it’s beginning to feel a lot like christmas??
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been feeling very festive or in the Christmas mood this year. The weather has been too warm and mild to feel like it’s time for thinking about Christmas – until this morning when there was a magical frost outside which lasted nearly all day long in my garden. This year has gone far too quickly and in my head it could still be October rather than December. Its all very doom and gloom in the world with the cost of living crisis getting worse and worse. And to top it all, no one knows what they want for Christmas so I was, in general, feeling a little ‘bah humbug’ about the whole thing.
And then earlier this week, I had a quiet day, so decided I would put up my tree and decorations and try to enter into the spirit of Christmas. Once I’d cleared away all the mess and boxes and saw it all coming together, I remembered how much I love having the decorations up, candles lit, the fire glowing and twinkling lights on anything that stands still long enough.
it’s the simple things
Sometimes it’s the very small and simple things that bring the most pleasure and comfort. Getting out the old and familiar decorations year on year can bring back lovely memories of family traditions. Making everything feel cosy, warm and festive can suddenly make these dark, cold nights quite welcome.
It made me think of the Danish concept of Hygge (hoo-gah) – creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candle light is hygge, curling up with a mug of hot chocolate under a cosy throw on the sofa is hygge, spending time with family and friends is hygge, wrapping up warm and going out for country walks is hygge. Basically anything that makes you feel content and happy is Hygge.
Hygge came originally from old Norwegian, where it meant something like ‘well-being’ and the Danes adopted it at the end of the 18th century, and have embraced it ever since.
Here are 5 ways to you to embrace Hygge over the festive period
1. CONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Connection and being with others is important at any time of year, and at Christmas being on our own can feel even harder. Try and reconnect with those you have lost touch with or reach out to anyone who might be on their own. Gathering together to share food and drink and spend some quality time is really important and is a major happiness boost.
2. PRACTICE THE ART OF GRATITUDE
Often Christmas feels like the season of excess, needing and wanting more, commercialism and spending for spending’s sake. We often forget to be grateful for the small things in our lives. The roof over our heads, the food in our fridge, our friends and family. Think about the all the things we already have, that are free and available to us every day. Hygge is all about enjoying experiences rather than physical things.
3. SPEND TIME IN NATURE
Make the most of going outside and spending time in nature, it will really lift your spirits and your mood. The weather may not be that appealing, but what better feeling than coming in to a warm, cosy home after a bracing, wet and windy walk. This is also the perfect time of year to bring the outside in, as we decorate Christmas trees, make wreaths for the door, hang holly, ivy and mistletoe around our homes. Just seeing the patterns, colours and textures of nature has a calming and relaxing effect on our minds and bodies.
4. SLOW DOWN
Think about the word ‘present’ at this time of year as being in the here and now, rather than buying an extravagant gift for someone. It’s so important to focus on the moment we are in, science has shown we are happier when we are more present. It doesn’t have to perfect, you don’t need to run yourself ragged doing everything. Learn to say no, to pace yourself, to delegate, to cheat (not everything has to be made from scratch!). Take some time out, to breathe and relax – this is supposed to be a holiday after all.
5. BE KIND
To yourself and others… This is the season of peace and goodwill. And that means looking after yourself as well as others. Make some time for some self care and relaxation – take a bath, read a book, listen to music, make something crafty or watch a Christmas movie. When you spend time with others, give them your undivided attention – put your phone away and have quality time. Think of simple things to do together – play games, go for walks, curl up and watch a movie together, cook and eat together. Think before you speak if you are with people who you don’t normally see eye to eye with. Give people the gift of time, patience and understanding.