7 New and Old Ways to Celebrate Christmas
Christmas time is here at last! While it simultaneously feels like it snuck up on us, but took sooooo long to get here this year, I decided to put together a few new and old ways to celebrate Christmas this year. These can be incorporated into your already thriving Christmas traditions, or just considered for a moment as you enjoy this holiday season. May it help you celebrate the return of the light-because we all need to incorporate more hope, light, and wellbeing into our hearts not only at Christmas time, but at all times.
1. Bake something “just because “
I am a baker. Hands down, one of my favorite ways to celebrate any holiday is to bake something delicious and share it with my loved ones. The best part? I always get a piece of the pie (or whatever else I’m making) too! However, sometimes around the holidays I get caught up in the perfection of it all-the desire to make whatever I’m making beautiful, special, or aesthetic for taking pictures or to impress others. This defeats the purpose of baking something homemade or “just because.”
In my opinion, some of the best holiday cookies I have made have been the ones I quickly whipped up because I had the hankering for them. It’s not that the baked goods I planned out specially and put a lot of work into turn out bad-oh no- but there is something special about the imperfect, homemade, improvised, eat-it-fresh-out-of-the-oven baked goods that don’t exist longer than an evening. There’s something about the rough-edged gingersnaps or the lumpy goodness of a last-minute apple cobbler that just screams Hygge and home!
2. Quiet time
One of my favorite Christmas songs is Silent Night. There’s a reason for it: not only is it just so pretty, but it elicits a feeling of serenity, reverence, and contemplation. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be hard to find a moment of quiet. What you have to do is find that time for yourself and my recommendation is to do it daily. This is the best way to celebrate-taking quiet time for yourself allows you to open yourself up to joy by recharging your batteries. Isn’t Joy what this time is all about?
3. Revisit childhood favorites
As a child, my mom and dad were really into seasonal movies, TV shows, and other festive ways to celebrate. I have vivid childhood memories of watching our vast VHS collection including classics like Charlie Brown, the animated Grinch Who Stole Christmas, various anthologies of Disney animations, and the essential stop-motion films like Rudolph and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.
In this world, its hard to find joy in the world like we used to as a kid. We grow up, we grow old, and we forget who we are-and who we were. Remembering and harkening back to when we were children can be one of the best ways to celebrate Christmas, and one of my favorite things to do is watch those videos that remind me of when I was a little kid. Getting in touch with your inner child is so healthy and encourages creativity, positivity, and reinforces our egos in a good way- paying attention to the child within is positive for not only you, but for the little you inside of you, too.
4. Embrace aromatherapy
Smell is closely related with memory. This is why many readers prefer physical books to digital copies: it awakens the sense and triggers or solidifies memory. Smell is such an important part of our daily lives, though it is often taken for granted. For me, Christmas smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, fresh coffee, and pie crust at my grandma’s house. It smells like fresh pine and cedar, the boxes the tree ornaments lived in, and it smells like home.
This winter season, embrace aromatherapy and make a simmer pot, diffuse a christmassy blend in an essential oil diffuser or diffuser reeds, or incorporate christmassy essential oils in places like your bathroom for a hit of cheer. A fun idea is to gather pinecones (or any other kind of sturdy confer cone) and drop essential oil on them. These make a great display for a living room area, just be sure to clean the pinecones of any debris before oiling them. Not only do essential oils help your house smell clean and inviting, but it triggers memories of happiness, wellbeing, and calm: essentially what Christmas is all about. Please note that essential oils are much better for your health when used correctly and safely than a lot of synthetic air freshening agents.
5. Body movement
It’s easy to let this wintry time be one of indoor seclusion and eating, eating, eating: body movement, no matter how small, is needed. Nature walks, ice skating, or even gentle indoor yoga are all great ways to nurture your flesh and respect your body. Exercise helps improve digestion, mood, and feelings of wellbeing. It can also be highly beneficial for those suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder, especially if you take a walk in the peak of the day to get your daily ration of winter Vitamin D. Body movement helps you celebrate life, which is, after all, what you deserve.
6. Internal vacation
This year there won’t be a lot of traveling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a few days off to do an internal vacation! If at all possible, unplug and get offline for a while. Vacate the stressful parts of your life and just BE. Take stock of your expectations (which is the root of all of MY seasonal stress) and check them-see which ones are true, and which ones are false. Talk to those you love, sit down and have a dinner table discussion. Watch Christmas movies without interruptions from your phone, do some Christmas crafts without the Pinterest reference. Embrace coziness, safety, light, and mellow moments with those you love the most-f*ck the rest. Let it all fall away and get back to the root of your life’s meaning. This kind of internal vacation is needed-especially in light of the world today.
7. Ditch the booze
Alcohol is all well and good, but in my personal opinion, being sober is better. Alcohol is fun and a good way to relax, break down inhibitions and celebrate, but it does have its drawbacks. Not only does it lower your immune function, contribute to weight gain, spike your insulin, lower your immune system, and give you a headache (thanks, nitrates) but it leaves you susceptible to energetically to vibes you really don’t need (there’s a reason its called “spirits” if you know what I mean.) While it’s ok to imbibe every once in a while, drinking alcohol often can give you not only hangovers but other health complications-even if you only are a weekend warrior.
Sobriety aligns you with your heart and keeps your mind clear from distractions that keep you rooted in old patterns of behavior that arise from unconsciousness…so here are some ideas on what to make instead of your go-to cocktail this season.
Mulled Cider You will need: -Mulling spice (a mix of cinnamon, orange rind, and whole allspice and cloves) -A large saucepan or crockpot -A gallon of apple juice or cider (store-bought or homemade) -About 20 minutes to let it steep Pour your apple juice/cider in with the appropriate amount of mix (mine calls for 1 tbs but I used 1 1/2 for 1 gallon). I used a clean teastrainer for loose leaf tea for the mix, but if you don't have one be sure to strain the spices out before you serve. Let simmer for 20 minutes, then enjoy! Best served hot from the pot and enjoyed with your favorite book, movie, or person.Sparkling Cranberry "Cocktail" You will need: -A bottle of unflavored mineral water (I used San Pallegrino) -No sugar added Cranberry juice (I used Ocean Spray) -An orange or tangerine peel slice -A fancy glass to pour it in Its as easy as combining your mineral water with cranberry juice. Use the classic bartender move and garnish your drink with citrus peel after expressing some of the oils into the empty glass by squeezing it. I fill about 3/4 of the glass with very cold cranberry juice and fill the rest with equally cold mineral water. You can -almost- trick yourself into believing you are having a cocktail! This way you can still have something bitter and fizzy that hits all the right notes that having a glass of sparkling wine or a vodka cranberry does. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary or candied cranberries instead of an orange peel if you want to getreally fancy!
With the holidays fast approaching, its easy to get swamped in the to-dos and lists, lists, lists. Did you make sure to check it twice? How about three times? While this is still a list, I hope it encourages you to really celebrate this season and get the most out of this equally quiet and busy time of the year. Be sure to give this article a like, subscribe to the blog, and leave me a comment if this was useful or entertaining for you.
Originally published at http://imperfectionfreak.wordpress.com on December 17, 2020.