6 Simple Ways to Slow Down This Christmas
This year, we’re dreaming of a slow Christmas.
At the heart of it all, Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, rest, and reflection.
But the hurried pace of the holiday season can make it difficult to enjoy this special time.
For many, this time of the year can be stressful and overwhelming. Between frantically checking off Christmas lists in overcrowded stores and rushing to meet work deadlines before the office shuts for the holidays, it can be difficult to catch a break. No matter where we go, a fast-paced, high-strung energy lingers in the air.
This is also an incredibly difficult time of year for those who suffer with mental health problems, who are struggling financially, who have lost loved ones, and who have complicated family dynamics who cannot count on a caring and supportive holiday experience. This year is especially difficult on those who cannot be with family for this special season.
But despite these very real struggles, we are all constantly surrounded by picture-perfect images of how Christmas is supposed to look.
Happy families huddle over perfect Christmas dinners on TV, celebrities spoil their children with luxury gifts, and influencers open the doors to their immaculately decorated interiors on social media. It makes many of us second-guess our own holiday preparations and wonder whether our efforts are good enough.
As a result, many overcompensate by trying to make this holiday bigger and better than the one that came before.
This rush makes it difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
While this Christmas is bound to look a little different, the pace has remained the same. Where restrictions allow, we hop between socially distanced catch-ups and Zoom Christmas parties, and face rush hour crowds to pick up last-minute gifts.
Rushing through the holiday season means that it passes us by before we stop to enjoy it.
We can change that by deciding to slow down, be fully present in the moment, and shop more mindfully to reduce our environmental impact.
After all, the season of giving is not just about presents, decorations and holiday treats. It is also about giving the gift of time — both to you and to your loved ones.
Slowing down the pace will infuse the holiday with meaning, giving you the space you need to make the most of the holidays. Keep on reading for six simple tips that will help you slow down, shop small, and make space for self-care this holiday season.
1. Shop Small, Shop Sustainable
One of the first things that comes to mind at the thought of Christmas is presents.
But it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of impulse-buying gifts from retail giants and fast fashion companies without considering more sustainable alternatives.
This year more than ever before, it is essential to support small businesses during the festive period. Small and independent businesses have suffered the most throughout the year, and since the holiday period is peak selling season, many of them will miss out on a significant portion of their earnings.
The good news is that many small businesses have moved online this year. This makes it quicker and easier to get everyone on your list exactly what they’re wishing for, without having to venture out and face the crowds.
Choosing a small business over a big corporation this Christmas means that you:
- Fuel a small business owner’s dream, helping them bring more beautiful products into the world.
- Directly help them to pay their rent and bills, as well as their team’s wages.
- Give back to your local community.
- Effectively cast a vote for ethical working practices, sustainable materials and fair compensation.
Apart from being a more ethical way to shop for Christmas presents, shopping small also means you get to enjoy some wonderful perks:
- Every gift comes with a story — and it might even be one of a kind!
- You often get to personalise your gift, meaning that it’s custom-made to match the recipient perfectly. For example, you can build your own self-care box at The Sun & My Soul and customise it with all the essentials your loved one will cherish most.
- Since every order is packed and shipped with heart, you’ll benefit from a more personal and caring shopping experience.
Here at The Sun & My Soul, we are proud to partner with independent businesses and talented creators across the UK to bring you high-quality, eco-friendly self-care essentials that will last the test of time. Each of our hand-selected products would make the perfect gift for a friend, partner or relative who could use some quality ‘me time’.
2. Consider Your Environmental Impact
Christmas can be a wasteful season. In the UK, an extra 30% of rubbish is produced and discarded throughout the festive period when compared to the rest of the year. This amounts to around 3 million tonnes of additional waste.
Christmas trees, lights, food, unwanted presents and wrapping paper are among the most commonly tossed items — and many of them end up in landfill.
This detrimental impact on the environment goes hand in hand with the holiday shopping rush. By slowing down and leading our holiday shopping, gifting and cooking with intention, we can reduce our environmental footprint.
Here are a few of our eco-friendly tips for the holiday season:
- Buy small and thoughtful presents that will serve a purpose instead of giving into impulse buying.
- Use recyclable wrapping paper or reusable gift bags to reduce the amount of packaging waste.
- Reuse decorations from past holidays, and take a minimal approach to new additions to your collection. For example, choose a handful of meaningful ornaments from local Christmas markets or independent sellers instead of buying multiple packs of plastic ornaments.
- Donate unwanted presents to charities and organisations. Instead of gathering dust, they will make someone’s day.
3. Make Your Home a Cosy Sanctuary
Home is the place we return to shelter away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Whether you like to keep things minimal or go all-out with your festive decor, this is the best time of year to make your space feel warm, cosy and inviting. And seeing as we’re all spending more time at home this year, we truly get to enjoy our Christmas decorations.
Making your space cosy for Christmas does not have to be difficult or expensive. There is an unspoken pressure to deck all the halls and decorate every corner of the house — but sticking to a few festive favourites can be just as rewarding. Plus, it will save you a whole lot of effort, and leave you with more time to actually enjoy your space.
The slow Christmas decor essentials that help us feel at home include:
- The warm glow of lights on the tree
- A touch of nature, whether it’s a live tree or a festive floral arrangement
- Beautifully fragrant soy wax candles to set the cosy mood (especially this limited edition Mulled Wine scent!)
- Handmade ornaments from our favourite small businesses
- Warm blankets just waiting for the next snuggle
Engaging in some Christmas crafts is also a great way to slow down, spend time away from screens, and settle into the festive spirit. Crafts are known in the self-care and mental health community for their mindfulness powers. They help sharpen your focus, slow down the racing pace of your mind, and give you that feeling of deep satisfaction that only comes from working with your hands.
Why not try making a DIY wreath or a dried orange garland this year?
4. Stay Present in the Moment
Slow Christmas is all about enjoying a more mindful and intentional holiday experience. Decorating your space, shopping small and reducing your environmental impact are great places to start, but the true meaning of slow Christmas only comes to life when we give our full attention to the present moment.
The wholesome magic of Christmas lies largely in nostalgia. We look back on childhood Christmas holidays and family memories with fondness, but we often forget to pay attention to the present day, and miss out on new memories.
Here are three tips for a more mindful holiday:
- Notice the season unfolding around you. Take note of the scents, sounds, flavours and feelings of Christmas. The warmth of the fireside, the sweetness of hot chocolate, and the nostalgic spices of gingerbread and mulled wine will root you in the present moment.
Limit your distractions. It can be tempting to scroll through your feed and watch Christmas scenes unfold on other people’s stories, but it comes at the risk of missing your own festive memories. Putting down your phone will help you to stay fully present in the moment.
Switch off from work. Avoid the temptation of checking work emails and catching up on projects. You won’t miss much, and you’ll gain a more restful break, too.
Savouring precious moments during this holiday season can help you to fully appreciate the holidays, and make memories that you’ll look back on for years to come.
5. Give the Gift of Time
This year can be measured in miles as well as time. We have all experienced physical distance from our friends and family, and this distance makes this year’s holiday season extra special for those of us who are lucky enough to spend it with loved ones.
One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is your time and presence. Making the decision to slow down this Christmas frees up time in your calendar for the people who matter most — whether you are catching up in person or onscreen.
Every family has its sacred holiday traditions. Whether it’s baking gingerbread together, dancing to cheesy hits, playing board games or getting cosy by the fire for a family movie night, these seasonal rituals fill your home with joy and laughter. Remember to be present and soak up these special moments.
There’s no hiding that this Christmas season looks very different for those of us who cannot come home to celebrate with loved ones. If your holiday traditions feel very out of reach, try to create some new ones with the people in your bubble, and remember to reach out to your family and friends — they miss you this Christmas, too.
6. Save Space for Yourself
Giving yourself space and time during the holiday season is just as important as spending time with others. Since the Christmas period can be chaotic, taking time to rest is essential. Despite this, we often have a tendency to overbook our calendars and forget about our own needs in the process.
Here are a few ways to make room for yourself this Christmas:
Recognise your priorities. Think about what you truly need right now. Is it rest, connection, or time for the things that bring you joy?
Set boundaries around your time. You have a limited amount of it to go around, so be mindful about the activities and social plans you agree to attend.
Remember that it’s okay to leave early, or prioritise your health by saying no to holiday party invitations.
Make space for the things that bring you joy — whether that means catching up on your favourite Netflix show or picking up a creative hobby. One of the greatest benefits of a slow Christmas is getting to reclaim your time off.
Wind down after busy days with a cup of organic tea and a good book.
Reflect on the past year and celebrate all of your wins, no matter how small.
A slow Christmas means more time for you and your loved ones.
Enjoying a slower holiday can bring out the very best in this season.
This Christmas, instead of rushing around, you can root yourself in the present moment and prioritise rest and connection. Every little change makes a tangible difference — whether you choose to buy your gifts from small businesses or decide to put your phone away and be fully present around your loved ones.
However you’re spending your holiday this year, we hope it brings you peace, joy and well-deserved rest.
How are you planning to slow down this holiday season? Let us know on Instagram at @thesunandmysoul.