We can all agree that 2020 has been a strange and difficult year. Filled with uncertainty, there hasn’t been much to celebrate or even much opportunity to do so.
When it comes to Christmas, we already know that it will be a bit different this time around. With further restrictions in place and uncertainty surrounding December, old traditions may feel impossible and the idea of new ones a little exhausting. So, what’s the solution? It’s time to bring the festive fun home and start everything now!
Studies show that celebrating all things Christmas can have a positive effect on our mental health and these benefits can actually increase the earlier you start. In fact, people who break out the baubles in November are considered on average to be the happiest. Scientists attribute this to a mixture of nostalgia and something they call ‘savouring’, a technique that allows us to fully experience and absorb all of life’s most special moments.
Think about it: lights are twinkling, familiar feel-good tunes are playing and the scent of fresh pine drifts through the house. Maybe you’ve just pulled a tray of fresh mince pies out of the oven and the kids are busy decorating a batch of gingerbread biscuits. Doesn’t that sound good?
In the spirit of things, we have rounded up some ideas and inspiration to help you stretch out some yuletide joy. After all, the more the merrier.
If there were ever a time to seek out some happiness, this is it. Christmas celebrations are proven to evoke warm memories from childhood or even make up for past neglect. They are a sweet reminder of a simpler age, without worries or responsibilities, something that we really need now. When we can’t travel or mix households, an old song or seasonal treat may remind us of loved ones who we can’t see or who are no longer with us.
Tip: Get out your family stockings and hang them up as festive décor. Share stories with your little ones about your early Christmases and start new traditions with them that they will treasure when they’re older.
Little ones love this time of year and no, it’s not all about the presents. It’s all of the pretty lights, sparkly decorations and the general cheer that make this season one of magic and wonder. One silver lining of a lockdown is that we are forced to spend time at home with our families, which after all is what makes Christmas so special.
Tip: Pick out a new bauble to commemorate the extra time that you have been able to spend together. Personalise it with your family name and an important date for a pretty, physical representation of this time to remind you that even in the midst of so much uncertainty, there were still reasons to celebrate.
As a winter of restrictions looms, we all have people who we will miss even more at this time of year. At a time of separation, it’s important to look for ways to make us feel a little closer, even when we are apart.
Tip: Send a friend or relative a special ornament with a message or the name of a little one they miss to spread some seasonal cheer a little earlier this year and to let them know that you are always thinking of them.
The technique of ‘savouring’ can also teach children gratitude and encourage their own warm and cosy feeling of nostalgia in adulthood. Make memories from the smallest moments, bake up festive treats with your kids and sit in front of the tree as a family and each describe your favourite decoration. You’ll be surprised how these little rituals can add up to a much happier two months.
Tip: Start a countdown to the countdown with a reusable advent calendar. Fill each pocket or compartment with a tasty treat or little trinket to make each day feel like Christmas.
With more time spent indoors, now is the perfect time to add a touch of sparkle to your home to cheer you and your neighbours up a bit. Decorate your windows or give the outside of your home a glow and bring some literal light to the winter darkness. After all, people who decorate their homes are on average perceived as friendlier and kinder by their neighbours.
Tip: Think about it, how do you feel when you pass a holly wreath hanging on a door or a set of decorations hanging in a window?
As the long nights start to draw in, we hope you find some sparkle in darkness. Don’t be afraid to munch a mince pie or pull a cracker at tea time. The spirit of Christmas is all about kindness and togetherness, something we need more than ever these days. If you do decide to start celebrating the season early, please tag us @My1stYears #my1styears on Instagram so that we can share in your merrymaking.
My 1st Years x
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