Christmas night dinner. We all talked about which dishes we wanted to keep, and which ones didn’t thrill us as much. The result was a meal that made everyone happy. Now I just need to remember what it was!

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Emily @ Random Recycling November 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I too am loving The SimpleMom plan. Holiday cards have been ordered and last week I went to the library by myself to write up the gift list. I don’t want the gifts to be the focus this year. The sooner I get them checked off the list and wrapped and shipped, the more time I’ll have closer to Christmas to enjoy the little things. Like singing carols while making buck eye balls. :)

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SusanP November 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I would love for you to expand further on your family volunteering efforts in the holidays. Since we don’t have any family around I’d like to make our holidays more about giving than getting…. but with four small children it’s just been a pipe dream. Next year will be the year I want to get serious and I’m not sure where to begin. Sometimes I fall into the trap of too many good ideas but not sure how to pick and execute.

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Meagan Francis November 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

So glad you’re interested, Susan! I’ll definitely expand as we get further into planning. This has also been something I’ve had “good intentions” about for years, but haven’t made much headway on…you’re right that having small children just makes it more complicated, but I’m hoping this can be the year we really do something. Stay tuned!

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