Wednesday, November 28, 2012

December Sanity Challenge 2012 -- A Peaceful Holiday Season

Image created by the lovely Jennifer Yandle Photography & Design

December... a time actually meant for rest, reflection, creativity, and self-care. But is that what you think of when you envision December? I don't. It often can mean a never-ending to-do list. A focus on gifts, gifts, gifts... christmas cards, ornate decorating, doing everything possible to create a picture-perfect Rockwell holiday. And really, it was just a painting. A lovely painting... but it's not what the holidays are all about.

For me, December is a time to reflect on the journey of Christmas. As a Christian, it's a deeply spiritual time of remembering the miracle of Christ's birth. It's also a deeply spiritual time for many, many other religions and beliefs. It's a time to honor our friends & family. It's a time to rest and rejuvenate.

But so often with sparkly lights, weeks and weeks of Holiday sales starting the actual DAY of Thanksgiving now (ironic, no?), and holiday party after holiday party... it's no wonder we can lose sight of the serenity of the season.

Last year was the first year I participated in Cheryl Harris' December Sanity Challenge. It was truly a gift to realize that I didn't have to be a part of the "crazy-ness" of Christmas. That I really could stop worrying about being perfect, measuring up with the absolute "right" (ie.. expensive) gifts, keeping up with friends & relatives spending enormous amounts on gifts and food. The holiday didn't have to be about "keeping up."

So once again I'm accepting this December's Sanity Challenge. I want to enjoy a peaceful, less-stressful Christmas. And you can too.

Cheryl suggests making a few concrete goals for the season. So here are the goals that I want to work towards this December:

  • I will write down three things I am thankful and grateful for every day. 
  • I will enjoy a dessert/sweet treat/baked good only once per day and in a small portion (1 small muffin, 2 small GF cookies, etc...) 
  • I will take a short 15 minute walk outside at least 2 times a week, both for letting go of stress and to encourage myself to exercise more. 
  • To help with our budget this month, I will not buy anything new (used or thrift store items okay) for myself. See Leo Babauta's challenge this week for my inspiration to do this for the remainder of the year... and I would actually like to pursue this in 2013 as well. 

This year's December Sanity Challenge will be hosted also by the following bloggers:

As a little added incentive, for each post on your intentions and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, Cheryl is offering a $50 gift certificate and I am giving away two brand-new signed copies of my "The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook" after our monthly event is over.

From Cheryl: "Last, but not least, we do have a FB group – if you’d like to join, you’re more than welcome. It’s a space to support and be supported, and it’s the same one we used during our last Self-Care Retreat."

To get a “flavor” of past retreats:
July Self-Care Retreat and the December Sanity Retreat.

I hope you'll join us in having a sane, peaceful, and joyful Holiday season!

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  1. What a wonderful idea. I just joined the Facebook group and look forward to seeing what others are doing. So glad you posted.

  2. Great post, Carrie. I'm also trying to make sure I get out and walk more. It's so important yet so easy to avoid!

  3. I love it! Love the reminder, too, that the idyllic Christmas scenes are just paintings...we have this idea that everything must be picture perfect. Looking forward to seeing how your goals come along.

  4. Carrie I have been so happy with your posts and recipes. I have been giving your site to so many people since I sell gf items at farmer's markets. Look forward to winding down this December while everyone around me is burning out.

  5. I love the idea of not buying anything new but shopping at thrift or secondhand stores! There are so many hidden gems there. All my gifts this year are going to be handmade or from local artists or businesses. The C in Christmas does not stand for commercialism. Have a holiday full of blessings! hugs, Kate

  6. I love your idea of not buying anything new! Thrift and secondhand stores are wonderful. All my Christmas presents this year will be homemade or from local shops or businesses. The C in Christmas does not stand for commercialism! Have a holiday full of blessings. Hugs, Kate!