As Tom and I were making our way through Target for one of many Christmas food shopping trips, I eagerly grabbed a package of pre-cut meats, looked up at Tom with twinkles in my eyes and optimistically said, “I’m going to make roses out of these!” Before he could even shift the expression on his face, I burst out laughing at the absurdity of what I had just said. I guess sometimes we need to hear ourselves say crazy things in order for us to realize just how crazy they sound. In that split second, I made the decision to opt out of meat styling this Christmas. Before I tell you why, you probably want to know why in the world this was something I had my heart set on in the first place? Let’s begin…
Where the meat styling obsession came from
The other and potentially wiser I get the more I realize just how quickly unnecessary ideas sneak their way into our subconscious. This year’s meat rose ordeal snuck in when I was innocently scrolling Pinterest for some Christmas charcuterie board ideas.
I consider myself to be a bit of a food connoisseur, and love putting together a pretty, tasty charcuterie spread. With wide eyes and too much confidence, I stumbled upon images like these…
Seriously…that thing is gorgeous. Let’s not think I’m crapping on people who create masterpieces like these. I am a sucker for well plated foods, and meticulously crafted spreads like this…as long as I am not the one doing them.
While I could spend hours watching cooking shows and TikToks of other people putting together delectable delicacies, I have learned enough about myself to know that if I were to attempt something like this, it would end up a little something like this…
Bringing Joy vs. Bringing Anxiety
Sometimes at Christmas, I think we get our wires all mixed up. The radio is constantly pumping jams like, “Jingle Bell Rock,” everywhere we go smells like cookies, and everywhere we look is covered in twinkly lights and glitter.
I’m convinced that when combined, all of these things hack our senses and trick us into believing that a magical, over-the-top Christmas is not only necessary, but totally doable for one solitary human being. Remember, even Santa has his own little sweat shop of Elves working round the clock.
We want the gifts wrapped perfectly, the perfect Christmas outfit (another thing I’m opting out of), and food that looks too good to eat. (But they had better eat it, damnit.)
Thankfully I have become fully aware of Christmas hacking my senses and tricking me into thinking I am capable of way more than I actually am and have slowly learned how to outsmart the system.
It all boils down to one question, “Is this going to bring more joy or more anxiety?“
The tricky part is, you need to first know what brings you joy, because what brings joy is different for each individual person. I have no doubt that there are people out there who go into a zenned out state of bliss as they roll salami into a floral arrangement, I am not one of those people. Meticulousness makes my eyes twitch and blood boil. Therefore, I knew it was time to remove it from my Christmas to do list.
Keep your main thing, the main thing
I love the way Joshua Becker puts it in his list of 10 Simple Christmas Truths We Need to Remind Ourselves of Every Year.
Each of us will define our holiday “main thing” differently. Many will seek spiritual renewal. Some will celebrate family. Some will refocus on giving to others. Some will seek rest. Some will set aside this year to remember the passing of a loved one. Others will consider the opportunity to evaluate the passing year and refocus on the next. Many will choose a combination of the above.Joshua Becker – Becoming Minimalist
At the end of the day (every day really), if we can center our focus on the big thing, the main thing, what we actually want out of our days, we are more likely to head into the New Year with a sense of rest, renewal and actual joy. Plus, if we can carry that mentality into the New Year, maybe we’ll have a better grip on what kind of resolutions to set if we set any at all!
What I think I can do vs. What I am capable of
While I rarely do this myself around the business of the holidays, something I have gotten into the practice of doing every day before I start my day is applying minimalism to my schedule.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Do a brain dump of everything you want to do (shop, host, feed)
- Circle the things you have to do (get food)
- Begin crossing out unnecessary things (sculpt the meat)
This can be tricky to do because a lot of times we are carrying around the beliefs of what we “have to” do that have been handed down to us.
You don’t “have to” partake in Secret Santa at work if money is tight at home.
You don’t have to create a beautiful centerpiece when you’re already making an entire meal from scratch.
You don’t have to wear a brand new dress if you have one in your closet you still love from last year.
This Christmas can we all agree to let go of these beliefs that are holding us back from showing up, conserving our energy and being fully present for the moments that actually matter? I think we could all use a little presence, don’t you?
Need more joy?
If you need a little more Christmas slowdown inspo, check out this Unstuffed Podcast episode featuring Sophie Cliff where we talk about how to find joy in the ordinary and what it takes to be fully present.