Soap­box: Au­thor Eleanor Ozich on sim­pli­fy­ing Christ­mas

When it comes to avoid­ing the pres­sure and stress of the fes­tive sea­son, au­thor Eleanor Ozich plans to pare back prepa­ra­tions for a sim­ple Christ­mas

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AA few years ago, my fam­ily and I moved to the out­skirts of the city, and set about en­joy­ing a much calmer way of life. Let­ting go of un­nec­es­sary clut­ter and adopt­ing a sim­pler style of liv­ing, I found my­self with more time and en­ergy to ap­pre­ci­ate fam­ily, friends and the small plea­sures in life.

Since mak­ing this shift in life­style, I’ve be­come very con­scious of just how over­whelm­ing the fes­tive sea­son can be, and how easy it is to get caught up in the crazi­ness of it all. In the build-up to Christ­mas, there’s all kinds of ad­ver­tis­ing try­ing to con­vince us the best kind of hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions in­volve more – more presents, more dec­o­ra­tions, more events, more money spent, but truth is, we all know deep down that the most im­por­tant part are ex­pe­ri­ences rather than ev­ery­thing else.

And so this year I’ve de­cided to take a step back, and to have a more mind­ful and peace­ful ap­proach to Christ­mas. While I love to em­brace the magic and joy of the fes­tiv­i­ties, cer­tainly there’s a way to do so that’s sim­ple and re­laxed – for ev­ery­one’s sake.

If you take a mo­ment to think about Christ­mases past, and your most cher­ished mem­o­ries, the chances are your best mem­o­ries aren’t about stuff but the sim­ple, lit­tle tra­di­tions, and the time spent with each other. And so with this in mind, and a pen and pa­per in hand, I de­cided to write down five things that, to me, de­scribe what Christ­mas is all about. Love, qual­ity time, food, giv­ing and slow­ness.

Next, I used these three words to in­spire a small Christ­mas list, keep­ing it at­tain­able, and par­ing things down to what re­ally mat­ters the most. This in­cludes get­to­geth­ers to at­tend, a re­al­is­tic bud­get to stick to, and gifts to buy. The idea is that when­ever I’m in a flurry of to-do’s, I can come back to this piece of pa­per, and feel re­minded of what’s im­por­tant.

We have a ‘one present per loved one’ pol­icy, and find this to be a sim­ple, straight­for­ward, and easy to man­age ap­proach that en­sures we don’t over­spend, pur­chas­ing presents that are both

The chances are, your best mem­o­ries aren’t about stuff but the time spent with each other

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