How to… survive Christmas



 “Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”

–Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

It is a special time, long awaited every year and always passing too fast. However, if you can sense an element of monotony, duty or even of burden in this annual frenzy, here are a few tips which may help find pleasure in the December celebrations.

  •  Have the house ready sooner than later. Closer to the merry days, decorate all rooms, especially the hall and living area, with silver, gold, green and red ornaments. Make it appear gentle and fine, rather than rich and lavish, leaving space for your mind and soul to breathe and flourish in a peaceful setting.
  • Book tickets for a night out in December. It doesn’t have to be Christmas carols concert (though why not?), just lose yourself in what you love: a movie, theatre show, ballet or a concert. You will return home enchanted and in perfect mood for the approaching festivities.
  • Prepare presents in advance and hide them well – this will take a lot off your head during this busy time. Be generous, try to read the minds of your closest ones to surprise them in the best way and see their contented faces on Christmas Day.
  • Treat yourself and the family with quality food – give preference to healthy options with plenty of fruit, veg, nuts, etc. This will fill you up with energy and your mind with fresh ideas. Engage everyone with joyful cooking and baking. Let the scent of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom permeate the air. When all is ready, celebrate at a table decorated with subtle embellishments and set with festive tableware.
  • Share out the jobs, as guests want to feel useful too. Do what you can ahead of time, but then put all the ongoing jobs on a list, for example emptying the dishwasher and setting the table.
  • Turn off the lights – have your meals and spend time by candle lights, burn the fire in the fireplace, let the Christmas tree shine all evening.
  • Don’t forget the music – whether Christmas carols, Tchaikovsky’s Nut Cracker or your favourite current pieces. This will complete the atmosphere and make you wish the time has stopped at this beautiful moment.
  • Get out of the house at least once a day. The fresh air and open spaces will invigorate, the natural light will lift mood, and you will return feeling calm, renewed, refreshed, and ready for the  next round of Trivial Pursuit!
  • Appreciate your loved ones. This time is a rare occasion to gather together. Let the climate of cordiality, forgiveness and unity prevail in hope that everyone will return next year.
  •  Don’t expect it to be the “perfect” Christmas! Celebrations such as Christmas can throw changes in families such as divorce, bereavement or people moving away so learn to adapt.
  •  Break up the time. Spending the whole day in a confined space can add extra strain. Plan time to go for a walk, watch a film or play a board game – but one with simple rules!
  •  Leave the sweet, cosy home and head off to help others, especially those in need, the elderly and sick, animals in shelters. Make their days happy with good words and deeds. Give them what they may miss every day. Making their day special will make yours even more!

Office opening times over the festive period

Please note that our office will be closed from 3 pm on Friday 22nd December until 9:00 am on Wednesday 3rd January 2017.

P.S. The money we have saved by emailing our Christmas message to you instead of printing and sending a Christmas card, will be donated to the Cinnamon Trust and Hillside Animal Sanctuary, our favourite charities.

Photo © Grace Azadvar-Smith. All rights reserved.

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