Yes, yes, I know, there are still 41 days left until Christmas, but there are actually only 17 left until Advent starts. And although in the Medieval Church world Advent was a serious time of preparation, fasting and sorrow, since Tudor times it’s really been a chance to get the party started. Even more so in the modern world, when any idea of Christmas lasting past New Year has gone and we hurry to get the decorations and lights put away ready for…. well. Probably Valentine’s Day, as the next big commercial feast.
December, therefore, is the Month of Christmas with a great big run and rush to get everything done before it all explodes on Christmas Day leaving us with nothing but stomach ache, a pile of mess everywhere and the devout desire not to do that again. It’s a lot like childbirth, really, isn’t it? But without the severe pelvic pain and with alcohol allowed. You hit the day after Boxing Day tired, worn out, with very little to show for your efforts except a pair of socks and the perfume that you gave to Gladys last year and she very thoughtfully gave back to you this.
I don’t know about you, but Advent followed hard on by Christmas leaves me weary, tired, sick of obligations and ready to sleep rather than face the new year with optimism and joy. Or at least it used to.
For the past few years I have really made the effort to make my Advent a conscious celebration of the season. I have aimed to make it slower, more mindful, less stressed. I’m aiming to have an advent of self-care this year as well. Each day during December I shall post the self-care act I’m hoping to take that day. They’re small, simple, easy things to boost health, mood or well-being. Some of them are actions, some are simply readings. Some help me to focus on others than myself, while others yet are pure self-indulgence. All of them are mood-enhancers and shouldn’t cost too much to do.
Do you fancy joining in? Then why not use the next 17 days to prepare for the holidays? Here’s a list of things you could collect/do to make sure you can enjoy a Christmas that truly is Calm and Bright.
- A large Candle to use everyday for a half hour or less.
- Christmas scented hand cream or bath oil.
- Favourite tea, coffee or hot chocolate. I love gingerbread green tea by Twinings.
- An empty jar about 15 to 20cm high. An empty coffee jar is ideal, or mason jars between 1/2 to 1 litre in size.
- Candy Canes or small bars of chocolate.
- A notebook or sketchpad to keep by your bed.
- Favourite magazines to browse.
- A craft project that you don’t intend to give as a present.
To Do before 1st December:
- Aim to have your shopping done as much as possible, although you can leave the wrapping until mid-December to enjoy mulled wine and wrapping by candlelight.
- Have a big clean around the house. A really decent declutter and clean will mean December can live on a lick and a promise.
- Really think about the events you want to go to and the events you have to go to. Getting the balance between these right is crucial.
- Book in your Christmas online shopping spot, any hair appointments and nail appointments as soon as you can.
You can find more ideas for helping your Christmas to run smoothly and be hyggely in my latest book, Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas. It’s available on Amazon now.
If you’d like to join in my self-care advent, the pdf of the Self Care Advent cards is available via the link. Simply print onto thin card, cut out, laminate and choose one each day to suit. I have mine in a pocketed advent calendar, along with a sachet of tea and a small bar of chocolate, but my daughter has hers in little brown envelopes and strung up along her book shelf already ready to go.
If you’d like to know more about hygge, then my books are available now:
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