Friday, November 28, 2014

remembering our festive intentions

a vivid, Australian festive palette; hibiscus flowers and Christmas bush

December is only a few days away and as the hype sets in, it's good to come back to our intentions.

It's so easy to get swept up and carried away with the crowds, isn't it? I'm quite influential at this time of year and although I'm getting better at keeping my ground and maintaining my priorities, I often find myself buying the unnecessary and succumbing to the excess. But this year is a little different. With all the decluttering we've done of late (I estimate we sold or donated one-third of our belongings) I'm reminded daily of the benefits and beauty of simplicity. It would feel like I was undoing a lot of good, time-consuming work if I went out and purchased on a whim.

Earlier this week Daniel and I went shopping for the children's presents. I think Che's at an age where the standard for gift giving will be set; from here on in he'll have expectations and we want to make sure they're not too far fetched (despite the fact that the number one item on his wish list was "time machine"). We kept a budget in mind and discussed every purchase and we asked ourselves over and over again: is this something that will last and will it inspire hours of play? Storage was also a priority for me; before I bought something I spent time considering where it would live - important for a clutter-free home.

I admit, this is probably the most organised I've ever been and I'm fast realising the benefits of starting early. I won't be rushing around in the week before Christmas, hence there won't be any spontaneous purchases or wasted time (avoiding the crowds is a goal worth having!).

Most of my shopping is done which means I can bask in the good of the season; togetherness, holidays, gratitude, ocean swims and shared meals.

What are your priorities at this time of year? Do you feel like you get swept up in the madness?


  1. For me it's Advent. I'm excited to celebrate the holiday while pregnant! It gives a whole new quality to my meditations and readings for the season. I felt the same way about my son's presents as you did, except we do gifts on Saint Nicholas day, which is December 6th, but everything we bought for him was indicative of quality and how much he will actually use it. We got him some little puzzle stacking people and a candle making kit (one of the easy beeswax kind) so that his play can extend out to others and we also put little gold dollar coins and chocolate coins in the stocking (this goes along with the history of Saint Nicholas) and maybe a holy card or small book. :) We do our gifts in stockings only, so it keeps us from getting too much stuff or having too many expectations. We also do gifts all year round at different festivals, though they're always smaller, so we don't make St. Nicholas day too 'big' for that reason. I don't feel like there is too much madness because I just choose to not make it a maddening time. I think some people feel that Christmas has to be a 'big' thing to live up to society's standards and I just say phooey to that. Make it what is important to your family, that's what truly matters! For us it's about Faith and Togetherness.

  2. I feel I'm doing very well this year too! I've recently had a huge mind shift (or rather had my eyes open I suppose) and am hell bent on only buying good quality, ethical whenever possible and asking myself whether we really need something or just want it for the the sake of buying. With that in mind my almost two year old is getting a total of 3 gifts from us this Christmas (a vintage tricycle that I'm in the process of restoring, a little vintage portable blackboard to keep her entertained on our road trips this summer and a handmade toy wooden camera from a local online store). Like you I'm hoping that all of these are things that will keep her entertained for many years to come and can then been handed down to siblings/ cousins. The way we see it, shes probably going to be receiving an awful lot from friends and family at Christmas anyway!

  3. Our family shares these sentiments .. Our two yr old will get a balance bike and the whole family gets new singlets. Our two year old will also buy a gift for the baby - due in the new year.

  4. Ooooh, I wonder what Che wants that time machine for. Is he moving forward, or back?

  5. we really try to appreciate all facets of the holiday season - family, traditions, gathering, gratitude - and giving is an equally sweet aspect, so long as it doesn't become the CENTRAL aspect. that said, this post was a great reminder for me to take time to be thoughtful with selection of any presents we buy. "is this something that will last and will it inspire hours of play?", what a great question! thank you. xo

  6. I went Christmas shopping with my friend about a month ago to get a start and on that day I did 95% of the was awesome and I was happy with what I ended up getting. I need to send presents off to my sister, her hubby and 3 kids in Perth so that always has to be small and lightweight gifts otherwise postage ends up costing more than the gifts which is crazy. Sounds like you've settled nicely into your new home and it will be lovely to create traditions in this house for your first Christmas. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  7. Jodi, I couldn't agree more. My husband and I also did a ton of de-cluttering this year, and we're loving the simplicity that it brought about. Christmas is definitely a time for those simplicity habits to be put to the test, though!


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