Let’s be honest, we all get a little overwhelmed with the run up to Christmas, don’t we? Each year seems to get busier, we try to fit more and more in, and try to make it even more special than the last one. With the added pressure of social media, seeing all the efforts that everyone goes to and how super-organised they appear, it can leave us feeling guilty or stressed or like we haven’t done as much as we should have.
As a busy mum and business owner, this year I am taking a step back. I am remembering what Christmas is all about – being together. It is not about lavish gifts, over the top décor and cramming something in every single day in December up until the big day itself. If you fancy joining me in this slower, stress-free approach, I’ve popped some ideas below that I will be applying this year. I still want my house to look festive (and as I am a stylist, beautiful too!) but I don’t want the guilt and overwhelm that comes with it. Here’s what I will be doing at home and with my family this year…
1. Losing the pressure to cram in too much in the month of December, and enjoying the things I have made time for, which will create special family memories and down-time.
The run up to Christmas should be just as special as the day itself. In fact, if you can get the balance right, it can be even more special! Although the run up tends to be where I can feel the pressure and the stress the most. Due to my business, I am on social media a fair bit. I already feel that the whole world and their wife have got Christmas nailed and we’re not into December yet! This is a common trait for people on social media, but the key thing is to remember that people only post the good things, and everyone is different. Therefore, I am going to step away from what everyone else is doing this year and I’m not going to cram my diary full of unnecessary things. Instead I’m going to plan some lovely activities with my family, enjoy some crafting when I can and really try to slow down when I can, so the pressure doesn’t take its toll. Hot chocolate with my family will be high on that list!
2. Decorating my home minimally with a lot of my existing décor, whilst being aware of the environment.
This year I don’t want to decorate for decorate’s sake, I want to decorate key areas beautifully and try not to buy any new decorations. Being a stylist, I am very lucky that I have an array of props I can rely on – such as my vintage brass candlesticks that I will be using on my mantlepiece and lots of beautiful antique books that look great in stacks to add height with your existing Christmas decorations. A lot of my Christmas decorations are vintage that come out each year and I’m very careful to not buy too many new ones in a ton of plastic. This year I will be adding lots of foliage, pine needles, mini Christmas trees and I will do some crafting too. I want my home to still look beautiful and festive, whilst not being over the top, costing me too much or giving me too much stress. Think about the key areas you can style and what you’ve already got that you can repurpose, add foliage and voila!
3. Gift-wrapping using brown paper and other beautiful bits I have in my craft collection (and not on Christmas eve!).
I’ve done this for a while now – I like to use brown craft paper to wrap my Christmas presents and each year I will create an different theme with them. One year was beautiful coloured twine, last year was gold string and pine needles or foliage, and this year I plan to use the silk ribbons that I have in my craft collection. Don’t feel like you need to spend a fortune on fancy and expensive gift wrap that can’t be recycled. Using brown paper is an excellent idea, and you could even get the kids involved in painting and stamping on it, to create unique gift wrap that your family will love.
4. Really focussing on the Christmas table and make this beautiful with minimum effort and maximum impact.
In my styling business, my absolute favourite thing to style is a tablescape. I take great care in getting this just right, and do so at home for dinner parties too. It doesn’t have to be too over the top though, and a paired back look can be just as welcoming and beautiful for your Christmas table. I love to use eucalyptus amongst the florals within my work, and using it as a runner for your table is a great idea. Grab a couple of bunches and break them up, dotting them down the middle of the table in a clustered, runner style. Intertwine this with brass candlesticks, or little glass candles, and any other Christmas décor you fancy. I also like to make mini wreaths on each place setting and use my special china, cutlery and glasses. Best part about all of this is you can set it on Christmas eve to save the stress on Christmas day.
5. Welcoming my family and enjoying being with them, not worrying about the fact that I haven’t prepared 3 different types of potatoes and 10 veg options!
Let’s be honest, now we’re adults the Christmas dinner is one of the best parts about Christmas day! After being altogether. My mum’s is my favourite, and I feel the pressure to get it as good as her’s (not possible!). But why? Does it matter, not really. Yes, we want it to be yummy, but we have at least one every year. We don’t have to provide a ton of vegetable options or worry if we forget the bread sauce. The main thing is that you are celebrating it with loved ones, having a wonderful day and forgetting the stresses of your every-day routine. This Christmas day I plan to be in my PJs longer, really look at what other people are opening and their faces when they receive those thoughtful gifts and enjoy a yummy but not over-the-top Christmas dinner with my family. I can’t wait!
Wishing you a truly wonderful December and have the best, slow and stress-free Christmas. Amy x
Amy is the creative director and stylist behind The Timeless Stylist, where she designs and styles romantic and elegant weddings and events for couples who want their day to be as beautiful in 20 years' time as it is today. She is also an interior stylist, with a focus on using antique and period pieces, and bringing them up to date with contemporary touches.
Amy has been running her business for 2 years and in that time has had numerous successes including features in top wedding blogs and magazines. She lives in Tunbridge Wells and is a mum to Bertie and step-mum to Daisy and Alfie. She loves spending time at home, making her house a home with personal touches, and visiting London to try new restaurants and visit her favourite shop, Anthropologie.