As we hurtle towards the end of the year (how did that happen?) here are some things you might like to do in December.
As we rush through December, we often need to make space: to accommodate guests or hide gifts, for extra food or to display Christmas decorations. This makes December a good month to have a clear out. Not a massive throw everything in the middle of the floor and sort through, but just to stand back, assess and clear. Take good quality stuff to the charity shop and you’ll be doing something worthwhile too.
We also need to make space for ourselves to escape from the frenzy that December can become. It may be five minutes sitting alone in a quiet space or five hours in a spa, a bracing hike up a hill or a walk in the local park. Whatever’s your thing.
Taking a walk outside can help reduce heart rate and levels of fatigue, anxiety and depression.
Doing something creative can increase happiness and reduce anxiety. A few minutes spent making thumbprint robins with a two-year-old certainly increased my happiness, though anxiety levels were raised a little when I realised the ink pads didn’t contain washable ink.
December is a good time to donate. Give your time, perhaps as a volunteer or campaigner. Give a sum of money to a cause you support or buy gifts and cards from charity shops. Donate warm clothing and essentials like hats, gloves and coats to charities in December.
Give food to a Food Bank, maybe having a Reverse Advent Calendar where you put an item of food into a box each day through Advent. Check with your local Food Bank to see what they need and their collection dates. If you need inspiration, our local Food Bank has a downloadable reverse Advent calendar
GIFT WRAP WITH THOUGHT
There’s growing concern about the amount of wrapping paper that’s used at Christmas time. It’s designed for single use and not all wrapping paper can be recycled; some is plastic based and most of the paper that could be recycled is covered with sticky tape and has glitter and foil tags attached, which means it ends up in land fill or incinerated.
Use paper that can be recycled and secure your paper with string or ribbon instead of sticky tape. The paper won’t be ripped to shreds so can be reused, as can the string and ribbon.
Use fabric instead of paper. Be a little inventive and use tea-towels, shawls, sarongs or bobble hats tied with a ribbon and you have a gift within a gift. Make or buy fabric drawstring bags that can be used time and time again. If you have a pile of fabric remnants, stitch them together to make a reusable fabric wrapper like these Giftwraps and wrap your gifts Furoshiki style.
EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY
Bring in the Christmas tree, put up the decorations and enjoy the season.
Chestnuts and Brussels sprouts, cranberries and clementines, turkey and ham, Christmas cake and mince pies, Sloe gin cocktails and egg nog, hot chocolate sipped in front of a roaring fire, parties and family gatherings, pantomimes and carol concerts, Christmas lights and candles, new and old traditions, leisurely walks and pub lunches, quiet reflective times and noisy unruly times … Eat, drink and be merry.