Take a moment for Christmas reflections: look back on the joys and stresses of past holidays to plan a more joyful, stress-free Christmas next year.

Calming votive candle burning on a light wooden table with some winter berries and fruit next to it inviting Christmas reflections and mindful pause.

As the Christmas season draws to a close, taking a moment to reflect on your experiences can be incredibly rewarding. It helps shape future Christmases, allowing you to do more of what you love and leave aside the things that bring stress, not joy.

Reflection gives a chance to pause, appreciate, and remember the moments that made your holiday special. It’s the perfect time to think about what worked well and what could be improved for next year.

This isn’t about achieving a perfect Christmas; it’s about creating your perfect Christmas, however unique and imperfect that may be.

Reflecting on Christmas is not just about reliving memories; it’s about intentional growth and self-care. By taking the time to consider what went well and what didn’t, we can create a more meaningful and joyful holiday season in the future. Reflection allows us to:

  • Identify Joyful Moments: Focus on what truly made you happy and find ways to incorporate more of these elements into future celebrations.
  • Reduce Stress: Understand what caused stress and find strategies to minimise or eliminate these triggers.
  • Strengthen Relationships: Consider the quality of time spent with loved ones to deepen our connections and shared experiences.
  • Create Traditions: Reflect on which traditions are meaningful and which can be adapted or let go to make room for new ones.
  • Budget Wisely: Assess your spending to ensure a balance between generosity and financial health.

When Is Best To Reflect

The obvious time to pause for Christmas reflections is early in the new year.  It would make a great mindful winter activity, ideal for a dark January evening on the sofa.

Equally you could enjoy reflecting with the family over Twixmas.  We’re HUGE fans of the Christmas Journal – my family’s most treasured heirloom.  Extending the annual journal ritual with some deeper thought about Christmas could be a rewarding family exercise that ensures everyone is considered.

But it’s never too late to stop and think about how you’d like your Christmas to look and feel.  It could be part of your autumn rituals as you build up to the new Christmas countdown.  Or even part of a self-care advent calendar as December rolls around again.

What Information To Record

It’s amazing how memories fade. While some of this information may seem obvious right now, noting it down will enable you to refer back easily in the future. This isn’t meant to be a work of art—jot down the information in whatever format is quickest and easiest for you, such as a table or a calendar.

  • Where You Spent Christmas
  • Who You Spent Christmas With
  • What You Did
  • Memorable Meals
  • Key Activities
  • Approach To Gifting
  • Broad Costings

Questions To Consider

Now that you’ve taken a moment to capture the facts, it’s time to delve deeper. Think about what worked well this year and what you would do differently next time.

There’s no need to write an essay for each question; you’re writing for yourself, not anyone else. As you start jotting down your answers, you should find more thoughts developing.

This is about creating a Christmas that feels right for you, not about perfection. Here are some questions to guide your Christmas reflections:

  • What three words best summarise this Christmas?
  • What were the standout magical moments?
  • What made you most happy?
  • Which moments brought you peace?
  • What did you not enjoy? Why?
  • What was particularly stressful?
  • Did you have the right group of people around you?
  • Did you spend the right amount of time with each person/group of people?
  • Was the balance of activities to downtime good?
  • How did you take care of yourself this Christmas? How could you have done this better?
  • How did the preparations go? Did you accomplish everything you wanted? What was particularly useful?
  • Did you get the balance of gifting right? (Quantity and type of presents)
  • Any meals that worked particularly well/badly?
  • What would you like to do more of next Christmas?
  • What would you not bother repeating?
  • Did you overspend this Christmas? If so, on what?
  • Which Christmas traditions are most important to you?
  • Anything you recall from previous Christmases you wish you’d included?
  • Anything new you’ve heard about that you’d like to try?
  • What three words do you want to summarise your Christmas?

How To Use These Christmas Reflections

Now that you’ve gathered your thoughts about the past Christmas, start thinking about what you would like the next Christmas to look like.

Create A Vision

Make notes about what you would like to include, prioritize, do, avoid, etc. Split into definites, maybes, and possibles.  Take some time to think about what you practically need to do to achieve that Christmas vision.  Keep this visible throughout the year so you can refer to it regularly and keep yourself on track.

Book Early

If there are specific festive activities and events on your wish list, get on mailing lists and set diary reminders to ensure you book early and avoid disappointment. The same goes for travel; if you’re dreaming of a Christmas away from home, get organised and book as early as possible.

Set Expectations

It can be tricky to speak with family and friends about Christmas wishes, especially if they deviate from tradition. These conversations are generally easier when Christmas isn’t right on the doorstep; they allow people time to process and adjust their expectations. So, speak early; be considerate but open and honest too. Your wishes are just as important as anyone else’s.

Have you ever taken the time to reflect on your Christmas celebrations before?  By understanding what truly brings you joy and what causes stress, you can create a Christmas season that is uniquely yours—filled with peace, happiness, and cherished moments. So, grab a cuppa, take a deep breath, and start planning your perfectly imperfect Christmas today.

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