I love Christmas.
I love all the sparkly things in the shops, I love decorating the house, eating yummy festive treats, and buying special gifts for all my friends and relations.... and I love sending out the things I've made to my customers, knowing they'll be under someone's tree or in someone's stocking on Christmas day.
But I definitely "get" why people feel a sour taste in their mouth about how commercial the Christmas season feels nowadays, and how overloaded with consumption the season can feel.
To get a bit of balance at this time of year I always try to make time to make my own decorations to add to my store-bought ones (like lots of paper snowflakes!), to bake biscuits or make little homemade gifts for friends and to take the time to wrap my gifts with care to make each gift personal and special...
I also set myself a little challenge every year, to give something away every day in the run up to Christmas.
I usually do it for a month or two but this year I've set myself a bigger challenge and am trying to give away 100 things before Christmas. Picking one book or one CD or one bit of jewellery every day to give away to the charity shop (or to friends who you know will love it) is dead easy, it's a great way to declutter and it feels great as a counterbalance to a season full of buying stuff.
So far I've cleared out 42 things, including spare bedlinen for a bed we no longer own (why did I keep that?), dresses that no longer fit me (ditto!), and all sorts of other stuff that was sitting unloved on shelves or lurking forgotten in the backs of cupboards. I always think it'll get harder each year I do it, but I'm always surprised to find how easy it is once you get started, and at how good a bit of charitable decluttering can make you feel!
How do you find balance at this time of year?
UPDATE: Read about what I gave away (and what I learned) during my 100 Things Challenge.