midwinter rituals

Blogmas: How to keep it simple + still feel all the holiday vibes

6 Dec 2021

Happy new week , loves! How was your weekend? As I sit here in the dark this Monday morning, I am struck with the feeling that during this weekend I think I succeeded in something that is often elusive during the holidays: balance or simplicity or however you want to describe it. Somehow, this weekend, I was able to keep it simple, while still feeling all of those holiday vibes. There was no going overboard, no pressure, no real stress, no guilt, no regret. Only cozy holiday moments. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I think I know how I accomplished it, but I thought I’d take this morning to reflect a little and see if I can share the key things I did, or didn’t do, that made me feel so balanced and content with my weekend. Maybe it’ll help me stay in this simple, balanced holiday mode. Maybe it’ll even inspire you.

First, I want to share what I did, of course. Because sometimes it’s just fun to share a little “day in the life” post as well.

Friday my love sat + worked at the kitchen table all day long. We lit candles, had music playing, sipped coffee, took a few food/snack breaks and then wrapped up another work week. I ended it with an email telling me that I had made it to the second step in a recruitment process! Finally!

Then, Lina + I decided to head out to grab a beer and some snacks, just to get out in the holiday spirit in the city. We walked about 3 minutes to a pub and headed down to a super cozy cellar, complete with arched ceilings, brick floors, and candlelight. It was soooo relaxed and cozy. I think we were there for almost 2 hours and then went home. Sounds boring to some, I suppose, but first of all, our 3 minute walk takes us through an extremely cool and inspiring area of the city, filled with lights and gorgeous old architecture and a river. Second, this is how we are now. Full disclosure, we are tired. And my love leaned over to me and said that she was tired and wanted to go home when we were done, instead of moving on to another pub.

So, we went home, crawled into bed and watched a little tv before going to sleep at a decent hour. Best decision for us both!

Saturday we had friends over in the evening for mulled wine and snacks! Cooooozy. To start the day, we had our usual very slow Saturday morning. I wrote + welcomed in the last new moon of 2021, Lina relaxed in bed, and then we ate breakfast about 10/11. We lit candles, talked, and just enjoyed our scones and coffee together. After eating, we planned our day. We needed to clean, get some groceries, and take a bunch of stuff to our storage in the basement. We decided to go to the basement together (it took 2 trips), then I’d go get the groceries and Lina would clean. Teamwork!

We got our tasks done, prepared our snacks, got ready, and greeted our guests with smiles on our faces. It turned out to be a very cozy, warm, fun night together. We literally sipped hot mulled wine, ate snacks, talked, and laughed until almost 11pm. Then, we cleaned and went to bed. Super satisfied and tired.

On Sunday we had a bit of a dilemma. We had been invited to join some family at a Christmas market in another city (not too far). And we so wanted to visit a Christmas market – it’s on our list of things we want to do this holiday season. But, we felt like it was a little bit more of a hassel than we wanted. We knew we needed to no overdo it. Basically, we wanted to and didn’t want to all at the same time. Then, we also had FOMO (fear of missing out). But, again, we felt exhausted just thinking about it.

We ultimately decided not to go, but – and here’s the key – we replaced it with something that felt much more easy and doable. We walked around a little area in town (again about 3 minutes from us, but in another direction) and just soaked in the atmosphere. It’s little block of old buildings that are now stores + restaurants, and I always get the perfect little holiday vibe there. We literally just slowly walked and talked. Then, we went to look for a few Christmas presents, and finally to a holiday afternoon matinee at the movies.

After the movie (it was cute + sweet), we walked home in the frigid, dark evening with snow flurries swirling all around us. It was pretty magical. At home, we settled into a night of nothingness really. A little creativity (editing photos and Christmas list making). A simple dinner of leftovers. Two episodes of Casa de Papel (Money Heist). And then nighttime rituals before bed. I just have to say, I am loving my nighttime rituals right now. Preparing coffee so all I have to do is push the button in the morning – game changer! A slow and intentional face wash/treatment. Turning off the lights and window-gazing for a moment. Texting goodnight to my mom. Snuggling into the bed with my love + little Zola.

So, that was my weekend. Super simple and very satisfying. And filled with holiday feelings and cozy vibes.

As I wrote all of this, I made a little bullet list of what I noticed that made all the difference in keeping my weekend simple + balanced in the midst of holiday season. Just to be clear, this is what I did, what worked for me, based on my life, my personality, my priorities, and my values. What works for me may not work for you. You might not even like how I live my life. So, I am not saying that this is the way that we all should live + be so that we can keep our holidays simple. I simply sharing my experience, my reflections, and maybe you will find something that relates to you or inspires you. Or maybe not. And all of that is totally ok. You do you.

Here’s how I kept it simple + still felt all the holiday vibes

We listened to our bodies + souls: Full disclosure, after this year (more like 2 years), Lina and I are tired. All of us everywhere have been going through the trauma of a pandemic. Lina + I are also dealing with grief, as many others are as well. the point is, it is important to us to be gentle with ourselves We know that we need more time to relax and restore ourselves than we have in the past. And we are accepting + dropping into that. It is is how it is right now.

My mellow personality: I’ve got an old, contemplative soul. Always have. Always will. So, I crave lots of time for reflection, being, writing, contemplating. I used to think I was super boring and wished I had a different personality. True story! But, somewhere along the way I fell in love with who I am and how I am. Mellow, old, contemplation soul and all. So, who I am literally affects how I live and my ability to keep it simple.

I choose to live slowly: For obvious reasons. It fits my personality. And it is the most natural way for me to live, I believe. In rhythm with the seasons, with my body, with the cycles of life. I do not want to rush anything I do – even grocery shopping. I try to literally move slowly (not like a turtle, but mindfully, because sometimes outside factors make things hectic + busy. That’s life).

We say no to things. This weekend, we so wanted to go to a Christmas Market, but also didn’t want to go. We weighed the different decisions we would make, tried to tap into what we really felt, and ultimately decided that we needed easy and nearby more than our desire to go to a Christmas market. One key part of our decision was to add in something that would give us energy, inspiration, and make us feel good – hence, our walk around the old Christmasy neighborhood. It turned out to be the perfectly right decision.

I’m gonna sound like an old person now I think, but here goes: I keep the same sleep pattern on weekends as weekdays. For the most part. I got to be + wake up about the same time every day. bedtimes shift a little, but my mornings always begin at the same time. And I’ve done this for so long that I do not set any alarms. My body simply wakes up.

Being present in the moment is THE SHIT: And what I mean is simply paying attention. Being aware. Noticing the little things. Looking for the little things. Keeping my mind on the task, person, activity that is at hand, be it washing the dishes, writing, having coffee, listening to someone’s story, walking, taking stuff to storage… It’s just to be fully in the moment.

Communication (our needs) + teamwork: Living with someone else means that I share life with someone. I cannot just make every decision based on my needs and wants. I must consider another’s needs + wants as well. But, the reason that I think Lina and I do that so well for each other is because we communicate. and we communicate honestly. We work as a team, knowing that our marriage is give and take. We listen to each other, and if our needs don’t match up, then we adjust. We plan and consider each other in everything we do – from who cleans + who does the shopping to who wants o go our + who wants to stay home. It is a key part of how we were able to keep this weekend so simple.

So, there you have it. My weekend + my ways to keep it simple and still feel the holiday vibes! How do you balance it all throughout the holidays – or, life, in general? Do you find it hard? What are your tips for peace of mind during the holidays?

Spend a little time this week thinking about how you can create some simple, holiday moments to enjoy. Or try some of the ways I kept it simple this week. Deep breath. No pressure. Center yourself + get grounded. And, then enjoy the magic of December a little bit more.

xoxo. liz.

2 Comments

  • Reply Arlene Hanratty 6 Dec 2021 at 15:38

    Thanks for sharing your tips Liz, they really resonated with me! I was told as a kid that I’m an old soul and I think I am finally leaning into that; it feels safe and re-assuring and that’s what I need. I apprecaite the reminder that it’s ok to say no too. There is so much pressure to be out & socialising but sometimes what my body and soul really needs is rest & nourishment at home. With the Christmas decorations up and the cozy factor on full, I’m gonna check in with my husband and see how we can support eachother for a simple, slow and joyful December. Wishing you & Lina the same x

    • Reply Liz 7 Dec 2021 at 07:26

      Hi Arlene! <3 I'm so happy you could connect with what I shared. Gaaah... it takes forever to drop into who we really are, doesn't it? But, it is such a beautiful unfolding journey, I think. And, once we do, as you say... it feels safe and reassuring. And it's so natural that your body and soul need rest now. We are nature, and it is nature's way this time of year to rest. It sounds so cozy at your place and I wish you and your husband all of the peace and simplicity and joy this season. xo

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