Friday 26th November, and I’m in work. Storm Arwen is bashing the door, pelting the office with hail and making me wish perhaps I wasn’t due to go collect lunch today. Never mind: I have my candle, my aromatherapy diffuser and my little Bob Cratchit stove at the ready, so perhaps I’ll hunker down, keep doing the work and hope that Arwen passes by before hometime tonight.
And Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent, so I’ll be opening my first Advent book! I wrapped them a month ago now, and I can’t actually remember what order I packed them in. The benefits of a menopausal memory.
The year has flown by, as years are wont to do when you hit over 40. I never believed my Nan when she said the years pass by in the blink of an eye. I know last year was fast, but if anything this year seems even faster. Wednesday is Advent proper, 1st December and a month of…. what? Uncertainty, worry and care, perhaps, if the new strain from South Africa hits our shores. Will we be locked down again? Can we be asked to forego Christmas two years in a row? Who knows. I do know that I am going to try again to be as optimistic as I can: I’ll reread Celebrating a Contagious Christmas again, and make sure my plans are flexible enough to allow for whatever happens. It would, however, take a lot to make me cancel seeing my family and friends again this Christmas.
Christmas for me the last few years has become a much quieter affair: I’m fortunate enough to be in the position where school demands, work functions and external pressures have lightened significantly. And although I sometimes miss the hectic afternoons of nativities and carol concerts, I’m happy to be able to have a home-based season.
This year, I decided that the focus of my celebrations would be on having a Mindful Christmas. As I drew together the elements of my Advent Box, now completed and waiting for me, the idea of having a little time every day to think, to write, to enjoy a mindful moment seemed increasingly crucial to me. I can bookend my work day with a half hour reflection and journalling in the morning and a film enjoyed with chocolate and a cup of tea in the evening. I have already planned or written a lot of the daily reflections, and I’d be honoured if you joined in.
My Mindful Christmas is already planned out, but if you’re still in the white heat of Christmas with Children and unable to follow all the ideas you read (been there, done that) then settle for a warm drink and a few moments thinking about the theme for the day. Or choose to be mindful in another way that suits you!
- Take a daily event (brushing your teeth, waiting for the bus, lastthing at night) and make that your mindful moment. Print out the themes of the month and just let your mind explore the daily theme as you do your action.
- Take a daily photograph as you are out and about, or at home. One small thing each day. Choose something that sparks joy, or that catches your eye. Share it on social media or just contemplate it alone.
- Set your alarm five minutes earlier and take those moments just to be. Don’t even try to focus on a word first thing, just breathe and relax.
- Have young children at home? Then use the idea of a daily film time to settle them down and sit with them. Memories of snuggling up to watch Polar Express, Arthur Christmas or Santa Claus the Movie will be so precious when they’re grown and away.
- Live alone? Have a daily stopping off point where you call: a papershop, a coffee shop, the library, or just a neighbour that you know is also home alone and would welcome a doorstep chat every day. Make contact with people.
- A daily craft can be mindful. A big, pattern-free project like a crochet blanket or knitted shawl that keeps hands, eyes and conscious brain involved but lets your subconscious fly free is ideal. Or a really involved craft that takes all your attention.
- Jigsaws are mindful flow activities, too. Get a big board or jigsaw keeper so you don’t feel obliged to put up and put down every day.
If you’d like to join me in my mindful Christmas, I’d be very honoured. Use the hashtags #MindfulChristmas2021 and #MindfulHygge so I can find you, follow you and enjoy your experiences as well. I hope to post almost daily on Instagram, Twitter and How to Hygge The British Way Facebook page as well as in The Hygge Nook Facebook group.
Today’s header is by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash. I chose it because the combination of colours, contrast of dark and light, wintry berries, warm white scarf and candle made me feel cosy just looking at it. Imagine me from next Wednesday, scarf around my shoulders, candle lit and warm chai in hand, contemplating mortality and magic as Christmas creeps closer.
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. It has daily, weekly and monthly ideas for ways to craft a life that supports you in living happier.
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.
And how to 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.