All is not so calm or bright

By the time we arrive at Christmas Eve, many of us are exhausted.  We haven’t really enjoyed the shopping, we may be dreading cooking the Christmas dinner, perhaps the in-laws behave more like outlaws and our calm angelic children have morphed into hyperactive monsters who would give Bart Simpson a run for his money.

How lovely it would be to arrive at Christmas Eve in a calm and peaceful state, which I seem to remember happening only one time in my life, the year I was expecting my third child when I was over the morning sickness part but hadn’t got to the feeling huge and cumbersome part yet.  My childhood was spent in a rural Post Office in the days before e-cards, when everyone sent loads of Christmas cards and when people sent turkeys by post.  Not too much pre-Christmas serenity there!

Lists can help to make everything more manageable.  Shopping lists, cooking lists, present lists.  Deciding from the get-go that this is going to be a pleasant few weeks culminating in a relaxing Mid-Winter holiday.  I always have conflict about buying more stuff for those who already have loads and about destroying the planet with bought wrapping paper.  I’ve done it differently a few times and felt the better for it – buying Trocaire Gifts or Oxfam Gifts, wrapping the presents in brown paper.  I did once have a failed experiment wrapping the presents in newspaper with lovely red ribbon, looked really nice, felt really virtuous but everyone got black hands on Christmas Day!

Taking care of the basics even when we are busy helps us to take care of everything else.  That boring old mantra of good healthy food, enough sleep, some fresh air and exercise and not getting too heavy or serious about it all really can help us stay grounded and get through – maybe even enjoy – those hectic few weeks.  In the food department, nothing like a good bowl of porridge in the morning, and a good healthy soup or stew later in the day to keep us warm and optimistic.  The calming qualities in the oats and the nourishing properties in the stew make it all a bit more manageable. Adding some good winter spices such ginger, chilli, cayenne or turmeric can make these dishes more warming. Taking a break in the shopping centre, Grafton St. or Patrick St. for a calming cup of Camomile tea or a perk-up cup of green tea is a good idea; might be good though to stay away from coffee with its dehydrating and hype-up effect.

Remedies which I love and rely on and am almost in the mode of an old style preacher about include Echinaforce, Relaxing Essence or Child Essence from Jan de Vries and Milk Thistle Tincture Tablets.   As the cold wind whipped around me at the end of September I started on my annual daily Echinaforce drops.  I am a huge fan of Flower Essences which are very safe – I have almost the complete range and use them as needed.  In the run up to Christmas I’ll be relying on Relaxing Essence to help keep me calm.  I’ll be recommending Child Essence to help keep the children in the family from becoming too wound up in the run up to the big day and I’ll be using Milk Thistle to keep my liver functioning well during the party and rich food season.

With this little plan in place I’m hoping to arrive happy, healthy and unscathed at what can be an extraordinarily beautiful time of year.  I see myself sitting by the fire, carols on the radio, enjoying a nice warming soup and reminiscing about my own grandmother blanching almonds, chopping peel and using eggs preserved when the hens were laying plenty during the summer.

Here’s to enjoying buying or making gifts for our loved ones, loving the lights, the carol singers, and the buzz, sharing the joy of the Christmas bake with our little ones, and resting in the beautiful deep Mid-Winter. The gifts I’ve loved most have often not been expensive but reflect the love and thought with which they were made or had been bought. Given the poverty and turmoil in other parts of the world and the financial stress many families in Ireland are experience, we are blessed and lucky if we can buy some presents and eat well this Christmas.  May it be a joyful time of year for you?

Gran’s best Christmas Shopping Remedy:

Relaxing Essence from Jan de Vries
Available from health stores nationwide

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