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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 149 > How to have a more meaningful Christmas

How to have a more meaningful Christmas

Is it possible to have a better, richer celebration than ever before? Ali Roff investigates ways to cultivate a deeper, more mindful festive period, and say goodbye to the pressure and panic of the past

in partnership with Etsy

Christmas E ve 2 016 and I’m running around serving a platter of homemade spicy fish tacos. ‘Why?’ you may ask. Well, firstly, Jamie Oliver says they’re a great unconventional festive party dish and, apparently, I didn’t have enough else to do. Except, on this particular Christmas Eve afternoon, I still had to pack my bags and the car, wrap the presents, and visit friends before driving to my parents where, at 11pm, I finally slumped onto the sofa and reluctantly began wrapping my mountain of gifts. The Christmas build-up had felt like a relentless, stressful, headless chicken-like rush to the finish line. Lists of presents to buy, cards to send, finances to fret about, gear to pack and parties to throw with fancy nibbles, of course. Surely this wasn’t what the festive season should be about? At least, it never used to be.

As Christmas 2017 begins to unfold before us, and the countdown starts, I despair at the thought of another hectic round of festivities. Something has to change, and it feels as if there must be more to it than simply starting the shopping earlier. I wonder, could my penchant for practising mindfulness be applied here, in the hope of achieving a happier, stress-free, more ‘significant’ Christmas? I ask Tamara Russell, author of #What Is Mindfulness (Watkins, £ 7.99) and director of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, if she agrees: ‘Many individuals find Christmas a di.cult time. How can we make sure that this year you are not left feeling tired, broke and bloated? Mindfulness helps us to see more deeply into the “space” of our minds and hearts’, she explains. ‘But we need to create the conditions for this to happen. This means sitting quietly and deliberately engaging with mind, body, emotions and heart. The answers are sometimes clear, and sometimes not, but this exercise is always worth doing. It is an essential tool.’

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About Psychologies

This month we’re exploring how to truly have a happy Christmas. If you don’t have any religious beliefs, the holidays can be rather become a meaningless glut of overconsumption and commercialism, but this issue will help you explore how to create a different experience for you, your friends and family this year. And often it’s about kindness. Our interview with June Sapong explores how we can use kindness in our everyday lives to make the world a better place. One of our own relays her experience of finding the bravery and courage to start dating again. When a relationship goes sour, it’s normal to lick your wounds for a bit but how do we begin to heal and have the courage to be vulnerable and get back out there again? Ellen Tout takes us on that journey. Natalie Hourihan explores ‘creativism’ with author and entrepreneur Orna Ross and shows us how to connect with our ‘creative intelligence’ so we can design a life that works for us on our terms. The good news we all have access to this intelligence, we just need to know how to harness it!
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