The children were keen to have everyone's presents placed under the tree yesterday afternoon and well ahead of them going off to bed. This meant, we could all spend time quietly enjoying the tree with its soft lights twinkling for much of the late afternoon and into the evening, and there was no last minute rushing around trying to find sellotape or gift tags because gift wrapping had been left to the very last minute.
Gift wrapping was done & dusted well ahead of time and everyone was able to just enjoy Christmas Eve without any additional eleven hour receiving or giving of gifts' worries. Having everyone sorted well ahead of time on the gift giving and gift wrapping front was just so lovely!
It was so nice to simply snuggle down on Christmas Eve in a cosy dressing gown, with a cup of herbal tea on hand, and know that the day ahead was going to involve time at home together and time for just be-ing.
We made the decision ahead of time to forego going to the Christmas Morning Church Service. In years past, we have attended Christmas Eve Carol Service and often also the Christmas Day Service. However, this year as part of trying to keep our experience of Christmas simpler and less crammed with activity, we began the day at home with everyone just waking in their own time and getting up at their own leisure.
It was nice to take our time to begin the activities of the day, without any pressure of meeting a specific schedule, or having to rush off to carry out some long distance travelling. Having a simpler schedule for the day felt really good from the outset. It is amazing how 'less' really is 'more', when it comes to keeping a day free of excessive activity and busyness.
After getting dressed, I went out and harvested some produce from the garden in order to begin putting together Christmas Lunch, which would be our main meal for the day.
Before long, the children were asking if it was time for presents, and after the chicken and potatoes were put in the oven for roasting, we did indeed all sit down and enjoy exchanging gifts with each other.
By the way, isn't this Christmas mug super cute! I found four of them the other day, all of them are slightly different, at a Dollar Store. Over the month of December, I thought it would be fun to use Christmas themed crockery, rather than our usual crockery. I enjoyed my first cup of herbal tea for the day in this particular mug.
After the exchanging gifts, I settled into the kitchen to get the salad ready for lunch. In order to embrace a simpler approach to celebrating Christmas this year, (here is the link if you want to watch the actual video I put together & shared on Youtube on How to have a Simpler, yet Stylish Christmas), we kept our overall menu for the day simple, and also very much budget friendly this year.
Our main meal for Christmas Day comprised of roast chicken with roast potatoes, plus a salad. Most of the produce in the actual green salad was harvested straight from our own garden, with the organic chicken and any other food items purchased well ahead of time, during our last grocery shop.
A surprise find of a beautiful head of broccoli while out in the garden inspired me to prepare broccoli with cheese sauce to accompany what else was on offer also, and this was very much enjoyed by everyone. Yay, for a bountiful harvest of greens on Christmas Day!
It really worked well having our Christmas Day menu planned well in advance. Having everything onhand in the freezer or pantry (or ready to quickly grab from in the garden, as the case may be) eliminated a lot of last minute stress that could have reared its ugly head. With everything washed, sliced or grated early on in the day, it also kept the main components of the day's food preparation very easy to navigate through also.
The Kiwi classic dessert, Pavlova was enjoyed by all in the late afternoon, after some time was spent either watching the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol on Youtube, or doing other leisurely quiet indoor activities. Incidental showers of rain have not dampened anyone's spirits, we have all been happy to be indoors and going about our various quiet activities regardless.
The plan going forward into the evening of Christmas Day will be to spend some time reflecting as a family on this being the day dedicated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, and we are looking to take time to watch The Nativity Story movie together as the day draws finally to a close.
Having embraced keeping our celebration of Christmas simpler this year, the incidental comments throughout the day about it being one of the nicest Christmases we have each had, have been interesting to receive as feedback.
Less busyness, and more time for just be-ing have been appreciated. Everyone has expressed appreciation for the gifts they have received, and it will be really nice to move forward into the new year with no additional expenses lurking waiting to be paid off, because what was purchased was done so within budget.
Overall, the consenus appears to be unanimous within my own household: A simpler Christmas is possible AND it appears to be highly appreciated. It might be worth considering in your own household, if you have found this year a little more stress-filled and busier than you would really like. By all accounts, my own family seem to be thinking that simplicity really IS the way forward for a richer and fuller life experience for us all, expecially when it comes to celebrating Christmas. Happy Holidays, Everyone.