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How to create a slow meaningful Christmas.

Updated: Feb 21

Even if that is totally alien to you & you don't know where to start.

Life has been shifting in huge ways for me this year has it for you?

Running your own business, it's jolly hard to switch off, ok it's bloody impossible!

After more than 30 years in retail, frantic from mid-October to the 30th of December, I want to finally feel like a grown-up graceful woman who has her life together. Elegant, with a beautiful home that smells divine, the perfect manicure, outfit, all to-do lists with big fat ✔ on them, tablescapes (I hissed that) & an air of "I closed my laptop on the 15th darling & don't go back until the 8th"


I will probably skid into the 23rd ruddy-cheeked, something dolloped on my shirt, on my 4th medicinal g&t, close to hyperventilating.

There's only one thing for it... I have to mentally decide to change this because I genuinely want a cosy, slow, family & friends Christmas. I must permit myself to prioritise, basically, the whole month of December, to create the kind of set-up I've been dreaming of and let go of business for a short while with some check-ins of course.

Ok, so my mindset is on point, now for the practical stuff.

Bring out the BIG Planner. The one that makes you feel like a Pro.

The one that starts now.

23rd of October kind of now. Like this one: Simple Christmas Planner

Are you with me?

A few lovely pressies giftwrapped
A few lovely pressies

Here is a list of 15 things I would recommend how to create a slow meaningful Christmas

Tell me in the comments below, what will you try or what other ideas have you got?

  1. I still love Christmas cards but instead of frantically writing out 80 from a bumper box, the last 10 with questionable handwriting and a few red wine splodges, I'm going to buy nice ones for my favourite 20 people. I will also remember to post them in time.

  2. Setting an approximate / near enough budget. I don't want to have to worry about every £1.99 but have more of a seasonal approach. I want to know that I've got enough, I'm not going to starve in January & it's going to be a cosy lovely time. Budgeting is an essential part of life, but you do not have to be super strict or measure every penny all the time to be successful in managing your money. I love to categorise budgets into food & booze, going out, pressies, decor & self-care. This way, we'll approach it sensibly. & yes I always keep the receipts so I can do a reccy.

  3. Keeping receipts not just for the spending reccy, but just in case we need to do a return. They're in an envelope tucked away. I like to keep my pressie list each year so I can remember what I bought for who & it reminds me if they loved it enough to want another similar thing or not! Slow living style is buying less, buying from local makers & producers, handmaking gifts & putting extra love into each choice instead of piling up plastic toys & gimmicky stuff that gets a laugh but ends up in a landfill by New Year.

  4. I get so wrapped up in other people's pressies I have no idea what I'd like! Apart from squillions of notebooks, cookbooks & a bottle of perfume that is. I fancy a botanically fragranced perfume but I don't know where to start, Any suggestions? Pop them in the comments please - & don't worry, you can do it as a guest you don't need to muck about signing in. If you're doing a Secret Santa, maybe buy second-hand, pre-loved items which support a more sustainable approach. Be mindful of gift wrap, glitter & plastic packaging. Use pieces of fabric, twine, brown parcel paper (my favourite) I always save ribbons, paper if I can & all the gift bags so that they get used every year as long as they last. Putting effort into gift wrapping shows love & when you have aesthetically beautiful gifts under the tree it looks all the more wonderful. Not sure what you think of having a tree... When you think of it, it does seem absurd that we grow trees, cut them down again just to use to decorate our homes then they get slung somewhere. A rooted tree that you can bring in each December could well be the answer &you still get that smell.

  5. Diarise, on an A4 calendar, who is coming, when, are they staying the night, are you going out, are you needing dog sitters, who's Christmas party is when & will they need picking up... This is always the base from which to build out everything else. I should probably have put it at N° 1 but hey ho. Slow Living doesn't mean not going out, not having parties but it does mean putting self-care first, not going crazy overboard with anything & making simpler, calmer decisions. It means getting outdoors to breathe in the season, look around & absorb nature's finest even if it's grey & mizzly. Decompress your body & brain with gentle activities that bring you pleasure.

  6. When are you wanting to go food shopping? One year we did the right thing by buying chocolates, crisps, nuts & booze a few weeks beforehand so that the roast dinner part was meant to be easier in terms of the volume of shopping. You can guess what happened. This year, I need to put them waaaaaaaay out of reach. Now, because I don't get out much I shall probably enjoy rather than endure the food shopping this year! And I want to. If you hate doing this, get it all delivered. These time slots get snapped up very quickly so if you do want to have it brought to you, GET BOOKING! Then you can add to your list as you want, need or remember. Take your time. Most slots open at the end of Nov, but google the question for your favourite foody place. You might prefer to go old school & visit local butchers, fruit & veg markets & farm shops. This always feels wonderful, leisurely & what a slow living lifestyle is all about. Or maybe, you've been busy in your garden or allotment so that you've got a bounty of winter veg just waiting to be plucked, cut or dug out of the ground. Now THAT is the dream.

  7. Order the Turkey, sausages etc from your local butchers who will specialise in local suppliers. I know they cost more. But if you can, you know you get what you pay for. If you need to keep costs super low, do what I've done many years on the trot, buy a huge chicken or 3 smaller ones. Buying local, buying less, buying well.

  8. Stuffing, veggies, & even roast potatoes can be cooked & then frozen. But there's nothing like my Justin's roast potatoes freshly triple cooked with rosemary & I don't even know what. When you've got your calendar, you know how many, who, what time, and who is going to be doing what. But for the essence of a peaceful season, you might like to have very little on the calendar & plenty of candles, hot chocolate & films to watch. If you do have a lot of loved ones, working backwards to create prep & cooking timelines is your best option. Make as much as you can, less packaging waste & so much nicer.

Christmas homemade nuts
Christmas homemade nuts

9. Delegation. Unless you are the ghost of Christmas Martyrs or if you're the only non-poorly one in your house, everyone will willingly take a job or two. Dish out the ones you don't like! Last year we were invited to our friend's house where the hosts were just The Best! You never go home hungry or sober from their home. Anyway, we each brought a big dish or two plus lots of drinkies. This way, we had the best time ever & even with triple priced taxis for the evening pre-booked, it wasn't as expensive as it would have been hosting it alone. Because we all chipped in we all felt significantly less stress & spent precious time together laughing.

10. Fairy Lights - you know you meant to wrap them around something last year so that they were perfectly organised for this year? Almost as bad as on a Sunday night when you go sleepily upstairs to discover the clean linen is not yet on the stripped bed. Plug em in first, no point spending your time unravelling them if they're broken. FYI Tesco's & Sainsbury's nearly always reduce their fairy lights at the start of December. Looking after what you have, appreciating things is part of having a more meaningful approach to life. So do take care of things after the festivities so that they are still beautiful next year. My nan used to have glass baubles dating from I don't know when. Every year they would be carefully unwrapped & rewrapped in tissue paper & placed back in their cubby holes inside their box. This simple ritual, in itself, was part of the spirit of Christmas. Take your time with the things & people you love, no rush.

11. Micheal Bublé ✔ Bottle of slurptastic red ✔ Beautiful gift wrap or kraft paper, sellotape on a desk mount & last years rescued ribbons ✔ Foliage & pine cones, rosemary sprigs & faux berries ✔ . You are ready for The Gift Wrapping Event. I gather gifts by person, take photos of the things I've bought then wrap them in a matching style. I love it, it keeps me sane & I feel super Christmassy & have mini themes per person. Having your traditions makes everything feel all right in the world.

12. Make your own door wreath & tablescaping arrangement. Not so easy if you're a city or town dweller but get outside & enjoy nature's wonders. Book in for a wreath-making class, my mum & I did this last year at our local flower farm. It was full of lovely women, loads of beautiful craft bits and we even had prosecco & chocolates to help us along. Using what nature provides feels good, smells delightful & looks incredible.

13. The annual "Which shop has the best mince pies" will be in our conversations & on the tv. Even if you're not the best baker in the world, sticking the radio on, making a hot cup of coffee & making your own on a Sunday morning is very grounding in a busy world. They look homemade which is the point. If making your own mincemeat is a step too far you can get jars of the stuff & also ready-roll pastry. The act of making your own, sausage rolls to boot, just feels nostalgic & how it should be. Oh and the fragrance in your home - delicious!

14. Slow living is doing less. Literally, doing less of the things you don't want to do, and more of the things you do & doing them well, consciously & intentionally. If you're the only one who wants a long walk after Christmas lunch then go & love that time you're taking instead of begrudgingly playing Monopoly until a fight breaks out.

15. Keeping your home clean & free of clutter can be tough with guests. Let it go & have another glass of something, the time you spend together is much more memorable than whether your house is instagrammable. This really is me typing this, aliens have not abducted me. Mess = stress to me but at Christmas unless the house looks like it's been burgled, I have to just go with the flow. If the stress levels creep up, take yourself away to somewhere quiet - if humanly possible. Box breathe until your adrenalin has calmed. Have a nap if you need one. Read a chapter of your new book. Take a spa bath. Freshen up, hair brushed, squirt of perfume & a swipe of lippy you're good to rejoin your loved ones. I know that was A LOT of suggestions of ways to create a slow meaningful Christmas

Did you find that useful?

Here's that fab planner again:

Lots of love

Lucy x

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