The Gift of Enough

This Christmas, Let’s Consider the Gift of Enough

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Talking of gifts, and family: I often associate the two. I am incredibly lucky that having moved an ocean away from my family, I have acquired the best Family-In-Law that I could have wished for. Included in my Family-In-Law is my quite fabulous sister-in-law Andrea who also happens to be today’s contributor.

Andrea is a nationally known journalist and in days of yore, during her stints with Health & Beauty sections of well known publications in the UK (no name-dropping here!), I was on the receiving end of some pretty amazing freebies! But she is not just another pretty face. Andrea is also incredibly pragmatic (a gift from her maternal side I suspect…sorry H!). Which is why I think you’re going to love her words on The Gift of Enough.

This summer, Andrea and I had a girls day out in London to see an indie documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. It left quite an impact on both of us and we have been in the midst of de-cluttering ever since, both materially and emotionally. I urge you to see this if you have the opportunity. And check out, The Mininalists, the creators of the documentary. Their story is really compelling.

As we draw closer to Christmas and the urge to do more is upon me, I find myself reviewing Andrea’s thoughts about ‘Enough’ and thinking that actually, she has the right approach to Christmas!

Take it away andrea!

Woke up this morning to great news. Fat is good for you. Yeah, you know that stuff that was bad for you ten years ago, good for you for about 5 minutes in 2012 and then bad for you, oh I don’t know, last week?

That’s my Christmas made very merry right there, because essentially when I think about fat I see butter. Thickly spread on a nice soft slice of bread – wholewheat, spelt, white and fluffy – it doesn’t matter, as long as your teeth leave a nice cliff edge bite-mark in that lovely golden stuff.

Ooh and cheese! Who doesn’t like a nice slice of molten cheese on toast, pimped with Stilton or Marmite, if you will.

It just makes sense that something so simple and comforting is good for you. Yes, it comes with the ‘department-of- the-bleedin’- obvious’ advice to enjoy in moderation, but isn’t that a mantra we should all be aiming for at this spectacularly busy time of year?

Life isn’t all or nothing, it’s somewhere in between. It’s called balance.

So, I’ve given myself permission to exhale, take my foot off the pedal and enjoy a little bit of what I fancy and sod perfection. In a world constantly demanding we do more or our children ‘be’ more, I’m fighting back. After all, being good enough is enough, right? So here are my tips for a good enough Christmas (Christ’less??) and – I think – better mental wellbeing. Your body can step in line in January. Or not!

Andrea’s top five tips for a good enough christmas

1) Christmas cards – e-cards are certainly environmentally friendly and time-saving, tick. But, if you want to send ‘real’ cards, simply cull your list and only send to people your rarely see or talk to, or to those in need. It’s more meaningful and not just an exercise in card-swapping (Family, you have been warned. I see you far too often to warrant sending you a card.)

2) Have cheese on toast for dinner. Not just because scientists say so, but because it’s quick to prepare and clear away and may give you some time to actually sit down and really connect with your family.

3) Don’t deck your halls. Well, not too much, unless it gives you lots of festive joy -each to their own, bah humbug (sorry, did I say that out loud?). Keep it simple, use what you already have or make simple decorations such as paper chains, which basically doubles up as childcare, too. You’re welcome.

4) Reduce gifting. Not Scrooge-style, but think about doing something together as a family, rather than buying stuff people frankly don’t want or need. My lovely sister-in-law suggested going to see the new Star Wars film instead of doing gifts (thank you UK Yankee).

5) Don’t cook from scratch. Eek, I know, don’t shout at me. Look, unless you really enjoy the cooking bit or have lots of helpful family members, make short-cuts. You know what I’m talking about. Just head to the supermarket or deli, whatevs!

So, take what you want from the list, ditch what you don’t. Just don’t call me lazy – it’s bad for my wellbeing and every mean word kills one of Santa’s elves.

Love Makes a Family

6 thoughts on “The Gift of Enough

  1. Oh dear, does that mean you don’t want the card, cake, sloe gin and child-minding stints. What happened to the rosie-cheeked laughing girl of 37 yrs ago. I might even publish “that photo!”

  2. Thank you, Andrea! I’m a work in progress on the “enough philosophy”. That said, I frequently refer to my mom’s (aka GG’s) mantra of “everything in moderation”. And I promise, she was always right ?!

  3. Quite right Andrea. For some time I’ve felt people see me as a Scrooge for not sending Xmas cards and wanting to reduce the present buying. Gifts are lovely but since working in the NHS and the associated missed family gatherings, all I desperately want at Xmas is to be with my family (actual and -in-law).

  4. Andrea, I, like Gram, am a minimalist-enough work in progress. I wish I had gone that way a long time ago like you girls are now. But, alas that is water over the dam. I keep trying and you girls are a great reminder and example. By the way, we “Mabies” share your butter love. In fact, we have been known to bring our own (thank you, ML) to our get- aways. That is one place GG did not say everything in moderation :). Keep up the great work, girls. You are enjoyment and inspiration.

  5. Hey! Now, dad (Adrian Hammett), child-minding stints are exactly the kind of thing we’re talking about. It’s a gift that doesn’t come wrapped, but is worth more than anything you can buy in the shops 🙂 As for the cake, don’t wind me up, that’s one of the essential ingredients of life so you can’t be minimalist about that, I’m not stupid 🙂
    Gram, even I know that GG was always right 🙂 And you Mabies can teach us all a thing or two about embracing life and giving out the love ( and crafting) – that’s something we should never minimalise. Anna, you hit the nail on the head and whilst we don’t get to see you very often I think gifts of chocolate should regularly go north of the wall xxx

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