The Ultimate Guide To A Slow Christmas


Its mid November as I write this, and a part of me is thinking- is it too soon for the C word? You see, in our house I don’t really think about Christmas until December, but I’m reliably informed I’m in the minority and that many of you are thinking about it as early as September.

The reason I don’t think about it until December is my desire to live seasonally. How can you enjoy Autumn and it’s delights of turning leaves and Pumpkin Spice, when your mind is on Christmas? I get that some preparation may be necessary- perhaps you need to start buying gifts early so you can comfortably manage a budget, or get things on sale. Retailers of course are also a key part of why we start thinking about Christmas so early. I remember being horrified at seeing tubs of Quality Street and Roses on offer for £5 in Tesco a few months back. The arrival of pallets of chocolate tubs in the supermarket is the hallmark of British Christmas- and it was far too early for me!

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is often seen as a Victory marker- if you aren’t stressed, making plans to see everything and anything or hosting everyone you know for Christmas day, are you even doing it right? It’s a shame that this “need” to be busy is felt so strongly this time of year, when we should in fact be doing the very opposite. In the dark half of the year we should be slowing down, reflecting and turning inward like nature herself does.

If you desire to slow down this Christmas, and to take the time to really enjoy it, then read on for my ultimate guide to a Slow Christmas.

What is a Slow Christmas?

A Slow Christmas is the opposite of the sort of Christmas we are probably all used to. It doesn’t have a strict defintion per se, but for me at least it encapsulates these ideas:

  • Spending quality time with loved ones, not just giving and receiving presents.
  • Choosing to give a few thoughtful gifts, rather than filling your home with things that will end up in the bin or charity shop in a few months time.
  • Having just a few simple (possibly homemade) decorations out, rather than a tree bursting at the seams with ornaments.
  • Going for a walk in the woods, instead of running around the shops.
  • Engaging in just a couple of Christmas activities, not booking yourself out every weekend until January!
  • Letting yourself breathe, and to really take in the magic of the season.

Homemade Gingerbread Cupcakes- A delicious Christmas bake!

How can I enjoy a Slow Christmas?

Start by affirming to yourself that a Slow Christmas is what you want, need and deserve. If your Christmas season has been very busy in the past, and there is an expectation that this is how it will be again, address that. Talk to your family and let them know your desire for a Slow Christmas, and the benefits you feel it will bring. Perhaps suggest a new Christmas ritual of sorts that signifies this- Baking cookies together, a walk somehwere you’ve never been, or some other form of quality time. You might not be able to extract yourself from everything that is expected of you (You won’t be popular if you cancel a long standing offer to host Christmas dinner at the last minute!) but you can make a start.

Christmas scenes at Cliveden.

Benefits of a Slow Christmas

For me, the best thing about having a slow Christmas is the calm of it all. I’m not racing around the shops looking for presents every weekend, or spending a fortune going on various trips or elaborate gifts. Instead I’m at home baking, reading and spending time with my Husband (who always takes the majority of December off work) being present in the moment.

Some other key benefits:

  1. Spending less money by saying no to expensive trips and excess gifts.
  2. Having time to do what you want to do, and not what everyone (or society) expects.
  3. Capturing the magic of the season by being present in it- something that’s so important for adults who tend to feel the magic of Christmas wane as we grow older (and responsible for making this happen for others)
  4. Having real quality time with those we love and want to spend time with.
  5. A chance to rest.

Christmas time at the Cliveden House.

Top Tips for a Slow Christmas

Remember- this is YOUR Christmas. Some of these tips may work for you, but probably not all! These are merely suggestions to get you thinking.

  1. Decorate thoughtfully- you don’t need to put out every decoration you own. The less you put out, the less there is to clean, and then put away- bonus! Perhaps a craft project to make decorations would be a perfect way to experience that Christmas magic.
  2. Pick one to two Christmas activities, and forget the rest. Perhaps a Christmas market trip, and a visit to National Trust home thats been decorated for the season? For families with young children maybe a visit to a local panto, or other low key family event. (Not spending a small fortune to see Santa and receive tat!)
  3. Limit the number of gifts you buy. This should be discussed beforehand to avoid potential dissapointment.
  4. Say no to invitations that don’t align with your vision for Christmas.
  5. Let go of traditions that don’t serve you, and take up your precious time for little reward.
  6. Don’t feel obligated to prepare an elaborate feast.
  7. If you do love cooking a big meal, try prepping elements of it in advance so you don’t spend the whole day in the kitchen.
  8. Listening to music, reading stories and doing puzzles are lovely slow ways of enjoying the day.
  9. Unless you really want to go, say no to New Years invitations and enjoy an evening spent doing something you love.
  10. Go offline and focus on being present with your loved ones.

Are you planning a Slow Christmas? What are your top tips to experience the magic of the season as an Adult? Let me know in the comments!


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