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 Nature.
So much of hygge is inside for many people: candles, throws, cosy fireside chats. It would be easy to assume that hygge is only for homebirds.
And yet hygge, the feeling of safe, cosy, happy, soul-warming belonging, can happen anywhere. Indeed, if we are to be full citizens on the Plant Earth we all inhabit, we have to see the outside, and Nature especially, as part of our family.
It’s easy to feel respect and love for the wilderness and beauty of nature if you live in the wild North. States of America or provinces of Canada where it snows and is cold throughout winter have a head start here. There are few immediate pleasures to compete with spending time outside on a shockingly cold day, clearing snow or pushing a path through to the road, before crawling into a warm bath and then enjoying an evening where the light of the house reflects off the fresh snow in the garden below.
Garden owners, too, have an overwhelming advantage to accessing nature, whether cold or not. Feeding the birds, watching the wildlife, tracing the course of the sun across the sky and its path past fixed markers in the garden… it’s easy to feel the seasons change when you have an easy and open access to the outside.
If you live in a house with no garden, or in appartments or in the city, then your nature will be harder to find. Keep looking, though: it is there! Look up, and see the birds that roost in town at night, watch the path of the moon on nights out, find the small cracks where nature finds a way. And grab every chance you can to find nature in larger spaces: visit country parks at the weekend, take breaks in city parks, find the local children’s farm, visit safari park or zoo. Go find nature and be with it, even if just for an hour.
We are all just small specks in the comprehensive system of the Universe. Bask in that idea: appreciate just how fragile and unique we all are, and go forth with love to be the best you can be.
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 Marc Newberry on Unsplash. I chose it because the combination of snowflakes show the individuality of them all. We are all snowflakes in the end: unique, and only here for very short time.
Today’s Film: All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride. If you can find it, this 2 hour slow TV special is as good as a ride out in the frozen North, without the icy wind and risk of snow. Just sit back and relax.
Today’s Mindful Action: Get out into Nature. Go for a walk, go to the woods, go to the beach. Just get out there in the daytime or night time and enjoy nature just as it is now.
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.