14 December 2013

I heart Christmas!

I don't know about you, but I love Christmas just as much at my age as I did when I was a child. It fills me with this magical feeling that only Christmas can. Now that I am older, it is nothing to do with presents, but everything to do with all the little things you do, with the people you love, on the build up to the big day itself.

Don't get me wrong, I love buying presents, and treating the special people in my life, but I love all the other things that come with it too. Here is my 'Christmas Experience Top 10'...

1. Let there be light.
You cannot beat hundreds of white fairy lights around the house. If you can't do it at this time of year, when can you? I usually manage to convince myself to leave some up. This year it will probably be the kitchen ones as that room can be particularly dark, but the lights have just added so much life! They are keepers.
2. Be in the 'market' for festive times.
It is impossible to get through December without going to at least one Christmas market or fair. Even if you do not want to spend any money, get yourself to one anyway, just for the atmosphere alone. Buy a warming glass of mulled wine and slowly wander about. I find them really relaxing and you cannot help but feel in the Christmas spirit after you have spent some time immersed in it all! Also, they are great places to find a unique gift for your special someone.
3. Indulge in some childhood nostalgia.
There is kind of a tradition, in our house, to watch favourite Christmas movies on the build up to Christmas Day. As a kid, my favourite was 'The Muppet Christmas Carol', which we now own on DVD, despite the fact that they play it (and about 50 other versions of 'The Christmas Carol') on TV every year. So far this December Joe and I have watched: 'Home Alone', 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York', 'Elf', 'Nativity' and, a big TV favourite of ours, the 'Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special' (so hilarious!). We still have the muppets to go, as well as Joe's favourite, 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'. So much to do!
4. Yummy advent!
The simple, yet effective, advent calendar. Enough said. It just has to be done!
5. Get it together.
It is nice to meet up with friends and family at any time of year but I just love friendly get-together's in December. Everyone is winding down for the holidays, mood is high and there is a general light heartedness in the air! When we have friends over we love to indulge in some nice food, a few games (Cranium is a favourite) and maybe even get out the Guitar Hero for some musical fun too! Rock 'n' Roll! 
6. Time to reflect.
Turning slightly serious for a wee second... I think that, during this time of year, it is very easy to feel a little low at times, as we realise that another year is coming to a close, and we reflect over what we have done with the 365 days gone by. This year I am on a bit of a mission to keep on the positive, rather than letting myself feel to run down by what has been. I think I am more focused on what I want to do with my new year, rather than feeling disappointed in myself for not doing things this year because I cannot change that. It is done! I think a bit of reflection is a healthy thing, but keep it up beat and positive and don't end up sad on New Years Eve!
7. Pamper time.
Having some time off at Christmas allows for a bit more 'me' time. Without meaning that to sound too self-indulgent it is nice to take an hour, you would not normally spare, to yourself and make yourself feel more... whatever the word is! (Insert appropriate word depending on your mood!).
8. 'Ho, ho, ho... healthier times ahead'.
I know, I know... New Year - fresh, healthy starts etc etc. I try to exercise every week and I try to stay on the healthier side of the food market, however, it always goes slightly off track in December. This is mostly down to the fact that this month is my busiest month of the year, but also just because I am at my most run down and tired. All the good will in the world still sees me reaching for choccie one too many times. During my time off I like to visit the gym a few more times, drink more water and stay on top of my sweet tooth as much as I can. I spend Christmas making some mental 'health-goals' for the New Year ahead and try to break them down into realistic chunks. This way you don't feel like you are letting yourself down if you so not achieve your 'I will run a marathon by April' goal. Instead just say 'I will be able to run one mile, without stopping, by the end of January' (for example!).
9. Have a clear up.
This always helps me mentally prepare for the New Year. I clear out unwanted clothes, tidy up and generally clear any clutter that is in the way. It works for me and empties my thoughts out, making everything feel fresh and ready to go again. Simple, but effective!
10. Good times ahead.
If all of the above hasn't helped you to feel a bit more festive and ready for the New Year then why not plan something for the spring that you can look forward too. I am realistic about this, as we rarely have spare money laying about, but even if it is a few pounds in a jar per week, then plan a treat or shopping trip. If you have a bit more, why not book a weekend away or a holiday. I find it makes things so much easier, going into a New Year, when you have something to look forward to on the other side. Something to work towards...go on, you know you want too!


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