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5 Ways to Create a Meaningful and Stress-Free Christmas Experience

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, and how small changes we can make both in our mindset and our actions can make a significant difference to our levels of anxiety and stress.

While some contributing factors are out of our control, let's focus on the things that are within it!

1: Intentionality

I think a lot has to do with being intentional with our time and actions. When we're deciding on gifts for our loved ones, if money is feeling a bit tight (as it does for a lot of us this year), let's be really conscientious about how and where we're spending it. Think about meaning and longevity. Does the gift represent something special about your relationship with the other person? Will it be used/worn/admired long after the tree has been shoved back in the loft/garden/tip? Will it bring joy to their lives for a truly magical moment or months or even years to come?

This year I'm leaning into the gratitude practice I started this summer, which is making a very real (and honestly, unexpected) difference to my daily life. So for the festive season I'm thinking about who and what I'm grateful for and why. I'm considering what it is that I share with that person and what I most value, and trying to weave that into my gift buying. It's actually making the process a whole lot more pleasurable, and in an unexpected turn of events - quicker! It's really helped focus and refine the decision making.

Birthstone necklaces, bestsellers last Christmas

Read more about why they are such a powerful gift for mothers HERE

2: Conscientious sourcing

Also think about asking yourself this; can I purchase this or something similar from a small or local business, rather than just defaulting to Amazon or other such retail giants?

Supporting small businesses brings so much joy and meaning to every single person involved - you're investing in real people with real families and lives where they're trying to make a difference, and trying to build a new world which thrives on creativity, passion and personal ambition. And aren't these things to be valued and supported? What would our world look like if there were no creative souls putting their work out there, if it was all mass-produced and unethically produced to get the cheapest price possible. The world needs art, it needs heart.

And you know what? Creative business owners are good at what they do! Like, really good - they value and appreciate individual customers as people, not just as data and profit. They add personal touches, flair; they are a real person at the end of the line if help is needed, they are someone who just really cares.

So by supporting small and local businesses, yes of course we 'do a happy dance' as the familiar message reminds us, but it's so, SO much more than that. And it's not just one sided. It doesn't just benefit the seller, it benefits literally everyone involved.

Your hard earned money is invested in something really worthwhile that makes a very real and tangible difference to someones life; the business owner earns some money to pay their bills and sustain their life in a way that aligns with their particular skillset and passion; and the recipient receives a gift that has been chosen and made with real thought and care.

What's not to love about that?

Eco-Silver necklaces and earrings, a thoughtful gift for your environmentally conscious friends, or perhaps also those who are learning to love their bodies more:

Read more about the meaning and process behind this collection HERE

3: Outsourcing

On a practical note, any little wins to cut down on jobs to do can make a big difference to our mental load at this time of year!

It's worth thinking about the things that you feel you "should" be doing, and asking yourself, is that really true? Does it align with your values, capacity, budget, availability? Will it bring you joy or more stress? Can it be substituted with something simpler, or let go of entirely? Can someone else help with it instead? If it's important, does something else need to give, to allow a little more space for the important things?

A great place to start is simply when buying your Christmas presents, if you hate wrapping and it's something you dread and put off - see if the seller offers gift wrapping. Usually they can also send direct to the recipient too - saving you both time and money (and precious headspace!).

I offer gift wrapping all year round, but at Christmas I also include a beautiful Christmas card from another independant maker (currently the wonderful Laura Stoddart) which I hand write with your personalised note when sending the order direct to your loved one.

When you're viewing the item in your basket in my Etsy shop, simply tick the box "This order is a gift" and you will see your options to upgrade to Gift Wrapping and also a box to add your personal note (this option of a personal note can be added to all orders at no extra cost, not just gift wrapped ones).

Complete the purchase and I will do all the rest - you can immediately tick off another job from your To Do list, and know that your order will be wrapped beautifully and sent promptly to your loved one with just the click of a button! Phew!

Wrapping orders at Christmas (L-R: gift wrap with christmas card, & standard packaging with gift note)

4: Self-care

Christmas can be a challenging time for our mental health also, for myriad reasons, and anything we can do to support and be kind to ourselves will go a long way. It is certainly a time when our workload and mental load increases exponentially, whilst also fending off winter bugs, fatigue, and an entirely natural urge to slow down and hunker down for the colder months.

I hope these tips help somewhat, and if you are feeling the weight of it all this festive season, or are interested in reading a bit more about managing our expectations of Christmas emotions - as well as how we can support our local businesses - then I highly recommend reading this blog post by Malachy Dunne of Lifetime Therapy (based in Falmouth, Cornwall):

It's a fantastic and thought provoking read that mirrors my recent thoughts on having a conscientious and intentional Christmas this year. But I would expand on his one point regarding shopping online - I believe you will still get the feel-good vibes from buying from a small independent maker/store virtually as you would in store. It's about supporting small businesses - real indviduals - wherever we can, to really make a difference.

So please do consider supporting small businesses this year, both online and in bricks and mortar shops.

As Malachy quotes Peter Seegar in the article as saying, "Think Globally, and Act Locally".

Lifetime Therapy autumnal image of acorns in hands

Click to read the article by Lifetime Therapy founder, Malachy Dunne

5: Make it meaningful

Our loved ones are so special to us, and deserve something equally meaningful at this time when we want to show our love and appreciation for those who make our lives so much brighter.

So let's pledge to be extra thoughtful with our festive decisions this year, and spend our hard earned money in thoughtful ways to bring joy to those dear to us, and also support our local and small business wherever we are able to, to spread the love and kindness even further.

I know when we receive a gift that perhaps isn't what we would have chosen ourselves, we often say "oh it's the thought that counts". I think it's easy to forget how true this really is. So whether you're in a position to spend money on gifts this year or not, let's just remember, it's the thought that counts. Whether it's a meaningful gift or some heartfelt words in a card; if we put the thought in, that's when the magic and the love appear. And that's what Christmas is really about, isn't it?

I hope you enjoyed this post - if you did, please consider signing up to my email letters, a quiet invitation to reflect and connect, as well as the usual perks of early access to new collections and offers, and tips and advice and personal writings from me.


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