Tag Archives: christmas

THE POST-CHRISTMAS BLUES

christmas-recycling

Some people will argue that Christmas isn’t over until January 6th (and they have good historical back-up for doing so), but for me, Christmas is over when I’ve given out my last present, and fully over when I’ve eaten my last brussel sprout.

Even for the Grinchiest among us, I think there’s something saddening about the end of Christmas– all those trees with nothing beneath them, all that pre-Christmas excitement replaced by post-Christmas sales, and the lingering feeling that it’ll be ages before you have another one. (Even your birthday is ages away, if you’re a December baby.)

So, how do you beat those post-Christmas blues? Here are my top tips for putting the sads behind you and getting ready for the New Year!

1. Exercise. No, I’m not kidding. Christmas is a time of over-indulgence, and that means not being able to get into your pre-Christmas clothes for a while: a definite bummer right there. Exercise will not only help you shift those chocolate box chocolates and celebratory champagnes faster, it’ll also give you a much-needed boost of endorphins, which will lift your spirits and help take your mind off credit card bills and the prospect of un-decorating the house in a couple of days. It doesn’t have to be an intense session down the gym; a nice walk outdoors or a half-hour doing free-weights or using an exercise bike at home works, too.

 

2. Sleep. Christmas is often a whirlwind of social activity, but it’s important not to let sleep fall by the way-side while it’s all going on. One or two late nights and early starts won’t kill you… But in my experience, three is pushing it. Your mood and skin will suffer, and nobody wants to be crabby and spotty at New Year’s parties.  Sleep is restorative, to both the brain and the body, so it will do your skin a world of good while also making you feel better and happier. Be careful not to overdo it, though; like vitamins, it is absolutely possible to have too much of a good thing, and too much sleep will leave you feeling groggy and lazy, disinclined to do anything.

 

3. Sort through your presents. I like to keep all my Christmas presents in a big pile for a week or so afterwards. I know that sounds silly, but looking at them makes me smile, and it’s fun to go through them and think about how you might use them in the future. It also helps me feel happy to have them, and reminds me to be grateful for the people I have in my life who care about me enough to buy me nice things.

 

4. Write thank-yous. It doesn’t have to be letters– I know Miss Manners says it does, but to me that notion is out-dated and silly. If you prefer to write letters or you know the recipient prefers them, then by all means break out the good ink and stationery, but the idea that “everyone” loves to receive a letter is bunk. I’d certainly prefer a text message or email, because I get nothing from knowing I’ve put the person out the price of the stamp and the trip to the post office. It’s the words that matter, not how you send them.

Whatever delivery method you choose, it’s nice to write out a thank-you for the person’s thoughtfulness, to tell them how much you appreciate it (even if you’re already planning to re-gift it, at least that’s one less present to buy next year!), and to wish them a Happy New Year. It’ll remind you what lovely pressies you got, and it’ll also make someone else smile, so it’s win-win!

 

5. Plan out a strategy for achieving your New Year’s resolutions. It doesn’t have to be self-recrimination, but start thinking about what you didn’t get around to doing this year. Didn’t get your novel finished? Didn’t lose those extra few pounds? Watched too many hours of television you didn’t really enjoy? It helps to frame these things as opportunities: as things you can achieve next year, rather than things you failed at this year… But it can be helpful to identify why you didn’t achieve them this year.

Didn’t spend enough time writing? Didn’t prioritize exercise? Left the TV on in the background while you were trying to do other things and let yourself be sucked in and distracted? Identify traps and triggers that tripped you up on the way to your goals this year, then plan out concrete strategies for avoiding them next year. Rather than big, unachievable ideas (“I will only watch three hours of TV a week!”) or abstract, weak notions (“I will make more time to write each week”), come up with small, concrete solutions which you can achieve, and which will train your brain into accepting them as a habit.

Things like “I will write at least 200 words every day”, for example, or “I’ll take the stairs home every day I’m not carrying groceries” or even “I will only watch TV shows I’m really excited to see” are more readily achieved than goals that are too broad or too vague, and repeated achievement breeds habit. Habit is how we get ourselves into these messes (eating more chocolates than we need to, watching TV instead of working, saying “I’ll do that later”, etc.), and habit is how we will get ourselves out.

Those are my top tips for bridging the gap between Christmas and New Year– what are yours? Are you looking forward to the New Year, or are you still set to Christmas Mode in your brain? What did you get this year that you’re especially excited about? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

CHRISTMAS HAS COME AND GONE :(

Gosh, for someone who did so much bitching about Christmas coming, I feel surprisingly saddened about it being over! I actually had a really lovely, really quiet Christmas. I stayed home with mum, made dinner, and then watched three solid hours of soap nonsense on telly. All in all,  a good day…! My Christmas tree looks all sad and bare without its cache of pressies underneath, but I am so delighted by my gifts that I couldn’t possibly feel too badly about it. Here’s what I got:

christmaspresents

Clinique Gift Bag
Clinique Lash Power Mascara in Dark Chocolate
Clinique All About Eyes Serum
Clinique Cream Shaper For Eyes in Black Diamond
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleanser Sample Size
Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector
Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Grapefruit
Urban Decay Naked 2
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics
Chanel no.5 Loose Body Powder
Kiss Cuticle Remover
Kiss Cuticle Cream
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray
Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-Ray
Elektra Blu-Ray
GAP Fingerless gloves
Hermes scarf

Not pictured: Navy UGG boots (yay!) and Paul Costello faux fur throw pillows and blanket. The latter was a surprise, and boy was I surprised! They’re so cozy and soft, though, so I might try to take photos of them– they make snuggling up on the couch extra comfy in these chilly times. (It will surprise nobody to say you’ll be seeing the UGGs regularly in upcoming OOTDs. Love UGGS. Love them.)

I should probably have asked for exercise gear, though– I’m going to have to be rolled out of the house come new year! Mum did most of the cooking (apart from my special potatoes) but I was in charge of setting the table, so I had a little fun coming up with something pretty and different:

tablesetting

The lights are old champagne bottles filled with battery-operated fairy lights, if you’re wondering. Super easy to do, and looks really interesting! The same lights are also draped over the floor lamp in the corner– I think I might keep those there year-round, actually; they’re really very fun.

Of course, no amount of cute table decoration is going to take away from Mum’s dinners:

christmasdinner

If you’re thinking it’s basically the same as my birthday dinner except with brussel sprouts and garlic potato, you’d be right. Roast lamb is definitely my favourite dinner…! I’m just not that into turkey.

Or Christmas pudding, for that matter; for me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without cake:

christmascake

We got white chocolate curls this time, and little fruit pieces, for some reason. Not complaining! They’re delicious. Definitely going to this bakery again; it’s aces.

I had such a lovely time this year that hopefully it will motivate me to not be such a Grinch in the run up to Christmas 2015. I just have to do what I did this year: get all my business done well and early so that the last couple of days before Christmas aren’t spent in frantic terror… And which, mostly importantly, will allow me to avoid all car parks for at least ten days before Christmas Day. (I’m pretty sure being able to do that was critical to my enjoyment of the festive season this year. Trying to find a space in a jam-packed car-park is my idea of hell; avoiding it definitely allows me to enhance my calm.)

Did you have a great Christmas? Are you gunning for the sales? Do you have any fun stories or tales of Christmas terror to share? Drop me a line and let me know… But I hope all your dinners went off beautifully, all your presents were delivered on time, and the day was everything you dreamed of.

-A-

GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!

As Christmas is now officially upon us, I just wanted to take take the opportunity to wish everybody Happy Holidays. ‘Tis the season to be merry, so I hope everyone has a wonderful time over this festive period, whatever festival it is you choose to celebrate– or don’t.

Let me share my decorations with you:

garland

It might not look like much, but I’m super proud of this garland because it was all hand-made– by me! It’s very simple, and all you’ll need are a few spare Christmas ornaments, a wire coat hanger, a length of tinsel (~3m), and some holly. Mine was kindly donated by my aunt, who shares some Christmas holly with all the family every year so we all have a little piece of the farm in our houses!

To make this, all you need to do is bend the wire into a roughly circular shape (you don’t need to unhook the top part, and it doesn’t have to be perfectly circular). If you have something like a biscuit tin lying around (and let’s face it: it’s Christmas, so you probably will) you can use that to help you round out the hanger. Once you’ve done that, you just take one end of the tinsel, hold a few inches off the end of the hook part, then start wrapping the tinsel around the hanger. Three meters just about covers one average-sized hanger, when it’s densely packed. Continue wrapping to the end of the hook, then tie a knot in the tinsel at the top with the tail-end you left from the beginning. Then all you need to do is attach some of the ornaments (you can open the strings they come with, or just thread an elastic band through them if need be). The holly is optional, but I think it gives it a nice lift! I’ve just tied that on with a bit of silver-streaked wool I had lying around– that came from Dealz, actually, and is only €1.50 a roll!

tree

This is our Christmas tree. It is a pre-lit, fake tree (the only kind worth having, in my book– I can’t be doing with dropping needles and trying to string all the lights) with an extra strand of blue lights thrown in for good measure, along with some blue and turquoise ornaments, because this room already has red accents, so a red-themes tree doesn’t really stand out, whereas this one does! The present wrapping, bizarrely, was not intentionally coordinated with the tree ornaments– mum just chose the turquoise  paper, and I chose the dark blue. Funny how that worked out, but I think it looks lovely!

The shopping has been completed, I’ve handed out my presents (bar the ones for mum), and all the cards have been written, so I’m going to settle myself in and snuggle down for a lovely quiet Christmas. I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading my blog over the last year– your comments and likes have been a wonderful present year-round, and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to interact with me.

May you all get everything you dreamed of, and may all your gifts be well-received.

Happy Christmas, everybody.

-A-

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

Mummy, look away now. I’m warning you!

Everyone else can see what I’m getting people under the cut:

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