Slow down and simplify – tips for a more contented Christmas

By Marnie Prowse from Tiny Haus


The holiday season can be crazy, frantic, overwhelming and exhausting. If any or all of those words describe your typical Christmas, maybe it’s time to consider slowing things down. Instead of getting caught up in the manic energy created by society and the media, focus on yourself and your family. It could be the start of a new appreciation of the season.

Think it’s impossible? It really isn’t – it just takes a little thought and visualisation. Talk to your family and see what they think their ideal Christmas would look like. Take all their input and write it down, or better yet create a mood board. Work collaboratively to create a vision for Christmas that everyone will enjoy. Then see how to achieve it.

Do the meals and food associated with the Christmas season get overwhelming? Find ways to pare down. Learn how to say “no” – don’t accept party invitation or gift swap events. That way, when you do accept an invitation that means something to you, you’ll savour the food – and the company – that much more. Simplify Christmas dinner too – so much time and energy go into the preparation and the clean-up that often, we dread the meal itself. Have everyone in the family pick one favourite dish, then narrow it down. A simpler meal is much more enjoyable for everyone and eliminates all the leftover food.

Gifts are another area we tend to go overboard. All the plastic in toys and games is unsustainable and often, the kids play with them for a few hours and then forget them. When it comes to gifts for children, I like the “Want, Need, Wear, Read” strategy. The idea behind this strategy is that each child gets four gifts – something they want, something they need, something they can wear, and something to read.

Let the kids be part of this. Explain the strategy to them – a conversation that will go differently depending on the age of the child. Older children will need to think about what they really want, causing them to learn mindfulness and focus on what’s important. For example, the “want” gift can help them understand what really makes them happy, and the “need” gift helps them understand the difference between want and need. Younger children may need a little guidance, but it’s a good tradition to start early.

Simplifying holiday décor is another way to slow things down. Eliminate the excess – find decorations in nature or use homemade items. When your surroundings are simple and calm, they will help you feel that way too, even during the so-called “silly season.”

If you thought there was no hope for simplifying Christmas, think again. Even if you just put one of these tips into action, you’ll see how much of a difference it can make. Work toward slowing things down, and you may soon find you’re having the best Christmas of your life.


Marnie is a slow-life advocate and the founder of Tiny Haus Lifestyle. She lives, works, plays and entertains in a ‘tiny house’, and when she’s not coaching clients towards a simpler more contented lifestyle, she’s sharing her practical wisdom with the likes of us and her own audience at tinyhaus.com.au.

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