A Compassionate Awakened Christmas

This Christmas was one of the best I’ve ever had in my 22 years of being on this planet.

I am aware I am very lucky to be able to say that. I am very grateful that this was the case for me.

The reason that I loved this Christmas so much is that it was one of nurture.

A nurturing of myself. My values. My boundaries.

This Christmas has totally changed my perspective on how we celebrate holidays. And how I want to celebrate them moving forward.

The basis of this blog is me sharing how I try and live my life in an intentional, compassionate and awakened way on a day to day basis, in the hope that it may help others in the same way that it has helped me. Everything I ever write may not be everyone’s cup of tea and may not work for individuals with where they are at in their life at the moment. All I can hope is that it gives another perspective and offers things to try out if you are trying to live your life in this way too.

I have listed below the five main reasons as to why I believe this Christmas period was one of such beauty and importance.

  1. REST. This is the first Christmas I have had since the age of 14 where I have not been working. I’ve either worked in professional pantomime, hospitality or office jobs that required Christmas cover. Although I am grateful for all those jobs gave me, I would be spending Christmas working and THEN would still try and socialise with family when (although I love my family to bits) that was the last thing I wanted. I would leap in the car after a shift and tear over to someone’s house whilst also feeling exhausted after a day of work, to plaster a smile on my face and make small talk no matter how dead my battery was. Again, I am grateful that I have family to go to. But I am unashamed to say that this year I enjoyed the obligation not to go anywhere. I had slow, lazy mornings that allowed room for meditation, my rituals and spiritual practice. I took long walks to be in nature with family and friends. I read a little. I did yoga. I slept. I just sat with a cup of tea and watched the world go by. For a whole ten days. It felt like a luxury. But now, I feel this will be a non negotiable for me at Christmas. Even when the world is allowed to celebrate with great gatherings of family and friends once more, I will still steal away pockets of time for rest. That way, I will show up in each moment with a loving and open heart for my family and for myself. It allowed me to truly be with them, and with my own being too.

2. FOOD. Since January 2nd 2020 I have been a vegetarian. Maybe I will speak about this fully on another post as I have had the most beautiful culinary and nutritional discovery over the past year, but cutting a long story short I had disconnected myself from what I was eating because I used to enjoy eating meat. I had always known that if I put two and two together and looked down at the chicken on my plate thinking of a live animal I would probably be a vegetarian. I had closed my eyes to the meat industry and all that comes with it. But enough was enough. Enjoying it wasn’t a good enough reason anymore. Quite frankly, being a vegetarian and eating a mainly plant based diet has been EASY. I have never struggled to find delicious things to eat. It helps that I am not a particularly fussy eater. But the one thing that made me a little nervous was Christmas dinner. What would I do without turkey? Pigs in blankets? The ham on Boxing day? I pushed the thought to the back of my mind. I have had a diet overhaul over the past few months which is serving me wonderfully, so I hadn’t indulged in the Christmas food leading up to the big day anyway. I had kept on a healthy whole food diet, and I felt great! I had decided I would give myself a break from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, still vegetarian but eating what I fancied within that specification over those three days to join in with the festivities, and resume my usual diet after that. And then Christmas day came. I needn’t have worried, because dad delivered THE BEST CHRISTMAS DINNER I have ever had. Even better, it was in line with my values. It helps that my dad and his partner is pescatarian anyway, but it was flavourful, colourful, nourishing for my body AND in line with my values of being a veggie. Honestly, never looking back. And because I didn’t binge and was mindful of all I was consuming, listening to what my body wanted and when, I didn’t get to January and feel like I wanted to live off of nothing but lettuce for a month! Winner.

3. ALCOHOL. Or more, the lack of it. I no longer drink. Again, this probably warrants a post of it’s own in time so I will keep it short, but I realised that alcohol was in no way serving me anymore. So I went T-Total. Again, the dread of an alcohol free Christmas in an alcohol consuming family arose. How can I NOT have a glass of fizz with brekkie on Christmas Day? Will I look really boring and unsociable? I stood by my guns. Not drinking was probably the most game changing action I took this Christmas. I was present and ready to listen to my family in every moment, not blurred by the façade that a glass of wine can bring. I remember feelings, emotions, conversations. I could feel my body in every moment. Rest was rest, because my body wasn’t battling to detoxify all of the gin & tonics I had consumed the night before. Every day was fully mine to do what I wanted with, because I didn’t have a hangover. I loved it. And I found some CRACKING good quality and natural non – alcoholic alternatives that meant I could stand holding a pretty glass with my family and not feel left out.

4. DIGITAL DETOX. On Christmas Eve, I deleted every social media app on my phone and vowed that I would not open them again until January 2nd. I wanted to go inwards, retract from the world, and this seemed like a good way to cut my connection from it. I am not very active online anyway, but I wanted to see how long I could go without, and getting rid of the temptation of a quick scroll through the gram right there in front of me. And I could feel in moments of quiet my brain was itching to fill it with checking what the rest of the world was up to. I didn’t give in. Because why, when I am with my family, would I want to take myself out of the moment to see what others are doing? Why would I want to prevent myself from experiencing every moment of Christmas fully by constantly thinking about who had liked the picture of my vegetarian Christmas dinner? I had SO much free time to nurture the relationships with the people in my life who mean the most to me. I also noticed the feelings of panic that were less prevalent the moment I logged off. And since being back on social media after the detox, I can feel them build as I get sucked in to yet another post, another story. As soon as I notice these now, I put my phone down. I didn’t want to get back on social media after my detox in truth. It’s wonderful in many ways, and I love using it for my business, but it was a really interesting experiment and one I will probably do in line with every holiday.

5. GIFTS. This year, I made a real effort to find gifts for people that were ethically sourced, eco friendly, made by small businesses/friends or all three. It was a particularly important Christmas for small businesses this year as so many livelihoods have been affected. And this year, never before have I enjoyed giving gifts so much! They were so much more personal, so much more intentional and every single one had a story behind it. They were also received better by the loved ones that I gave them to, and we were able to exchange in conversations surrounding the gift, how it got in their hands and who lovingly crafted them. Some of the small/local/friend owned businesses I supported this year for you to check out are: Hans Creative Corner, Ella Marguerite Creative, Emma Hewson Artist, Yoga With Catherine, Felsted Yoga Studio, Refunkyourjunk by Jane Carr, The Curiosity Shop and Peace With The Wild. Go check them out, they all offer their beautifully unique gifts out into the world with such love and joy, and I am sure you will love what they do as well.

So there we have it. The five reasons why this Christmas was one of the best I have ever had. Which leads me to question – why as a society is our idea of celebrating stuffing ourselves silly to the point of discomfort with food, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, buying expensive gifts just to find something to give, rushing about everywhere to please everyone and showing everyone else that we are having a good time in the process? Is this not numbing ourselves as opposed to looking inside for what the celebration is really about? I have done all of the above in previous years, but no more. I know I want each festive period, each holiday, every single MOMENT of my life to be filled with a different kind of celebration. The celebration of filling my body with colourful, nutrient dense food and drink from Mother Earth that loves my body and the planet on the inside and out. The celebration of having no distractions when I am with my family and friends, honouring and holding space for them for the walking Gods and Goddesses that they are. The celebration of love, good intention and being. That is a promise to myself going forward.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought as it did for me whilst I was experiencing all of the above this festive period. Pop in the comments whether you also implemented any of the above this Christmas, how you found it, and any tips I and others could learn from too!

Sending you all so much Love,

Ciara X

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