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 play 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 word is Contentment.
Contentment, more than happiness, is a state I love to be in. Nothing is perfect, ther chores still need to be done, it’s raining and stopping me from taking my walk and yet I can be perfectly content with an ordinary cup of tea, absolute rubbish on TV and a book that I may/may not have read before.
Life doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to do. If I ever become a life coach (unlikely: my own life is so chaotic most of the time, I’d be a hypocrite telling anyone else how to live) then you have my full permission to laugh if I ever tell anyone else how to achieve a perfect home, family, love life, career…. I mean. Seriously: perfection is overrated, and impossible to achieve. Good enough. That’s all I’ll ever achieve.
I’m an indifferent housekeeper, but a great homemaker. The place will never be spotless, but it will be cosy, comfortable, lived in. There may be marks on the windows or crumbs left a day too long on the floor, but there will also be tea in the caddy (ordinary builders tea as well as posh chai or fruit flavours) and chance of a cake slice if you call by around Christmas. And always time to sit, chat, laugh at life and just be content together. I’m happy with what I have, I am content with life. And contentment is a great gift to have.
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 a photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash. I love simple actions and there are few actions simpler, or easier, to do than drawing a heart on a frosted up window. What a small action, that can spread love across the world? Imagine if every time you saw a frosted window you drew a heart that lifted the soul of the next person to see it, who drew a heart for the person after… like spreading a smile, but without needing to see the immediate response. I am always going to draw a heart on any window I meet.
Today’s Film: The Holiday. Some people gush over the enormous LA mansion with cinema room and surround sound system in the bedroom… me, I love either the miniature beauty of Rose cottage or, even better, Mill House. I wrote about it in this post from December 2017 when I explained why we all need a nook. Whatever. I watch this movie in the summer for the story and in December to enjoy the homes.
Today’s Mindful Action: Go around your home and stroke everything about it you love. Touch the door, the window that looks out over the garden, the kitchen counter, your bed. Bless your house with love. Buy your home a small gift for Christmas… a new candle or a coaster to show it that you love it and, from now onwards, make it a promise to yourself to say hello or goodbye to your home on entering or leaving. You expect it to take care of you, show that you love it back. And if tehre’s no corner of your home that you love? Create one: a small shelf or cleared countertop with a vase of flowers, candle or ornament that you can start off practising home-love with.
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.