The UK’s top holistic lifestyle expert and mum of four on beating winter sniffles and finding time to relax
Janey Lee Grace
The UK’s top holistic lifestyle expert and mum of four on beating winter sniffles and finding time to relax.
I must confess there’s a bit of me that wants to run screaming for the hills as we head towards the festive season. I hate the over commercialisation of Christmas, I can’t stand the excess and the waste it generates. I wish I could just hole up with a few sprigs of holly and sing some carols. Sadly, or gladly, depending on how I’m feeling, I have four kids who are almost in orbit with excitement, so I can’t do the bah humbug thing. With gifts, often an ‘experience’ is better than a tangible item but a trip to the pantomime or park is what memories are made of.
I simply don’t buy masses of gifts for my kids and I don’t want them to buy into the culture of overspending either, so I encourage them to make their own. A simple drawing or pressed flower will look great in a reclaimed old frame. As candles are the new socks, they make their own natural eco-friendly ones. You can buy wickling and beeswax very cheaply from a craft hop. Once rolled around the wick, the beeswax candles can be decorated with glitter.
A really simple idea I put into practice last year that works brilliantly for kids and adults is to get an old cheque book with some cheques leftin and write your Christmas promise in each one. For example: “Darling Husband, I will drive on New Year’s Eve and wear stockings instead of tights.” Ideas for children’s gift promises could range from baking their favourite cake to inviting their friends over for a sleepover.
It’s also great to encourage children to give gift promises as they don’t have to incur any actual money, only their time. Young children can promise hugs and kisses, to tidy their bedroom or clean out the rabbit.
Whatever you decide to give, put lots of effort into creative wrapping and forget buying new paper. Did you know we throw away enough each Christmas to cover an area the size of Guernsey? So, get the kids to do a colour wash over some newsprint and secure with a big bow. Find remnants of old fabric and bits of cotton. Hessian looks wonderfully rustic tied with a big red ribbon. Use a sprig of holly for decoration and old Christmas cards for gift tags.
When all that seems just too worthy and you want to buy gadgets, gizmos and spanking new gifts – at least make them gorgeous, sustainable eco-friendly ones. Avoid adding to the battery mountain and avoid plastics and toxic dyes. Remember kids will probably have more fun with the box anyway. I’m also partial to the ancient tradition of ‘re-gifting’ – passing off an unwanted gift to someone else. I have a stash of items that are beautiful but not needed by me. My only concern is trying to remember who gave it to me originally as I don’t want them to be opening up the gift they gave to me the year before!
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