For many of us, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be overwhelming. During this time of year especially, we could all use a little encouragement to slow down, breathe, and focus on what is truly important. Internationally-renowned Waldorf early childhood educator, consultant, and author Helle Heckmann offered the following gentle insights in a recent blog post, and, with her permission, we are privileged to share her suggestions with you here. Thank you, Helle!
“I just returned to Denmark from the United States, and now, have the pure pleasure of seeing my grandson again. It is December, and that means, the Christmas season has begun. It also means that I want to spend my time near family and friends.
Christmas is big in Denmark, perhaps the biggest season throughout the whole year. It is a high spirited season where families come together over long distances (well, Denmark is a very small country, so for us a 5 hour drive is a long distance). It is the season where we share time and attention, with those close to our hearts. We don’t have a Thanksgiving celebration in Denmark, so for you American readers, you can probably add the loving family feeling of Thanksgiving to our Christmas season!
A well-known paradox is that many parents feel utterly stressed out during Christmas. There is so much pressure on parents today in how to create the perfect Christmas and even the perfect December. So many parents wish to create the same magical Christmas feeling for their children that they remember from when they were little; however, those same parents still have to work hard every day at their day to day jobs.
Perhaps it is a good chance to consider whether we are rushing around for the right things? Instead of putting pressure on yourself to make everything perfect, perhaps instead, you can decide tonight to focus on what I am sure matters the most to you anyway: connecting with your beloved child, or grandchild as the case may be. There are so many little things you can do, even right away: you can turn off your phone, and listen to the child for 10 minutes. You can go for a walk to the nearest park, and look at the trees. You can sing with the child. You can bake or cook with the child, and keep it simple, and importantly: bear with the mess it will create.
Your child doesn’t need you or the home to be perfect, but it does need you.
Instead of rushing ourselves over-exerting or consuming when the seasons are here (this goes for all seasons, really), perhaps instead we can practice a new ‘mantra’ for ourselves: This year, I wish to have a Slow Christmas.
You would know, what that means in your own family. Maybe it means easing the pressure you put on yourself to make everything perfect. And maybe it means focusing on actually slowing down and spending time that you can actually feel, because you are present in the moment with your child.”
How do you “slow down” during this busy and special time of year? We would love to hear from you! Feel free to contribute, below, or over on our Facebook page.