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How to have a stress-free Christmas at home

December 20, 2021



he news cycle can feel pretty relentless at the moment, and more people than ever are testing positive for Covid as the Omicron wave takes hold.

The public has been urged to cut back on socialising during this time and anyone testing positive now will be forced to self-isolate over Christmas.

There’s one thing we can be certain of; we’re going to spend a lot of time at home over the festive period, so it’s a good idea to make our space as calm as possible.

Beth Kempton, author of Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A little book of festive joy has some top tips for to make our home as stress-free as possible during this time.

What type of Christmas do you want?

“Pour yourself a hot cuppa, sit somewhere quiet and take a deep breath,” says Beth. “Ask yourself what kind of Christmas you want and need given all that has happened this year, and set an intention for the days ahead.

“The easiest way to do this is to choose an adjective to describe the kind of Christmas you want – a magical Christmas, a simple Christmas, a cosy Christmas, a restorative Christmas etc.

“You can then use this as a filter for all the events, obligations, invitations and to-do list items that are going to come at you in the coming days. If it fits with your intention, embrace it. If it doesn’t, let it go.”

How to make your home feel calm this Christmas

According to Beth, there are some really simple, practical things you can do:

Clear sideboards and visible surfaces of anything that is not supposed to be there. “Do this in one go, even if you just put everything in a cardboard box and shove that under the stairs,” says Beth.

“Hang Christmas cards up rather than standing them up everywhere. This simplifies the look and feel of a room, which can have a calming effect.”

Beth Kempton’s Calm Christmas

/ Holly Bobbins Photography

How to make your home cosy

Beth suggests bringing some cosy textures into your living space , such as soft blankets, cushions and rugs.

It’s worth creating a calm area to retreat to, should you have the space. “Create a quiet place in your home where you can escape to, with a good book, a podcast, some knitting or a journal,” she says. “This could be a favourite armchair, or a corner of a spare room.”

She also suggests creating an emergency kit to alleviate stress: “It might contain a calming natural rescue remedy, a sweet treat, an affirmation, a favourite book, a grounding quote or simply a reminder to take a deep breath.”

Lighting can also make your home feels calm. “As the night draws in, turn off your overhead lights and instead opt for lamps, fairy lights, candles and so on to give your room atmosphere,” she adds.

“Put a lantern outside your door, or fairy lights in the trees outside. These can be a gift to passers-by and give the impression of you as a friendly neighbour.

Beth Kempton with her book Calm Christmas

/ Holly Bobbins Photography

How to create a calm space

“Creating a calm space to escape to can be beneficial for you, your family and for your guests,” says Beth. “It takes the pressure off everyone having to be together all the time and allows people to take a moment to compose themselves and breathe if things are getting tense.”

If you have a room where things can be quieter you could set up a table with a partly-done jigsaw or a colouring corner for all ages to enjoy.

If you have guests staying over, you can add little touches to their room to make them feel welcome. “Think about the little luxuries of a good B&B: a spare blanket, magazines, a jug of water, fresh towels,” says Beth.

“Perhaps leave a Christmas decoration on their bed along with an invitation to come and hang it on your tree once they have unpacked, to mark the start of the celebrations.

“Making your guests feel truly welcome, preparing a restful space for them to sleep and letting them know they are not obliged to spend every minute with the whole group will put them at ease – which makes your life easier too.

If you don’t have guests this year, a designated quiet space can be a good physical reminder to rest. It could be as simple as an armchair with a book of poetry, a small candle, a journal and pen, says Beth. “Commit to sitting there even for just a few minutes each day.”

And finally, a top tip for a calm Christmas from Beth: “Be gentle on yourself. We have all been through so much this year. Winter can be a wonderful time to rest and rejuvenate, if we only allow ourselves to step back and relax.

Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton (Piatkus, £12.99) is out now. Beth is also the host of The Calm Christmas podcast and shares tips in the lead up to Christmas via her Instagram.

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