Slowing Down in December

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I love the chaos of the mall at Christmastime.  I’m not sure why because I really don’t love the mall any other time of year!

But for some reason having to circle around for a parking spot and being overjoyed when you finally get one, seeing the hustle and the bustle and feeling the sparks of excitement in the air is just something fun for me.

Of course, only when I’m done all of my Christmas shopping!  It’s no fun when you’re the frantic one trying to find that perfect something.

For a number of years now my goal has been to have all gifts purchased in November.  The only thing allowed for December is little bits and bobs you might find along the way.  A neat toque you happen to find or some chocolate that  simply beckons to be bought.  But basically anything over 10 bucks happens before December.

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I do this for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s important to me that our December feel somewhat slow instead of rushed and frantic.  I want to enjoy all of the Christmas movies without the dread of still having to find something for someone on my list.  I want to be able to attend all of the functions and concerts and parties feeling so joyful to be there instead of hurried and chaotic.  Having the gift thing out of the way allows space to enjoy all of these things.

It also leaves space for other good moments to happen.  When shopping is done you can say yes to that coffee date with a friend, or yes to an evening of hot chocolate and christmas light gazing with another family.  When shopping is finished I find I can enjoy the little things that I really want to soak up that Christmas offers.  Games with family and coffee by the fire with friends.  Walks all bundled up in toques and mittens without a care in the world.

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It also takes the emphasis off of gift buying in December and allows us to focus more on what our family wants Christmas to be about.  It allows us to make goodie bags for underprivileged teens or volunteer our time serving at a homeless shelter.  It allows us time to focus on our advent readings and spend more time talking about the greatest gift that came to earth for us.  It somehow changes my heart from stress to slow, from chaos to quiet.

It also allows me to go downtown and walk the packed streets with a joyful and calm heart.  Taking in the bustle and the lights and the fast paced vibe while sipping on my eggnog chai without a care in the world.

It’s something I love and will continue to do.  It changes December for my family and the changes are so good that I don’t think I’ll ever change.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?  Are you an early bird like me or do you leave it until the last possible second?

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