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December Slow Living Tips (Part One)
Each month, I’ll be sharing my seasonal slow living tips: things to make, do and celebrate to stay in the moment and appreciate the wee things. Here’s how I’ll be celebrating home and hearth in small, simple ways this Yule.
Building a Bauble Collection
I started a tradition when I first left home of buying one special bauble each year. That way, you gradually build a quality collection of special pieces you will love and cherish forever – rather than throwaway cheap and cheerful decorations, discarded as quickly as New Year’s resolutions. I guarantee that getting these decorations out each year will be all the more special for the nostalgia and stories that go with them: like a portal to your past self. This is a lovely gifting idea too. This year I’ve added some hand painted Pops & Piaf baubles inspired by Little Women to my collection and I know I will cherish them for years to come.
As well as slowly building a special collection of meaningful decorations, consider second hand too. I was also lucky to inherit a few very special baubles from my grandparents - the traditional 1950s jewel hued glass creations are like nothing that’s made today, and they’re amongst my most special possessions for the happy festive memories they evoke. You can thrift similar traditional baubles at vintage fairs and flea markets, though they can be on the pricey side depending on where you get them. Set a budget and be ready to haggle! Ask the seller if these particular decorations have a story – some of mine were from one family’s attic and hadn’t seen the light of day since the 1970s! It felt so good to give them a new lease of life.
Deck the Halls
As well as meaningful and sentimental pieces I use to decorate mindfully, I love to forage greenery in abundance at this time of year. Take a pair of secateurs on a woodland walk and collect holly, ivy, bracken and fir, pinecones and rosehips (with the landowner’s permission of course - and only ever take a small amount from each area!). When you get home make sure to give them a shake (outside) to get rid of any beasties then get decorating. Florist’s wire is your friend for making mantlepiece swags and table runners, and sprigs of individual cuttings in recycled glass bottles dotted around the house add Christmas cheer. At this time of year I usually update my Autumn wreath with more evergreen and add a festive coloured ribbon or a bell. Light some candles (at a safe distance!) and make your home cosier than ever.
This festive season, support your local businesses - especially since today was small business Saturday. The real, actual human beings who pour so much love into their vision will appreciate it a lot more than the well-known online superstore with its billionaire owner. You’re paying for the expertise of local artisans and makers, which as well as being pretty blooming lovely, mean your gifts will be completely unique, and that the money goes straight back into the local economy. Just one small purchase can make all the difference to a business’ bottom line – or if you can’t afford it, promote them instead with a like, save, comment or share on Instagram to give them a boost in the algorithm. I still stand by all of my slow living Christmas gift guide recommendations from last year (and if you’re looking for something for me…!)
Pay it Forward
A recent cause I’ve been so heartened to hear about is turning the traditional Advent Calendar on its head. A kindness advent calendar or a reverse advent calendar, focused on giving rather than receiving, is just what the world needs right now. You could contact your local foodbank to find out what they need and make sure you build your collection in the weeks leading up to Christmas, dropping off supplies in good time. That said, if you have little people in your life then you might also want to build anticipation for the festivities, so why not make your own, filled with small chocolates or homemade ‘vouchers’ for a particular yuletide experience, big or small – and making memories to boot.