“Christmas isn’t just a day, It’s a frame of Mind”
Valentine Davies, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’
Yes, it’s fast approaching that time of year again. Whilst people are scurrying around trying to buy Christmas presents on an ever-increasing tight budget, have we forgotten the true spirit of Christmas?
Giving of ourselves, is not particularly about monetary gifts but rather a time of reaching out to those who are alone, making them feel part of the love and sense of wider family. A time to reflect on the year passed. Maybe thinking of those who have passed away or moved away. A time to love each other and, in particular, ourselves. Yes, you read me correctly. You have been chasing around all year, working hard, keeping all the plates spinning and now as the short nights close in and the fires crackle earlier in the evenings, it’s time to be good to yourself and ease into a time of rest. Nature has it down part. What do most animals do in the winter? Hibernate.
It isn’t just about one day or one week, it is something special that if we really think about it, should be interwoven into our lives the whole year through. This feeling of love, cosiness and celebration. The Danes have a word for this, Hygge, “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
I know the thought of Christmas can be stressful for so many people and so much has been written about it, that I have decided not to regurgitate the negatives in this blog but rather to help reframe our attitude to it.
Ideas for The Christmas Season to Keep You in a Positive Frame of Mind
- If you really can’t bear a traditional Christmas, take yourself off to a holiday in the sun. With the money you would have spent at home, this will go a long way towards an escape in the sun.
- Share the duties with all concerned. If people are coming to your house for dinner, ask them to bring different dishes/sauces. This can be fun when everyone rows in behind you.
- Maybe instead of the traditional turkey and pudding, you can try something completely different but equally tasty. Less fuss and less time in the kitchen.
- I have table conversation cards which I first used last Christmas. When dinner was over, to keep everyone involved in chat, we all picked out a card and the conversation really flowed and even expanded to other topics. Questions like, “Which book dramatically influenced your life?” or “Have you ever had an experience that led you to believe in angels or ghosts?” It is great fun and gets people away from boring conversations. Most people I talk to say they are forced into circles with people they don’t see from one end of the year to the next and are at a loss to find something to chat about. This may be the solution, plus it’s bags of fun. By the way, this item makes for an original gift for someone.
- Get out in the fresh air at the earliest opportunity. Even a brisk walk an hour after the main dinner, can recharge your batteries in so many ways. If you can also go out on Christmas morning, the exhilaration of seeing the wildlife around can help centre you for the day. December affords some of the most impressive scenes in the wildlife calendar. According to an article in The Times by Paddy Woodworth, “This is the time of maximum abundance for waterfowl – swans, geese and ducks – and spectacular wading birds like curlew and sandpipers”. On this note, make sure to feed the birds in your garden. You may be surprised at what new visitors may arrive. I remember one cold Christmas morning, seeing several Mistle Thrush on the back wall – what a sight and sound! The holly berries probably attracted them.
- On Christmas eve, if faith has been important to you, but you lapsed during the year, go to church on Christmas Eve to reconnect with your spiritual side. There are some fantastic Christmas Carol services around to put you in a positive mood.
- Following on from this, if you are a singer, take part in a carol service yourself. Nothing like belting out a few old favourites to get you in the zone and decrease stress. It also gives you a sense of connection.
- If sitting in front of T.V is not for you, grab a good book in a quiet comfy spot and escape into the pages of your favourite author. You can always record your favourite movie to watch later. Have you noticed that at Christmas in particular, there is usually a disagreement about who takes control of the remote and what to watch?
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen over Christmas. Nothing like a bit of altruism to deepen the Christmas experience. I remember one year in London making turkey sandwiches on Boxing day and going down to Camden handing out food. Some of the homeless people were a bit suspicious of me but others loved the idea of a home -made offering.
Christmas is just another day but our approach to it can be a game changer. It’s a state of mind. A Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas to All Book Hub readers.
Until next year. Blessings and Love xx
 Woodworth P. Fantastic Irish Winter Birds and Where to Find Them” The Irish Times; Oct 28th, 2017.