Essential gifts for a caring, merry (little) Christmas
2020 – it’s certainly been a tricky year, and the ludicrous headline that “Boris, has cancelled Christmas” seems particularly fitting. With Christmas travel plans cancelled, you may be amongst the millions restricted to a Tier 4 Christmas in London, but this time apart needn’t be tearful if you take care to avoid the nostalgia traps.
How rubbish can it get? Your dreams of a family reunion may have been cruelly dashed. Your hopes for a hint of normality in this challenging year might have been snatched away. Christmas certainly won’t be the same without all the familiar tastes and traditions that you might normally recreate and share en masse over the festive period.
This may seem like a tearful tier 4 christmas and a holiday devoid of festivity, but if you and your loved ones are safe, fit and well, I think it offers many surprising opportunities. Think of them as essential seasonal gifts for the one you love – only this time they’re gifts for you.
GIFT 1 Ignore the hysterical headlines
I’m not suggesting you throw all caution to the wind, but the stress and anxiety created by news flashes regarding cancellations, restrictions and mutations only depletes your psychological reseves, emotional stamina and immune resilience. For now, switch off the news, take a calming breath, and put your attention on something else.
GIFT 2 Take a moment for a small act of self-care
It could be as simple as taking a long bath, filled to the brim with bubbles and scented oils, (even better if you remain uninterupted). You might invite everyone in your household to dance like utter nutters, together, until you’re all wild-eyed, laughing and ridiculously out of breath. You could plant those spring bulbs (it’s not too late if the soil hasn’t frozen) and add a cheery splash of colour in your garden or on your windowsill. Activities like these are shown to get your endorphins, dopamine and serotonin levels on the up, which means your feelings of being positive, encouraged and included will soon follow.
GIFT 3 Get out of the house for a stomp and a romp
Whether you’re out walking together as a household, or by yourself, now’s the time to look up and appreciate the day. To splash in a puddle, kick up some leaves, or discover a new path near your home. And to acknowledge all the other people that you pass on your way. You’re all out there together!
GIFT 4 Accept the challenge and embrace the change
Build resilience… pivot… adapt… change: these were the understandings and words of encouragement sprinkled throughout the year, and the Christmas holiday hasn’t proved to be any different. Which means that if you’re at home you can embrace the challenge to change your typical activities and create some lovely new, household traditions. A leisurely breakfast of pancakes? Spoken Christmas wishes instead of Christmas crackers? No more food on your plate than you can feasibly eat? Dining at 7pm and having a more relaxed day? It seems there are endless opportunities to avoid the whirlwind of Christmas.
As I anticipate spending a mini Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with my hubby, I am feeling a little wary. I know that tradition is strong and change is hard, so it will be tempting to make days that taste and smell just how they always do. But I know that by doing this, I might be jumping into the nostalgia-trap: spending a day with my mind turned inwards and eyes cast backwards; squandering wonderful moments that are occurring in the present; thinking about what would ‘normally’ be happening and feeling a sense of loss. I think gifts like these will be particularly useful for me too!
Christmas 2020, yes, it could be a tricky one.
Whatever you do, and wherever you are I wish you health, happiness and peace.