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 words are Patience and Kindness.
For a time of year as tied up with giving as Christmas is, sometimes it seems that it isn’t absolutely enamoured with patience and kindness, not in the retail world at least! The patience of people in queues, the kindness to let another person have the last must-have toy in the shop, the love for all mankind idea that leaves when profit and personal want creeps in.
It’s part of the reason I start shopping so early and finish so soon. I like enjoying the spectacle of the shops in December, the decorations, the music, the buzz, but not the experience of actually buying anything. I was lucky when the kids were little that they never asked for anything so popular that getting hold of it was hard…. the closest we came was when the firstborn son, at nearly three years old, changed from a train track to a Thomas scooter the week before Christmas and, having made Santa out to be a miracle worker, we spent a fair amount of time (pre-internet) chasing one to the ground. Eventually my husband drove 20 miles in the opposite direction from his work to collect it so David could open it as a Christmas Surprise from Santa.
Patience, which I had in bucket loads as a teacher, is something I work hard to maintain now. I feel myself chuntering like my Grandmother sometimes at the state of the world. I’m a bit like Scrooge, as played by Albert Finney atthe start of the film, and in need of the milk of human kindness. Taking a step back, looking at a situation from an alternate viewpoint, exercising empathy and trying to imagine life as a different person all help me with that patience. The snazzy shop assistant? They’ve been working since 8am, didn’t get lunch and their feet ache. By 5pm, I’m lucky they’re awake, let alone still smiling.
That mother barging her way through with a full pram and a wailing baby? The baby needs to be fed, and she’s got boobs so hard she can’t concentrate (been there, done that). The last think she needs is a tsk tsk as she slams the pram into my ankles. I try to anticipate her movements, and get out of her way. Or hold the door open. Or just smile, and wish her a better day tomorrow.
It’s easier said than done, but remembering that we’re all passengers on the Spaceship Earth together and that life is better if we all get there in one piece helps. Just a small action: a smile, an offer to fetch something, rescuing the blanket falling off the pram. In the words of one supermarket in the UK: Every Little Helps. And in the words of another’s Christmas ad this year, “For you to be happy, you need to be kind.”
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 Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash. I chose it because the gnomes/nisse/tomte (delete as preferred) are a symbol of kindness for me in a way that Elf on the Shelf isn’t. I think it’s their faces, and the fact that they are often seen as taking care of the house and household. Be kind to them, the mythology goes, and they will be kind to you!
Today’s Film: Christmas With The Kranks. Without the kindness of their neighbours, the Kranks would never get their Christmas back on track!
Today’s Mindful Action: Is there anyone nearby you can do something for? Make today a day of RAOK (Randon Acts of Kindness). Take packets of sweets to give to the shop workers you meet, smile at everyone and do something positive for the world. Stuck at home? Take an action in support of your favourite charity: write a letter, sign a petition, share a post for awareness.
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.