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 Sanctuary.
It’s actually the word I’ve chosen as my word of the Year 2022, so I’ll be thinking about Sanctuary all through January at least, and probably letting it colour my year as well.
Today is Christmas Eve, a day of peace, if we’re lucky, a day of preparation, of getting ready, of busy-ness and bustle. A day for family, a day for home, a day when reaching our destination matters and when being with the people we love (especially if we’re having a small Christmas: why not love yourself?) matters. It is a day when feeling safe, feeling secure, feeling in a place where we are free from irritations matters. Even as we race to wrap that last gift, to bake that last cake, to prep that last vegetable we need to feel that we can do it in safety.
That’s why this post has been written on 20th December, and set to publish in advance. I won’t be on social this Christmas beyond the occasional post or comment. I won’t be engaging with the outside world much if I can help it. I have a couple of books that I know are dropping down my chimney (Santa knows me so well) and I will be reading, thinking about and spending time setting up my virtual, physical, mental and actual life to be more of a Sanctuary.
Sanctuary also means a sacred space, a blessed or holy place set apart from secular life. I’d like my life to have a holy space, time to meditate and a place to feel at peace. Today, even as I follow my preparation list (bake, chop, make and wrap) I will set time aside to listen to Carols from Kings at 3pm, time at nearly midnight to visit church and join in the quiet contemplation of the midnight service and a space in the house where I can go and escape a family which, love them as I do, I need a break from now and then.
And may you find a place of sanctuary, too. A safe space, a special place, and a moment of calm to feel the peace of Christmas. Whatever your faith, or none, we could all do with a spot of calm reflection in life. May you have a happy, healthy and hopeful Christmas with the ones you love or alone, and may we meet again soon.
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 Sincerely Media on Unsplash. I love the plain background, the coffee mug for one and the empty bowl (what was the treat that the bowl held?)
Today’s Film: The Muppets’ Christmas Carol. One of the best. And if you can’t enjoy what I think is the absolute best version of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, then when can you? (well, if you’re me you start watching it in June and getting in the mood)
Today’s Mindful Action: When everything is done, when the gifts are out or ready to go out, when the meal in the evening is done and cleared and the last thing on your tick list (you must have a ticklist: every person has one for Christmas) has been crossed off and you are ready to fall in the spot where you stand/sit…. stop. Pause. Breathe. Christmas is a season that means so much to so many people in so many ways. You may love your current way of celebrating, you may hate it. Never mind. It’s not forever. It’s only for now. And it soon passes. For one, brief, silent moment just be. And I’ll see you in 2022, all being well, and unless I get time to enjoy a quick Romjul update next week. Bless you all for reading, and thank you for being my (mostly invisible) friends.
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.