The Gift of Slow

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

A note from Jamie: It’s Boxing Day, which in our home means another day of leisurely doing…not much. I love the pace, and it brought to mind this post from last year, which originally published on December 13, 2010.

Recently I spent much of the morning in the kitchen while the kids played, popping in and out to help and serve as taste testers. The results of our efforts?

Pint-sized jars prettily filled to the brim with homemade yogurt and applesauce.

I was surprised at just how happy such a mundane morning had made me. After a little thought I realized why.


I had it, and I had given it to myself.

It was a gift of slow – being present, enjoying the ordinary, unwrapping the present in the margin of our everyday life.

As homeschooling families we know that what may appear to be a family-centered life can turn on a dime into craziness – homeschooling multiple ages, dealing with behavior problems, chauffeuring kids to extracurricular lessons.

It sometimes leaves a mama unfulfilled, frantic, and even a little bit harsh.

But there’s good news–you can choose to enjoy the gift of slow at any moment this holiday season. Here are a few ideas:

  • reading a story over hot cocoa
  • an impromptu Nutcracker ballet choreographed in the living room (This one is awfully popular with my three at the moment, and yes, Mama gets in on the action too–I’m needed for the lifts, you know.)
  • cookie baking in the kitchen (And it is okay just to make one type of cookie, not five!)
  • threading popcorn/cranberry garlands and hanging them outside for the birds
  • an extended board game in front of the fire
  • watching a movie together
  • making plans to give back as a family
  • lighting candles before dinner

As parents we take such joy in planning and creating Christmas surprises, gifts, and secrets for our little ones.

But in the midst of all the busyness, let’s not forget to let them unwrap one of the best gifts of all – the gift of the slow.

How do you enjoy the moments of slow in your family?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. when my family got home from church yesterday, we got in our warm and comfy clothes and watched christmas movies… for the rest of the day. it. was. amazing.
    andie’s latest post: rainy day ideas 2

  2. Thanks for the reminder to just slow down and enjoy! 🙂 It’s something I needed to hear today!

  3. Jamie–I love the way you put this: “the gift of slow.” That is, indeed, a precious gift and one I’m looking forward to tremendously beginning today!
    Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: On the Menu

  4. reading, crafting, cooking, playing games, spending time with friends, listening to music. This whole month has been about enjoying those moments in our lives.

  5. During this hectic time we cook a meal for the local soup kitchen and always give to the needy in our community. At dinner we light the candles of our Advent wreath while singing a song, and we take time to be together. We always stay home for Christmas, and this really keeps things slow. Last year, my husband declared Christmas “pajama day”, and the kids LOVED it! Imagine a family of six in their jammies sitting down to a formal Christmas dinner in robes and slippers! Slow can be hard at times, but we try to focus on the Advent season of preparation, and NOT celebrate Christmas until the big day and beyond.
    Paige’s latest post: Thanksgiving 2010

  6. Thank you for the beautiful reminder to bring slow into our lives at this time of year and into the new year. The slower my life becomes, the more content and grateful I become…
    Kimberly’s latest post: Change of season…

  7. Thank you for the gentle reminder that even during one of the busiest times of the year, it’s important to stop and smell the roses.
    Taking time to just be together, doing things together, these are the things that matter. These are the things we remember later.
    It can be hard when everything around you is rush, rush, rush! But take the time to stop and cherish those around you and how fortunate we all are.
    AprilS’s latest post: Geometry – Vectors

  8. I had to laugh at myself when you said “And it is okay just to make one type of cookie, not five!” Thank you – I need that at this very moment!!! 🙂

  9. We just came off a roller coaster week where I was a little bit harsh a little too often! Monday, a day we usually focused on making real progress on any neglected school areas, became a day focused on a neglected me. We had planned to do a Jesse Tree this year. Just something we thought would be nice, but I missed the beginning. So today we are working our way through the advent crafts and I am giving the children and myself complete permission to do as much or as little as we like. After all, anything done at this point is a bonus!
    Jennifer’s latest post: Taking an Oath

  10. I love this post! Such wonderful advice. 🙂
    Alicia’s latest post: Completely Non-Educational but marvelously fun Things To Do With Your Kids

  11. Loved this post. My kids and I like to snuggle on the couch. I think those times are where we have the most interesting conversations. It’s funny, 2 will sit behind my legs and one will sit up my my tummy and they call it their nest.
    Christal Houghtelling’s latest post: I Heart Faces Pet Faces

  12. I’ve been sick for the past five days and have started obsessing about everything that is going to NOT get done for the holidays, until I realized how little we actually need to have a wonderful, home-spun, meaningful Christmas. And tonight I’m going to pop popcorn and teach my daughter how to string it to decorate our half-decorated tree!
    Andrea’s latest post: 6 Toddler-Related Items that Get Under My Skin – or – If You’re Grumpy and You Know it Stomp Your Feet

  13. You gently wrote a great reminder for me today. Thank you.

  14. We are enjoying a slow day cooking, cleaning (a little), and exploring some school projects we haven’t had time for recently. What a gift time to breath is!
    Jen @ anothergranolamom’s latest post: Kids in the Kitchen — Breakfast Baked Oatmeal

  15. Several days ago we decided to have a school break. Some how I felt I needed to accomplish things at home that I have neglected while my children are enjoying a not so structure schedule. I accomplished a lot but for some reason there were many more things I should do. Then I had a little accident and I can’t do much. 🙂 So we will relax at home and enjoy our gift of slowing down.
    I wish I could have slow down before my accident…

  16. I love slow moments! I like to spend time together – playing games, chatting with the kids or taking interest in their interests, reading, or drinking some hot tea … Or just snuggling by the Christmas tree.

  17. Loved this! My parents filed for divorce in November after 40 years of marriage, and God really spoke to me about slowing down. It was kindness to myself, but i also purposed to do one fun thing with my children a day – something simple like buying a wreath, or baking cookies, or unpacking the stockings. One foot in front of the other. We stayed home for Christmas – i knew it would be too hard on my heart to get together with *most* of my family. It has been a beautiful, restful, even fun Christmas for us…

  18. I enjoy having a slow day. We did that as a family yesterday. I did go grocery shopping with my youngest daughter. We went slow and I took my time something I seldom have the time or patience for when several children are with me. We just enjoyed each other and our new Christmas treasures yesterday.
    Suanna’s latest post: Felicity is Still Busy

  19. Thank you for the reminders. Slow is not how I feel life has been lately, but even a slow 5 minutes is a good start! 🙂
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site’s latest post: Will Cry It Out Lead to Prozac For Your Baby?

  20. Just the words I needed to hear this morning. I was trying to find information, trying to see if other home school families seem to go at a slower pace with academics, during these few weeks of Holidays. We still get things done, but I feel a deep urge to chill with my kids, to do art, bake, and cuddle. I’m happy to hear I’m not alone.

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