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BRING BACK THE MAGIC! It’s time to reclaim Christmas. Step away from the stress and chaos and make your peace with this very special time of year.

FRIENDS & FAMILY 14 INTRODUCTION What does a family Christmas mean to you? 16 HAVE CHRISTMAS ON YOUR OWN TIME Stop Christmas getting taken over by other people’s plans. 19 CALM DOWN YOUR CALENDAR Keep your diary under control.


FREE! 16 GIFT TAGS AND CARDS Wow your friends and family with these gorgeously festive tags and cards. They’ll love you even more for it.

23 SERENE SOCIALISING Alternative ways to get social this Christmas. 24 AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO EMBRACING CHRISTMAS Advice for getting through the party season. 28 HOW TO THAW YOUR FROSTY RELATIONSHIPS Expert advice on managing stressful family situations. 32 RELEASE THE PRESSURE A meditation to help you keep your cool around others.


YOUR WISH LIST Feeling inspired? Here’s where you can jot down your ‘wellbeing wish list’ for celebrating Christmas your way.


34 WILL IT BE LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS? How to handle the holidays if you’re feeling isolated.

38 INTRODUCTION It’s your welldeserved downtime so what are you going to do with it? Exciting! 40 A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS DAY Meet the people who decided to mix things up and experience a different kind of magic. 45 ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS DAYS A neighbourly get-together, an ex-pats’ lunch, hitting the beach… there are so many ways to celebrate. 47 SOLSTICE RITUAL Stay in touch with the season and refect on the year with our winter solstice meditation. 48 THE WONDER OF A WINTER PILGRIMAGE Get outside and embrace the elements on a walk with a difference.


80 INTRODUCTION Shopping doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Try giving in new ways instead.

52 INTRODUCTION Re-think your bauble addiction and consider decorating in a calm way.

82 A NEW KIND OF PRESENT Is Christmas shopping overwhelming? Learn how to avoid stressful situations.

54 MINDFUL IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS INTERIORS New ways to decorate, from the table to a Christmas nook.

88 THOUGHTFUL BOOK-LOVER’S GIFT GUIDE Our pick of the best books to give this year.

62 12 SCENTS OF CHRISTMAS Fill your home with feelgood fragrances with our guide to seasonal essential oils.

92 THE ART OF MINDFUL GIVING Sometimes the best things in life come for free.

64 WHERE NATURAL MEETS NEUTRAL Be inspired by blogger Sarah Blankenship’s simple style. 68 EASY HOMEMADE DECORATIONS Cranberry garlands, gingerbread stars and white clay decorations. 69 MAKE YOUR OWN WREATH Embrace your inner forist and create a simple and stunning door decoration.

95 GOOD GIVING Ethical gifts that won’t cost the earth. 96 WRAPPERS’ DELIGHT New and nature-friendly ways to wrap your gifts. 98 YOUR GIFT! Make your presents extra special this year with these lovely labels and gift cards. 100 WRAPPING MEDITATION Turn a Christmas chore into a mindful moment.

FOOD & DRINK 102 INTRODUCTION The beauty of balance – you can enjoy good things at Christmas without overdoing it. 104 EAT, DRINK AND BE MINDFUL Omnivore or vegan, it’s easy to indulge responsibly (and it doesn’t involve loads of Brussels sprouts). 115 FRESH FESTIVE FLAVOURS Try something new with chocolate energy balls, hot pepper jam and spiced shallots. 116 WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF WINEFULNESS It’s where winetasting meets meditation. 121 A MEAT-FREE MASTERCLASS Top vegan chef Gaz Oakley shares his Christmas tips and three great recipes.

74 ENJOY WHAT MONEY CAN’T BUY Make some magical memories.

Photography: Annie Spratt

78 HARMONY AT HOME Discover the power of crystals for festive calm.


Photography: Sasha Suzi




Navigating the seasonal social whirl can be tricky if you’re not a party animal. We can help…

An introvert’s guide to embracing Christmas H

ow do you recharge your batteries? Seeing friends and family and surrounding yourself with the company of others? Or do you need time alone to relax, read and potter about, enjoying your own space and the peace and quiet? Psychoanalyst Carl Jung coined the term ‘extravert’ in the 1960s (though nowadays the spelling has become ‘extrovert’) and most of us are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum to varying degrees. “Introverts tend to gain their energy more internally and are quite comfortable being on their own, whereas extroverts tend to get more energy externally and from being around other people,” explains occupational psychologist Kirsten Godfrey. Come Christmas when the party season gets underway, the mantra of ‘Tis the season to be sociable’ can feel like heaven for some people but more of an endurance test for others. “Christmas is a time when social activity really ramps up,” says Kirsten. “I think introverts slightly dread that element because of all the social activities: the ofce parties and friends’ get-togethers and big family gatherings. Even going shopping with the vast amounts of crowds

everywhere can be very overwhelming for an introvert. Introverts tend to be much more sensitive to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which contributes to the experience and seeking of pleasure in our brains. They can easily become over-stimulated when in crowded or noisy situations where dopamine is likely to be produced. Extroverts, on the other hand, are far less sensitive and tend to relish these experiences.” That’s not to say that introverts don’t like shopping, or seeing people, or having fun. It just depends on the type and level of social interaction – and during Christmas that can feel pretty full-on. So if you’re more of an introverted type how can you look after yourself during the festivities without resorting to locking yourself away or taking refuge behind the nearest six-foot fashing Christmas tree? Our simple steps should let you enjoy the season your way…

1Plan ahead

“If you’re going to have to attend more social events than normal, ensure that you plan time and space for yourself,” says Kirsten. “If you have a



Mindful ideas for Christmas interiors Keeping things simple is the key to a calm Christmas, and that’s particularly true of the way you style your home. Follow our guide for easy inspiration… Words: Caroline Rowland


hether you like to crack out the decorations on 1 December or wait until Christmas Eve rolls around, adorning our homes with seasonal paraphernalia is, for many, a ritual as important as Christmas pudding or the Queen’s speech. It’s a chance to add a little magic to our spaces and celebrate this special time of year. Yet with Christmas now so commercialised, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the huge range of stores stufed with sparkly baubles and shiny garlands (often as early as September), and it’s a fact that the constant consumption of new décor every holiday season isn’t doing our planet any favours. What’s more, a study in the US has found that many decorative products contain hazardous elements such as lead and bromine, and that these items often go largely unregulated. That’s an unsettling thought, but regardless of that, so many of the decorations on sale are made from plastic. While some people may re-use these year after year, really there’s no need for them at all, as there are so many alternative ways to decorate your home that will be equally, if not more, stylish and that will allow you to change things each year. In any case, shopping for decorations at this time of year can be stressful in itself. Follow some of our ideas and suggestions in the next few pages and you’ll fnd the process of fnding and making provides opportunities for all the family to get involved, giving you some time together that can be so important at Christmas.



Photography: Jeska Hearne (

A quotation board is infnitely customisable. Let everyone in the family choose a festive message to display.



Despite best intentions, it’s easy to get sucked into stressful Christmas shopping every year. How can we shop more consciously to make it a more meaningful – and less expensive – experience?

A new kind of present Words: Jo Carnegie


hile researching this article, I put a question to a group of my friends: “If I say the words ‘Christmas shopping’ what’s the frst feeling or emotion that comes to mind?” The responses came in thick and fast. “Dread,” said my friend W who holds down a demanding job as a detective with the police. “The whole thing makes me feel anxious. Last year I did the whole thing online. Still stressed me out.” “Stress. Have I forgotten someone?” said L, the most organised person I know. “I usually buy online at the last minute and spend too much and then end up skint.” “Dread,” (that word again) said K. “That feeling of buying into a tradition that has got so consumerist. It feels like you’re having to prove your love for someone.” “It evokes a fantasy of being in town among all the Christmas lights feeling cosy and having a lovely time,” mused my friend J, potentially bucking the trend, before adding: “The reality is hastily ordering a load of stuf from Amazon and then panicking about spending too much money or getting the wrong thing.” And lastly from my dear friend B, who is more Christmassy than Santa in a Ruldolph jumper: “Excitement and thinking of drinking champagne in Selfridges after splashing loads of cash on gorgeous gifts for friends, family and ME!!!” It doesn’t seem to matter who you are or what you earn, most of us feel steamrollered by the juggernaut that is the Christmas shopping season. The seething shopping centres, the queues to get out of the car park, the weekends spent at gridlocked retail parks, the never-ending gift list that never seems to get ticked of, the shopping trips squeezed in at lunchtime, the last-minute panic buys at the checkout. Even online shopping can be massively stressful as we spend hours at the computer, shouting 82

at pages that won’t load, overspending or forgetting passwords. Far from being an act of pleasure, Christmas shopping can leave us in some kind of delirious daze: exhausted, stressed and with bank accounts (and our nervous systems) screaming for respite. And as recipients, after Christmas we’re often left with presents we didn’t want, which promptly get packed of to the local charity shop. And then we press repeat for the next year…. We should say here that if you’re the type of person who starts singing ‘Jingle Bells’ in July and loves the Christmas shopping season then go for it. After all, enjoying yourself and the moment is what life is all about. But for many of us Christmas has got out of control. There’s always one more thing to buy. We can spend all our time shopping for people rather than actually spending any time with them. Forget the act of giving – it’s become all about the getting. But the thing is, Christmas shopping can be a feel-good experience. There’s no better feeling than giving someone a gift you know they’ll love and seeing their reaction when they open it. Giving – and receiving – is a fundamental and positive human transaction. So how can we shop in a more discerning way that still allows us to enjoy all the other good things about Christmas: friends, family, time of, a chance to enjoy traditions? And perhaps most importantly, to enjoy what we’ve got already….

Don’t sleepwalk into a shopping centre Shopping centres are black holes for time and money. You can pop in just for a browse and emerge hours later with bags of new purchases and a slightly stunned feeling. “Shopping malls are geared up to extract as much money as they can from you,” says consumer psychologist Paul Buckley from Bath Spa University.

Illustration: Brittany Molineux




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Inside you’ll find delicious festive recipes everyone will love, great ideas for ethical gifts and beautiful, natural home decorations.


16 Festive gift tags & cards

PLUS Advice on how to host a family gathering without the stress!



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Mindful Christmas  

Keep calm and have a great Christmas! Discover thoughtful ways to celebrate the season with Mindful Christmas magazine. We help you reinven...

Mindful Christmas  

Keep calm and have a great Christmas! Discover thoughtful ways to celebrate the season with Mindful Christmas magazine. We help you reinven...