After the year that’s been this Christmas will be decidedly different. Collectively we’ve gone in and out of lockdowns, missed loved ones, weathered losses, and perhaps even felt a sense of scarcity for the first time. One can’t come out the other side of such an experience without a redefinition of values or new perspective.
Many have talked about their wholehearted embrace of a slower life and a take up of wholesome hobbies over the past few months (like making sourdough or painting or gardening). However, many also wondered how long their newfound lifestyle would persist beyond lockdown.
With restriction now lifting in Melbourne we’re experiencing our first taste of freedom. It’s now impossible to get a table at your favourite restaurant. Suddenly most nights are filled with commitments and we’re all on a long waitlist for the hairdresser.
Is anyone still making sourdough? Or going to bed early? Or exploring their neighbourhood by foot with a walking buddy in tow?
Even though life is returning to normal at a pace as fast as lockdown happened, let’s not be too quick to forget the perspective we gained over these past few months. The values we redefined, and the commitments we made to ourselves and our families to slow down.
And so with Christmas, arguably the largest, most stressful day of excess around the corner, we’re taking a moment to set intentions for a more purposeful and conscious holiday period before we stumble right back into reality and the ensuing festive fervour.
This year we’re dreaming of a quiet Christmas with…
- Less obligation, more desire to surround ourselves with loved ones.
- Less hurry, more time.
- Less superfluous consumerism, more conscious choices.
If you similarly feel the need to hit pause before things really escalate, here are a few ideas and resources to inspire a slower Christmas for all:
1. Think before you overcommit
The next two months in our calendar already show telltale signs of overcommitment — full weekends, weeknight bookings and tentative plans to travel interstate when borders permit.
It’s hard to retract plans once made, so make sure you guard any spare time fiercely. Clarify priorities and anything non-essential should wait until next year. Before committing to anything new, take a moment to pause and really consider its importance and urgency before responding.
Also, schedule time in your calendar for yourself and your family. Treat it as you would any other commitment.
We found a podcast episode, 40 Ways to Slow Your Holidays, by Brooke and Ben Mcalary on their Slow Home Podcast which compiles tips from listeners on how to bring a little more slow to all areas of the holidays. We’ll be listening to this!
2. Come together, without the fuss
It’s only natural to want long lunches and lengthy dinners with our favourite people after all this time. But if you have a tendency to fuss when having people over, now is the time to go easy on yourself.
Trust us, no one will be upset if you arrange a casual barbeque instead of cooking a full meal. And if you’re hosting Christmas day, you needn’t have two types of meats and seafood and five different salads.
This Christmas we’ll aim to keep things uncomplicated with just one type of protein and a couple of different salads. Plus, delegate and ask other family members to bring dips and cheeses or dessert to alleviate the pressure on you as the host.
Here are some simple recipes we've been thinking about for our own Christmas menu that are a good opportunity to use local, seasonal produce…
- Grilled peach salad with Mozzarella, Basil and Honey by Arthur St Kitchen
- Zucchini and Sugar Snap Salad with Macadamia Pesto by Big Poppa’s in Darlinghurst published on Broadsheet
- Pavlova with Crème Fraîche, Coconut and Tropical Fruits by Ostro
3. Let go of the non essentials
Christmas is a time imbued with traditions — religious, societal, commercial. This year be selective about which traditions you embrace or forgo.
If your kids love to see the Christmas lights in the lead up to the big day then make an evening of it. But if you’re the one meticulously decking the halls with tinsel and baubles and boughs of holly, only for it to go unnoticed then maybe you can skip it this year?
Rather than purchasing gifts for all of your nieces and nephews, why not try a secret santa with the extended family? Or at least purchase gifts online where possible to avoid the stress and crowds at the shops.
As Leo Barbatua writes in his article How to Simplify the Holidays, “build a simple holiday around what matters to you. What matters most to you and your loved ones? What would be simple and beautiful? Create that holiday. Let it be simple, with space to enjoy each other and the food and traditions you care about. Let it be a simple experience full of love, without all the complications. Envision it, and build it.”
4. Make conscious choices
If you and your family are doing gifts this year, be sure to make them extra special with sustainable, local or lovingly made items that will last well beyond the holiday season and bring joy into their every day.
Explore initiatives like Click for Vic or Buy from the Bush which support small, Australian businesses who have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 closures or the fires earlier in the year. You could also explore publications like Broadsheet or The Design Files which often showcase local artists, labels and designers.
Though mass produced, trend-driven products are easy and often more affordable choices for Christmas presents, they are generally the most destructive to the people and environment involved in its production and disposal in years to come.
If you are looking for a thoughtful gift for someone special you can see our gift guide here, and we also have a collection of Melbourne-made pieces if you are looking to support local production further.
No matter how you choose to spend your Christmas, we are sending you hope, joy and wishes for the year ahead. We hope you enjoy your summer and newfound freedom - you’ve certainly earned it!