Simple Living

What We Are Taking Time for This Christmas

As December was approaching, Krista and I spent a number of conversations trying to decide what we wanted Christmas to look like on our blog. We wanted to make sure that our values were represented in how we approached the holiday and what content we published.

While neither of us are official and true minimalists, neither of us live our lives with much excess either. Christmas in the world of the internet is the definition of excess and that isn’t us.

So what is us? What values do we want to share this Christmas?

What it all boiled down to was this:

The idea of taking time for what matters.

In a world of abundance, we want to take time to value the simplicity and space of the season.

Taking time for Ourselves

Krista is a mom to two toddlers and I work in the social services sector serving those in need. Both of our current jobs require a lot from us. To top that off–and I’m sure many can relate–2020 has been a year.

So as that year (was it only a year?!) comes to an end, taking time and space to check in with personal health and well being is important. It’s important to practice self care at any time throughout the year, but especially so during the holiday season where social and familial obligations are higher.

This time of year can become so focused on others that we forget about ourselves to the detriment of our well-being.

Taking time for myself looks like anything from binge-watching my favourite shows to exercising to turning off any Covid-19 related news. Sometimes it is not answering a phone call, ordering take-out so you save time cooking, or taking a five minute break from the chores and chaos of life to sit down.

Whatever the taking time looks like, stepping back from the intensity of the holiday season will allow for more time to discover what time for yourself looks like. It is also a way to re-charge ourselves so that we can pour our hearts into our engagements without hesitation.

Taking time for our Family

Time with those we love is a precious commodity this year. 2020 has highlighted how much we can take for granted with those in our lives. All of a sudden a child’s cold or a coworker’s flu-like symptoms can halt any interaction with those we care about.

Since the pandemic started, I was able to have one visit with my family. It involved a 10-day pre-visit quarantine so I could be confident my 90 year old grandma wouldn’t be put at risk. These extremes–the lack of contact, the distance–they all emphasize how important taking time while we have it is.

For me, on that one visit, it was taking time for photos, which is something I never do. And I now have them printed out so I can cherish them.

Whether it’s weekly phone calls, video chats, or mailing surprise parcels, taking time to appreciate, love, and cherish family is what we are wanting this season to be about.

Taking time for our Finances

Spending money isn’t a horrible thing, but the holiday season seems to fight extra hard for every disposable dollar we have. Not only is there the constant flood of advertising, there is also the pressure to give gifts to others. Whether it’s family, personal, or societal pressure, there can be an expectation to spend money unnecessarily.

Unnecessary spending can not only lead to causing harm to our own finances if not budgeted well, but also to the environment because of an excess of “stuff.”

Taking the time to reflect on how I want to spend my money during this season, helps me to prioritize. It also helps me to put more meaning behind where I spend my money and what I spend it on. I hope that makes the gifts I give even more special because each is chosen with intention.

Stepping Back from the Chaos

Stepping back from the chaos of Christmas isn’t easy. And I may not do it well. But I am going into this December with a set intention to prioritize self-care, loved ones, and giving with care.

Taking time for these things is what matters to me this year.

What are you taking time for this holiday season?


  • Lisa M. Alioto

    Stepping back from the chaos – that’s been my main goal this year. I have enough personal chaos with family illnesses going on that I don’t need holiday chaos. Keeping it simple and sweet this year

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I’m sorry you’re going through family illness. That’s difficult in a normal year let along one like this with a pandemic. I hope you enjoy your simple and sweet holiday season

  • Brooke Ressell

    Seriously! 2020 has definitely been a year. Trying to step back from the chaos myself. Here’s hoping for a much better 2021 for everyone.

  • brittshedhappens

    I love this! Honestly, there is SO much chaos in the world throughout the holiday season and this year it’s even worse! It’s pandemic-related chaos combined with the holidays… far more than I am prepared to deal with! lol The best thing that we can do to prioritize our own mental health is to do exactly what you’ve outlined here – identify the things that really matter and let the rest go!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I agree! This year makes everything feel so extreme and over the top. Letting things go is such a good thing for our mental health for sure! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season πŸ™‚

  • sunkissedlexblog

    I love how genuine this post is. It’s easy to get wrapped up in gifts and superficial things, but it’s important to remember that there is more to this time of the year than just presents. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jaya Avendel

    Intentional gifts are so very, very important to me financially and in the way I gift. I like to give things I know will be treasured and used time and time again.

    I that you have put intention and thought into the way you will be celebrating and writing about Christmas this year! A mentality I wish I saw more of . . . Thanks for sharing this. πŸ™‚

  • Clarissa

    This is great! I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of Christmas. I find it to be a very stressful time and chaotic as you said. And I think there’s a lot of pressure and expectations with gift giving etc. My partner and I decided since neither of us had worked most of the year due to covid-19, that we wouldn’t exchange gifts and instead bought ourselves a new set of kitchen knives that we really needed. I can’t tell you how much that little change has taken the stress out of Christmas for me this year. It feels like it helps us focus on what’s really important, as you said.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Isn’t it amazing how a simple change like that can make so much difference?! I’m so glad you’ve been able to relieve some holiday stress already this year. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas πŸ™‚

  • Unwanted Life

    Interesting that your country only does a 10 day quarantine whereas we do 14 days. My attachment issues makes Christmas during a pandemic pretty easy on me as I’ve never been bothered about spending it with anyone, I’m happy enough to do nothing on my own

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I’m used to spending holidays on my own as well. If you’re happy doing it, that’s what matters. I’ve created some of my own solo traditions which I quite enjoy πŸ™‚

  • thathappyreader

    This is a very helpful post and reminder on the importance of self care. In my area of Canada, we are not permitted to socialize with any other household until at least the second week of January. My parents are elderly and undergoing health concerns so I try to keep in touch with them at least once daily. This year has certainly been a challenge.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      For our area, it just got announced that restrictions are in place until January as well. This year keeps being a challenge! That’s great that you’re able to connect with your parents daily. It must be hard to have to stay distant, but so important when they are in the vulnerable group of people. I’m glad the post was a helpful reminder on self care. It really is important in such a chaotic year like this one.

  • Giulia

    Important post! We often spend too much of this season busy and shopping and find ourselves brunt out by the end of it. Taking time for ourselves ought be an important part of this season, to simply sit with a cup of tea and read a book or watch a holiday film. Thank you for reminding everyone!


    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season, isn’t it? But that self care and relaxed family time is so special. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season! πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!