December’s posts this year all share the theme of Mindful Christmas. There’ll be short posts each day encouraging us to pause and look at our celebrations in a more measured, mindful way. Every day has a concept heavily tied in to Christmas, and the plan is to look at them individually, examine what role they plan in our own Christmas and, if we decide we don’t have enough of the secret ingredient, what we can do to have more of them. You’ll see what I mean as the month goes on.
Each day also includes a suggested film for the day and a mindful action, something small, fast and designed to give you the opportunity to pause and enjoy the season in its mad run down to The Day Itself. These are the films and ideas written in my advent calendar box, so I’ll be watching and acting alongside.
Today’s words are Acceptance and Peace.
After yesterday, we have to have today. After the conflict and anger comes acceptance and peace of heart and mind. Being able to be mindful means facing up to and moving past conflict and reaching a resolution that works for all involved. For some, that may mean reaching out, having a chat, forgiving each other and then forgetting about the incident. Move on, and see if trust can be rebuilt. If so, all well and good: if not, well… life has a way of letting us let things and people slide out of our circle without making a big fuss. Be busy, be unavailable. Move slowly away and get on with your best life unhindered.
I’m not saying that we all have to take everyone back into our lives… God knows, I think there are some people in this world who would rather have their eyes gouged out than spend a few hours in my presence and vice versa some days… but that we find a way to live in peace. Small disagreements shouldn’t stop people being friends, differences of opinion, religion, upbringing or politics shouldn’t stop us from seeing people around us as our fellow men. Big disagreements may mean a break with the past, an acceptance of how things are now, and a moving on.
Sometimes we need to accept that a friendship is gone: the break is too deep, too real to be bridged with fine words or seasonal sentiment. Accepting that and moving on, setting that part of the past to one side and looking forward has to happen for us to have peace. Forgive the parties involved, including yourself, and then set out to remember the past honestly, the good times and the bad, unless the act of remembering is too much for you, in which case work on your brain to help it slide away from the painful memories and focus on the good things you have now. Have a teflon brain, and let the bad things from the past slide off you.
So, how to put acceptance and peace in action at Christmas?
- Never feel obliged to *have to* invite someone that you know will shatter your personal peace. Whoever it is, they have no right to access your personal space if it will cause you more pain.
- Be honest about the past. Accept the good times and the bad times, especially if you’re prone to romanticising a friendship into a ‘perfect thing’. Nothing is perfect: remember that.
- Accept your own feelings. Losing a friendship or a relationship is a little like a bereavement, so give yourself permission to feel the loss, anger, resentment and grief but not permission to allow them to overwhelm you.
- Embrace change. If doing the same things this year as last will lead to you wallowing in memories, then move on. Change the record, find a different place to visit, a different way to celebrate, a new tradition free from memories. Tradition is lovely, but not if it’s going to trigger you with memories you don’t want to hold on to.
And most of all remember that you are the hero of your own story. That doesn’t mean you’re always right (who is?) but that you ultimately get to put your own needs first. Nobody has a right to destroy your peace of mind. Be more Irene Dunne, be your own Leading Lady.
All the quotes this month share the same background, even if the headers are all different. Thanks go to Caley Dimmock on Unsplash for a very seasonal background ideal for all quotes, large and small. And today’s header is by Jessica Delp on Unsplash. I chose it because, when times get rough and peace seems an impossible dream, finding a small space to sit and stare into a candle can be just the break I need. I liked how this photo has the candle and snow behind. Take a break outside to breathe out pain and breathe in strength. Very zen.
Today’s Film: A Christmas Carol, the 1984 TV film version with George C Scott. He’s a very active and strong Scrooge, full of vitality and life, which is not how Scrooge is usually represented. Because of that, his certainty in being right has more force, and because of that the power of his accepting his past and setting out for a better future has more power.
Today’s Mindful Action: Write out, or copy from online, the quote from A Christmas Carol that says ““I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” Put it up somewhere you will see it every day. Scrooge’s lesson is all about acceptance and peace, changing the past for a better future and living well in the present. Why not meditate on that every day before Christmas?
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’s filled with advice on a daily, weekly and annual basis to help you 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.
Of course Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is an essential read at this time of year. 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.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my personal look at Dicken’s Immortal Classic through the eyes of a Christmas obsessive and hygge lover. It includes the full text of the book, as well as my short essays on why A Christmas Carol is a book full of hygge. I have no idea why, but Kindle version and paperback are on different pages.
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 links to all the articles in this series are on the blogpost: Mindful Christmas 2021.