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Tis a Gift to Be Simple

by Barbara Bedingfield

There is a way to find calm and time for the enjoyment of simple things in the mad rush that has become the Christmas season. To develop consciousness around what is (and is not) nourishing for the soul is a real gift to children. Think slow, think sensory, think ‘less is more,’ think rhythm and ritual, think the wonders of the turning of the year.

There is meaning to be found in the light that we bring to this darkest part of the year: After the evening meal (by candlelight) linger at the table and read a story or a chapter book to everyone. Take a step outdoors to look at the winter sky. Bundle up around a fire in the backyard. Walk around the neighborhood to see the lights. One of my fond memories of Christmas is how I would sit in the dark gazing at the lights of the Christmas tree which made our simple house seem glorious.

At our house Christmas morning began before dawn with the rustling of paper as Daddy wrapped the presents Mother had carefully (she thought) hidden away. A fire was built and we were rousted out of bed to tear into everything, which was a rare treat as Christmas was the only time we were given presents. Children love ritual and repetition so embrace the once a year traditions you have in your home– how you decorate your house, when and how you open the presents, what foods you prepare or what music you sing or play, The mere fact that you do the same things in the same ways is delightful for children.

The smells of Christmas will evoke many memories for children in later years: the pungent evergreens, wassail simmering on the stove, cookies baking in the oven. How restful it can be to spend full days at home imbibing these smells and doing simple things together. Time slows down and the simple gifts of life are yours.