10 Slow Living Activities For The Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

There's about 2 more weeks until Christmas so it's easy to feel like it's crunch time for all the fun holiday activities. This holiday season I'm focusing on slowing down, so I thought I would share some slow living activities that are enjoyable, but also intentional.

Many of these may be things you already do as a part of your Christmas tradition. But this year, instead of rushing through or feeling like you need to get one activity done so you have time for the next, do each thing slowly and intentionally, without any distractions. Leave yourself time and space to fully savor the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Dry oranges
This is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season because they turn out so beautifully and are great for making garland or tying on gifts as a topper. They have to cook in the oven for a good chunk of the day, so it's the perfect excuse to stay home and have a slow day while they are cooking. They also make your house smell amazing! Read here to learn how to make them!

2. Bake a pie from scratch
No offense, but anything less than homemade pie crust is totally cheating! Sorry! It's also a lot healthier for you when you're using just flour, coconut oil, salt, and water rather than a store-bought crust full of a ton of chemicals and preservatives. Take some time to fully recognize the value of working with your hands as you roll out your pie crust and make the filling from scratch. It may take longer, but craft always wins over convenience.

3. String popcorn
Stringing popcorn is one of my favorite holiday activities because it's something I used to do when I was little around this time of year. It's an activity that forces you to slow down and create something with your hands. I like to put mine on my tree inside or our pine trees outside for the birds :)

4. Make homemade dough ornaments
This is another fun handmade activity that requires some time in the oven. The process of making the dough, rolling it out, cutting the shapes, and decorating them when they are dry is slow but fulfilling. Read here for a dough ornament recipe

5. Get cozy and wrap gifts
Shopping for Christmas presents can be a frantic and crazy part of the holiday season. Once you have everyone's gifts (or at least most of them), allow yourself to slow down and dedicate a chunk of time to wrapping presents. Play your favorite Christmas album or Christmas movie while you are wrapping and sip on a warm, yummy drink.

6. Watch a holiday movie all the way through without your phone
I am so terrible at watching movies and even TV shows all the way through without scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram at the same time. As a part of the slowing down process, I'm easing myself out of the multi-tasking habit. Christmas movies are only acceptable this time of the year, so I want to make it count! Make a cup of hot almond milk cocoa, give yourself extra (vegan) whipped cream, turn on your favorite Christmas special, and give it your undivided attention.

7. Do a puzzle
Puzzles are such a fun way to unwind but keep your mind and hands busy...without being on your phone! Putting on a Christmas movie in the background and working on a puzzle just sounds like the coziest night to me.

8. Make and decorate gingerbread houses
If you want to earn extra gold stars, make the gingerbread houses from scratch! My Vegan Gingerbread Cookie recipe would work great for this, just cut the shapes into squares and triangles instead of cookies!

9. Go on a drive to see the Christmas lights
Grab a loved one and a thermos of hot cocoa and jump in the car late at night (or early at night if you're a grandma like me) to look at the lights. Put some Christmas tunes on in the background and allow yourself to get lost in the beauty and wonder with no distractions.

10. Delight in Christmas smells
But wait! Before you light that candle of yours, read this post first. Instead of filling your home with toxic chemicals this holiday season, choose a more natural route. Diffuse Christmas essential oil blends, or create a simmer on the stove. One of my favorite ways to make my house smell good is to toss pine, oranges, cinnamon sticks, and water into a pot and keep it simmering on the back burner all day.

I love how most of these activities involve working with your hands, something that's very important to me. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says "and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and work with your hands." I think that is especially important to remember during the holidays, when it's easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of consumerism.

I'm really trying to learn to be present and focus on what's in front of me. Slow living is more than just doing these activities, but being fully present and intentional during the process. I pray you are able to find some peace and stillness this holiday season.

Christmas Blessings,

DIY Dough Ornaments

These darling little ornaments are only three ingredients and are super simple to make. It's such a fun activity to do with the family and creates a great way to get creative with decorating.

*Just a little disclaimer- I did not come up with this recipe myself! It's all around the internet, I'm just passing along the great idea!

What you need:
1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of corn starch
3/4 cup of water

1. Combine the ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture turns into a dough-like consistency. It seems weird at first and almost like it will never turn into dough- but it does!

2. Once the dough is formed, remove it from heat and let it cool down.

3. Once the dough is cool enough to work with, preheat your oven to 175°F (or the lowest your oven can go) and begin rolling out the dough on a flat surface just like you would for sugar cookies. I kept mine about 1/4 inch thick.

4. Cut out your desired shapes using cookie cutters and using a straw, punch a hole at the top where string will go for hanging. I punched holes in some of my shapes, and used hot glue and twine to hang others. You can do it however you'd like. Transfer the shapes to a baking sheet or stone.

5. Bake your shapes in the oven for 1-2 hours or until they are no longer soft. Check them frequently so they don't over-bake and crack! Flipping them a few times also helps remove the moisture from both sides.

I ended up turning my oven off after an hour but still let the trays of ornaments sit in there for another hour while the oven was cooling down. You can also air dry these- but it would take a few days so I prefer to use the oven method.

6. Add your desired decorations! Whether that be glitter or paint or a cute little word, let yourself get creative! Use twine or ribbon to string through the holes at the top, and hang on your Christmas tree or around the house.

This would be a great little handmade gift for grandparents or really anyone! Not only are they fun to make but they turn out beautifully.

Orange Creamsicle Body Scrub

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Do you guys remember Orange Creme Savers? Those orange and white swirly hard candies that tasted like heaven in your mouth?! Those were my favorite candies growing up and I'm not even sure that they make them anymore. Even if they did, it's probably not something that I would put in my body now.

When I whipped up this body scrub, Orange Creme Savers immediately came to mind because it smells just. like. them. (It may or may not taste just like them too...I won't tell you how I know this) It's such a nostalgic smell for me and I love it.

I originally made this with the intentions of it being a body scrub but I use it as a lip scrub as well, mainly because it's less conspicuous when some of it ends up in my mouth 🙈

I couldn't wait to share this recipe with you guys and I thought what better time to do it than during the season of giving? This recipe works as a great DIY gift for your mom, friends, sisters, aunts, grandmas, etc. You can easily double or triple the recipe for a big batch.

I have also included a free printable for the recipe tags that you can download :)
What you need: 
1/3 cup of organic white sugar
1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil (melted)
10-15 drops of orange essential oil
A splash of organic vanilla extract
4oz glass jar

Melt the coconut oil on the stovetop (not in the microwave because that will zap the nutrients from the coconut oil)

Mix the sugar, coconut oil, essential oil and vanilla together in a bowl. Transfer to a 4oz jar with an airtight lid.

Rub gently over your skin in the shower for a delicious smelling exfoliant and moisturizer!

Download the free recipe tags here

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