Can you believe that the start of Advent is o
nly 18 days away HERE?
Me either! But this year I am so ready for Advent and for Christmas, so ready in fact that I might be a tad giddy.
This time last year we were in our new home but sleeping on the floor and ripping out our kitchen. While it was a sweet time of new beginnings, it was also a stressful time of living in a work-zone.
We have made a lot of progress in the past twelve months, but we still have miles to go before all our changes and updates are complete. But instead of stressing out about what isn’t done, I am resolved to spend this season celebrating what is. Like our wonderful kitchen and our beds off the floor!
In order to really savor all that is good this Advent and Christmas, I am going to be practicing the holiday version of #SlowHome, which I have dubbed #SlowHoliday.
In his book, God is in the Manger, Dietrick Bonhoeffer wrote “Advent creates people, new people.” It is my hope that by practicing a slower holiday season, Advent will have the room to create a newness in me. That by recalibrating my pace to one that goes slower, does less, and enjoys more I will be changed in ways I can’t even imagine.
What is #SlowHoliday? Well, it is the practice of going slow, enjoying the holiday season one little morsel at a time instead of trying to Do All The Things All At Once (which is my usual tactic.)
How will I celebrate #SlowHoliday? By simplifying my expectations for what I can accomplish, and leaning into the few things that I am intentionally choosing to focus on.
Giving – This year for #SlowHoliday, I am only giving gifts from four categories: Something to read (a book, a magazine subscription,) something to make (a cookie mix, a craft kit,) something I made (baked goods, crafty item) or something to share (a board game, tickets for a show for two, baked goods.) Also I will be giving vintage and reclaimed items when possible. After all, a used book reads just as good as a new one and puts a much smaller strain on my pocketbook.
Baking – One of the things that I really want to do this year is spend less time shopping and more time making. Additionally I want to spend more time with the people who matter most to me. So for my #SlowHoliday my main mode of “making” will be baking. And even better it will be baking in community. This means having friends over to bake cookies needed for school parties and teacher gifts, it means baking treats with the boys (letting them take the lead of course,) and baking yummy gifts with Sweet Man. It means not taking on the huge task of baking for All The Things all alone.
Decorating – This year, to honor the #SlowHoliday code, I am only using what I already have to decorate, and I will not feel compelled to use all of what I do have (heaven knows I have more than enough.) We will have an Advent Wreath and a countdown garland, a Tree, a Nativity, and our stockings. Beyond that I am not making any promises or making any plans I may do more, I may not. But regardless I am letting go of the pressure to Do It All
*Instant Update: It has been raining non-stop for days, so no tree yet. But we did find Christmas bins we haven’t seen or unpacked for two years, so that has been fun! Even thought I have already sprinkled some Christmas around the kitchen and front porch, I am still sticking to the rules – Using What I Have, and No Pressure! I am only putting out what we use/love!
Being- This year for Advent I am going to practice the spiritual discipline of Waiting. I am going to do things that force me to slow down and take notice of my life as it is happening. I am taking most Social Media apps off my phone (not sure I can give up Instagram.) I plan on getting in the long lines at the store and wait patiently with a happy heart. And, believe it or not, I am going to drive the speed limit. I wonder what I will see and hear while I wait.
*Instant Update – I took off FB but not FB groups or messenger or pages, so far I am loving it! I also took off Twitter. Instagram still remains in large part because I am participating in #AdventWord.
Serving – There is a lot of good being done in our community during the holiday season, and our family – in part because of the nature of my career choice – does a lot of serving and giving through our church during the holidays. But I still long for our little family to find something else – something apart from the church – that we can do later in the year – in March or July – to love on our fellow neighbors in need. This Advent I am hoping that we can have some good intentional conversations about what our service might look like in the coming year, and where each of us feel our great joy might meet the worlds great need.
So there you have it, my little plan to live a slower holiday this year. Will this way of doing Advent work a change in me? There is only one way to find out…
Want to know more about how you can make an Advent Wreath? Check out my post from last year on how we made ours, or listen to my podcast on Megan Tietz‘ show!
Like your “Slow Holiday” plans and ideas for gifts.
Your plans for Advent sound as though they should make it more meaningful and be a real spiritual boon to the coming year. The gift ideas remind me of one I read of, where parents gave their children 4 presents:
one thing they want
one thing they need
one thing to wear
one thing to read
Our church is celebrating by having a baby shower for the Christ child all four weeks of the season. After Christmas, they will go to a group called Manna and donated to new or expectant mothers.
Are you familiar with “To Dance with God” by Gertrud Mueller Nelson? I loved that as a resource when my children were growing up.