Christmas is a magical time of year, one meant to be full of celebration and joy. However, it can be busy, expensive and stressful.
The KonMari philosophy can help you navigate the season by focusing on what truly brings you joy at Christmas.
To help have a joyful Christmas, start by imagining what exactly that means for you. It's different for everyone. An easy way to visualise your ideal Christmas is to create a Pinterest board. Think about all the little details. What does it smell like? Who is there with you? What memories spark joy? What food sparks joy? What traditions spark joy?
How to 'joy check' Christmas
Once you've imagined your ideal Christmas, you can start to 'tidy' Christmas just like you would tidy your home. Many of the elements of Christmas aren't represented in physical items, so I suggest writing all of the non-physical aspects of Christmas down on individual post-it notes and sorting them into your subcategories. This may include things like decorating, cooking, visiting family, attending events, carolling, traditions etc.
Once all your items and notes have been subcategorised, you can joy check each item working through subcategories from easiest to hardest. All you need to do is hold the item and ask yourself, 'Does it spark joy?'. If it does, keep the item, tradition, task or plan to attend the event with commitment. If it doesn't spark joy, thank the item, tradition, task or invite for its service and let it go.
A nice way to start is by identifying your most joy-sparking moments. It might be seeing your children or relatives open their presents, eating your favourite meal, playing a board game with your family or sitting quietly and reading once home. Tip: Identify the things which make you the happiest and use them as a gauge when joy checking.
A difficult subcategory to 'joy check' is our calendar. If you feel stressed thinking about all of the holiday events coming up, and all of the different friends and family to visit, focus on the ones that bring you the most joy. It's better to really appreciate three joyful events, than to rush between 15 quick drop-ins.
However, it's important to remember that you can find joy in other people's joy, especially at Christmas time. So even if the thought of visiting Aunt Ethyl and grumpy Uncle Ed doesn't make you burst with excitement, you might still want to go because you know how much it will mean to her. And if you find yourself in a situation that's not entirely joyful, remember that there's always joy around, no matter what. Instead of focusing on the negative things, appreciate the nice Christmas cake, or the joy in the eyes the children.
Sometimes, for one reason or another, we do things that don't spark joy. However, the fact that we're still doing them means that there must be joy somewhere, it just might not be obvious. I find it very power to understand and acknowledge why we do things and where the joy is, because it gives us ownership of our joy. You might not love attending your partner's family events, but you go because you love your partner and their happiness brings you joy. Try to focus on this and remember it during the event.
The KonMari Method really allows us to we see what matters most, and a lot of the time gifts people receive don’t. It’s really beneficial when gift giving to take a step back and think about the person your giving to:
• Why do you want to give this person a gift?
• What do you want to express with the gift?
• How do you want to make this person feel?
• How do you want the person to benefit from the gift?
Families and gift giving
Gift giving within families can be complicated, however it's normally done with genuine love and care for the recipient at heart. I encourage people to talk to their families about gift giving, especially when itis related to your children. Discuss current scenarios and challenges, how their gift giving can support the child reach their goals.
Gift giving tips
• Avoid the stress of the shops and shop online
• Reverse Advent calendar - each day put an item in a box to donate to a food bank. This is a great activity to engage children.
• The gift of time - spending time with someone, even if just enough time for a coffee can create the most beautiful and precious memories.
• Experiences - this is a wonderful alternative to giving physical gifts to children. Families very often join together to give someone an experience that they would either not be able to afford or want to give to themselves.
• Mindful giving - eco-friendly, gifts that grow, subscriptions for hobbies, personal development
• Four Gift Rule - want, need, wear and read
• Donating to a charity - if doing this, try to find a charity which the recipient is able to connect or engage with
• Receipts - it’s always lovely and considerate to include the receipt with the gift, it allows the person to return a gift if it’s not quite right for one reason or another.