Ten Ways to Enjoy a Slow Christmas
The presents are bought and wrapped, the catering is organised, and the big day is soon upon us. With all the preparation that goes into Christmas, it’s only right that we take the time to enjoy it. During the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in the Danish philosophy of Hygge (pronounced Hue-gah). If you are not from that part of the world, or indeed not familiar with the concept, it is essentially a state of mind which is often described as a sense of ‘cozy contentment’. Have you ever had a rush of comfort when sat with your hands gripping a hot mug of tea, whilst listening to the rain pitter patter on the window? Then you may be familiar with hygge without even knowing it. It is enjoying the simple pleasures in life, allowing yourself to just ‘be’. Christmas can be such a frantic time of year so setting aside time to relax in the moment is all too important.
1. Drift Away
Take time to just focus on the moment. Sure, there will be times when you are rushing around, everyone is hectic, and the noise is almost deafening. But there will be slower moments. In those moments, capture your pause button. You may be on the floor playing with new beautiful toys, listening to a story book your kids received on Christmas Eve, or watching a special film. Each of these can be appreciated in the moment in your own way. Not thinking about the messy kitchen or worrying about the slightly overcooked carrots (that all got eaten, by the way, and everyone else said were delicious). Just be in that moment, and don’t let it pass by unnoticed.
2. Celebrate Traditions
The wonderful thing about traditions is that they are a little part of family life that will be different to each and every one of us. Parts of our nationality, heritage and history. Families coming together from different backgrounds to join in celebration. Take time to recognise these traditions and reflect on how they came to be part of modern life.
3. The Meaning of Christmas
The meaning of Christmas varies greatly from house to house, family to family. Some will be heavily influenced by their faith and for others, it is a time to celebrate and strengthen the union of family and friendship. The undeniable truth about modern Christmas is that it can be overtaken by consumerism, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Above all else, Christmas is a time to come together with loved ones, be that friends, family or, perhaps, in some cases, strangers seeking companionship. Whatever gifts may or may not be under the tree, the true meaning of Christmas, is love and humility.
4. Be Nostalgic
Talking fondly with those nearest to you about ‘the good times’ can give a real feeling of inner warmth and contentment. Do you have a group of old school friends that you always seem to talk to about ‘the good old days’? We enjoy the feeling of familiarity; it feels safe and cosy. Remember those that have played an important part in our lives, and feel a state of nostalgic happiness as we remember those times together. Perhaps you had a grandfather that was a real card shark or an auntie that always told inappropriate jokes. Celebrating life and recognising loss is important for us all.
5. Reach out to People you Don’t Know
Increasingly, there is a trend toward ‘random acts of kindness’. That is the altruistic idea that a person can do a deed that will benefit another person (or animal), but expect absolutely nothing in return. A truly selfless act that leaves you feeling a sense of contentment. In the lead up to Christmas, many families enjoy taking part in a reverse advent calendar by giving, opposed to receiving. It’s not too late to get involved; take a plant to a neighbour, pay for a coffee for the person in front of you in the queue, donate toys or books to charity, make a bird feeder or take food to an animal shelter, to name just a few ideas. Giving rather than receiving really does give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
6. Fresh Air
Getting outdoors and connecting with nature is one sure way to get you appreciating your surroundings. A fresh breezy walk is part of the festive tradition for many of us. Walk alongside your loved ones as you feel the air on your cheeks and the warmth of winter sun, or perhaps spots of rain on your face. Soak it up, breathe it in, and treasure those moments.
7. Read Stories
Grab a peaceful moment, find a quiet spot and a comfy seat, and enjoy story time together. Maybe a friend or relative will be telling you a story of their childhood, or you may be enjoying a story sack together as a family. Whatever form it takes, stories and books are a wonderful way to bond and to immerse yourself in the moment. Feel the warmth as you cuddle up together, listening to the words, and allow your imagination to run free.
8. Share the Responsibility
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by Christmas by piling pressure on yourself to have the ‘perfect’ day. Learn to delegate and manage people’s expectations before the event. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the tasks you have set yourself, but share them out! There is no reason that one person should be rushing around all day and not being able to take time for themselves, to relax and enjoy the moment. Many hands, and all that…
9. Play games
Enjoy good old fashioned fun. Play games, be silly, sing songs. laugh together. That is all.
10. Cherish the Simple things
Whatever happens during the festive period, there will be many moments of joy. It is sometimes the small things, that all add up to a feeling of contentment. Soak up each moment, pause to feel cosy, and enjoy.
Remember most importantly, that it is not about the moment being perfect, it is to acknowledge the moment for whatever it is.