Algorithms are really fun, aren’t they? One minute you’re on Facebook and looking at friend’s posts, the next you’ve checked some information on the Web and when you return to Facebook’s Happy Place it’s full of adverts for something you may need/ will never need/ looked at and have no real desire to purchase or… occasionally… something that makes you go Mmmm.
That happened to me last night when an advert for an Advent Journal Box passed across my feed. For £75 (payable in one or two instalments) I could have a cardboard box with a journal, some pens and 24 cards with journal prompts on. It didn’t say whether the pens, stickers etc came wrapped and dated, or were just there. Whatever. The idea had me intrigued.
I am a complete Christmas fiend. In fact, it was probably some websearch for something Christmas related that caused the ad to appear. I am the woman who has always believed that the best person to buy a present for me is me, that self-care at Christmas is terribly important and that you cannot have too much of a good thing. I buy four (or more) books between now and December 1st, wrap them, and keep them close to my chair to unwrap, one at a time, each Sunday in Advent.
And journalling… writing, keeping records, putting thoughts and feelings down on paper…. is something I like to do (this blog, as an example, is as much a diary for me as a How to Hygge guide for people who know how to hygge anyway.) so something that helped me to do that daily during December seems like a good idea. It’s just… £75. That’s an awful lot.
So last night and this morning I have spent my free time between writing letters for work and ringing about dental records for Clients having a quick think about how I could create an advent box and what, exactly, I want to put in it.
- First, a box. Plain or patterned? I know you can get lovely Christmas Eve boxes, and I know even just a plain organiser box would do, but I have a hankering to b eMore Permanent, so I have my eye on an unpainted wooden box from Amazon, which is large enough to hold everything I have in mind and small enough to store until next year. I’m going to decorate it with my favourite nisse, so I’m not averse to keeping it out all year, on a shelf. Cost: £17
- Then, a journal. One with decent archival quality paper and a cover I’m not going to tire of quickly. I went for a Leuchtturm, dotted pattern. I know they work well for writing or drawing, and the choice of cover colour is lovely. I chose Nordic Blue. Cost: £17
That leaves me with £40 maximum to fill the box. I have my ideas as to what I want to fill it with, small things that I can use, and perhaps a little gnome to listen to my troubles. I made several out of Fimo a couple of years ago, so I may well make another one complete with holly leaves on the hat. Off the top of my head, I am thinking:
- Seasonal tea. Perhaps chai, perhaps fruit tea. Pukka do a nice box of 30 Winter Warming teabags in packets, which I want so that I can slip them into the journal prompts.
- Small cards or gift tags in envelopes to write the journal prompts in. I’m collecting them in my planner now, with Pinterest proving a good starting point. If I want to/need to, I could include my usual Romjul questions and have a full month of advent/Christmas memories in the journal.
- Stickers. Probably gnomes.
- A box of either Lindt Dark Chocolate truffles or Dark Chocolate Ginger. Enough for one piece a day.
- Perhaps a 24-piece craft to do. I’d love to have a small cross stitch sampler or a felt kit. I’m eyeing up a Corinne Lapierre felt pouch kit (£18) or an Advent Calendar Cross stitch (£22) which might be easier. Or neither. I could look at home and choose a UFO to complete. (Free)
- A Special Pen, gold or silver.
- A small handcream or a stress reliever perfume roll-on. Something self-care that makes me stroke my skin. It’s very good for stress relief.
- A Christmas book, probably my real-life copy of Merry Midwinter by Gillian Monks which is a lovely book full of spirit and cheer.
- Some Christmas quotes, just printed out onto paper and left there to flicker across my consciousness when I need them most.
I’m sure there’s other stuff I could have put on the list, but for one night’s thinking, this isn’t bad. A special mug… some scented soap… facemasks…
What would you put in the box?
I’ve decided to have one header for the whole season of small things: it’s one of my favourite pictures by Alex Geerts on Unsplash. I love the whole colour scheme, which just makes me feel so autumnal. I love the socks, the book, the blanket, the tea, the leaves and pumpkin. There are so many small pleasures in the picture, it’s like my ambition for this whole series in one simple shot.
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better. August is like a pause before real life begins again in September, so it’s a second chance to set up rituals and rhythms that boost happiness and work for you.
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.
On the principle that it’s never too early to start thinking ahead, really, and that Christmas is always on us before we know, how about Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas? Christmas is about the small things in life, much as hygge is, and establishing what you want from Christmas and then being able to say no to the excess is important. The book has hints and tips that hopefully will help you enjoy what is, too often, a frantic season.
Available as just an ebook, and a short, sharp read, is Enjoying a Self-Care Christmas: Easy Ways to keep the Joy of Christmas, and your Sanity, intact. It’s an easy read, with ideas and hints to keep you sane through the season. The self-care advent calendar is one I’ve followed for a few years now, and it really is a small daily dose of calm in a manic month.
And on the basis that we may well find ourselves in Lockdowns or unable to enjoy an absolutely normal Christmas under Covid regulations if numbers spike, why not read and plan alternatives? Celebrating a Contagious Christmas was written in response to the pandemic last year, and will need updating soon, but it is about celebrating whatever the situation, and does have good advice on stocking up an emergency cupboard, celebrating when travelling to relatives is impossible and putting the heart of Christmas back into the heart of the celebrations.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it or save it so others can enjoy reading, thinking about and living hygge as well, and read the other posts in the series, too.
My September of Small Things:
Day Three: Plants, Naturally
Day Four: A New Magazine that Really Suits Me
Day Five: Autumnal Decor Ready for the Harvest
Day Eight: Life Lessons From the Roadside
Day 10: Sudden Inspirations That Are A Mad Idea But Really Fun to Think About