The first Christmas Tree of the season…

I was out for a walk the other day, and I noticed that someone in the next street had their Christmas Tree up already. It was an odd mashup as they also had all their Halloween decorations up. It was likely everything in the attic was getting an airing at the one time.

In normal times you would be tempted to tut and make an observation that Christmas is getting earlier every year, but these are not normal times. This year has been one of relentless misery and doom. Who could blame someone for wanting a bit of joy from twinkly fairy lights? Some people really like Christmas and find comfort in the rituals; it gives them something to look forward to.

Then maybe there was a darker reason for the tree being up early. Maybe some poor sod in the house will not see Christmas, I hope not.

In times of crisis, you are allowed a bit of leeway in how you celebrate the season. The uncle and his family had their Christmas Dinner two weeks ago. The cousin lives abroad, and she will not be able to come home for Christmas, so they had their dinner early. A good night was had by all by all accounts. Sometimes it is good to shake up the aul routine.

To be honest, I think a quieter Christmas is no bad thing. We have turned Christmas into a long stressful forced march of consumerism with a constant round of Christmas Markets, Nights Out, Meals, presents etc. I am sure many of us have wished for a quieter Christmas at times and this year we get the chance.

You are probably familiar with the Danish term “hygge,” defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” To cope with long winters, Danish people make their homes all cosy, so much so that many of them look forward to chilling out over the winter.

This week I discovered Walter Presents, a dapper Italian chappie who recommends the best of European drama to watch on Channel 4. For those of us who do not like ads, most of the shows are also on Netflix or Prime. There is also quite an active Facebook group that can give you good recommendations on what to watch.

I have also been walking a lot more. With the autumn leaves falling our parks and forests are very pretty this time of year. There is nothing to stop you meeting up with friends or family for a good walk and a bit of chat. Bring a flask of tea or coffee and a bar of chocolate. After a long walk it will be the best coffee you ever taste.

Remember the libraries are back open again. You can also use the Libby app to read books on your phone or tablet and the RBDigital app that lets you read a wide range of magazines for free.

I know this pandemic and all the restrictions are incredibly stressful and annoying. Just remember the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn – ‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.’

We like to overcomplicate life and look for magic bullet solutions to fix our issues, but the reality is most of us have everything we need already. Nice walks, good books, an engrossing TV series, podcasts, Spotify, cooking a nice meal, getting a takeaway, chocolate, a good cup of tea or something stronger. These are small things that get us through winter. And remember to reduce your news consumption to a level that does not drive you demented.

While I was writing this post ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ from the Muppets movie came on Spotify. ‘I’ve got everything that I need right in front of me‘ seems as good a note to end on as any. The Muppets can always put a smile on your face.

Photo by Free-Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA