As we hide away from heat advisories in sweltering August, preparing for Christmas is a fun item on the to-do list. I picked up “Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy” by Beth Kempton for this purpose.
I already consider myself a mindful Christmas practitioner. Yet Kempton took an approach that I found fascinating. She proposes that Christmas has five storylines:
- Faith: The celebration of the birth of Jesus and the Christmas story involving church-based traditions and rituals like Advent candles, the creche and traditional Christmas carols.
- Magic: The story of Santa Claus, his reindeer and the elves, plus magical Christmas movies and songs.
- Connection: Things that connect us to Christmases past, such as “The Christmas Carol,” Christmas trees and treasured ornaments, Christmas dinners, holiday events and Christmas movie traditions.
- Abundance: The joy of getting and giving presents.
- Heritage: The Christmas practices of your family of origin and your background.
As a Christian, my Christmas celebrations focus on faith. But I was surprised to realize that my family also finds Connection as very important. For one family member, doing the same things that we have done, as in Heritage, is deeply important.
Talk to your family to see what about your Christmas celebration is most important to them. You can create an intentional approach to the season that meets everyone’s needs and desires.
“Calm Christmas” also offers a variety of ideas for a mindful approach to the whole season. I especially liked the author’s idea of spending the time between Christmas Day and New Years Day’s as a “hush” season. This is, she writes: “A time of long walks, hot coffees, languid lounging with leftover chocolates, adding birthday dates to the new diary, telephone catch-ups … and everything on pause.”
Wow! Can I have that in August, too?