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Seasonal self-care: why it's never too early to watch Die Hard

The festive season is about pleasure, indulgence and company. But it is too easy to get wrapped up in looking after other people. This Christmas make sure stop, breathe and take some time out for yourself. The days have gone when the Mum does everything, so carve out some time and get working on our top 10 festive indulgences.

  1. Ten minutes before bed, put away the devices, turn off the lights, and light a few candles. A few moments of calm will help clear your brain from cycling over to-do list when you do actually go to bed, and there’s something immensely Christmassy about candles. Tea lights are great for this.
  2. Swap your morning flat white for a hot chocolate, then add in some cardamom pods. You can get these in the spice aisle in any supermarket. They add a deliciously mild spice to hot chocolate that is fantastically festive.
  3. Do a Christmas lights tour. Whether you live in the country or the city, your neighbours are bound to have strung up some lights these days. Don’t bother trying to photo them – they never work out – but instead enjoy the homegrown exuberance of giant reindeer nudging luminous Santas under a twinkling canopy. A flask of cardamom hot chocolate can only enhance the experience.
  4. Make an American-style cranberry and popcorn garland: Christmas is all about appropriating other traditions, and this one has the advantage of being a soothing task for the hands. Plus it smells really good now that fresh cranberries are widely available here. It's easy to learn how.
Cranberry and popcorn garland
Popcorn and cranberry garlands.
Image credit: Factory Direct Craft.
  1. Listen to Elvis: 'Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas' is a world of cheese, but his smooth stylings will easily bring a smile to your face. His version of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” is the stuff of legend, and the kettle drums and fanfaring trumpets in 'O Come All Ye Faithful' will lift any mood.
Elvis Sings Christmas Album Cover
Elvis loves Christmas in a very soulful way.
Image credit:
  1. Make a craft with your own child, or borrow one. The casual chatter of a child at Christmas is a beautiful thing. The pasta creation you make together will be on their parents’ tree forever, and you will get to remind yourself what it felt like to believe in Santa.
  2. Go to a carol concert. These used to be overtly Christian experiences, but nowadays they cater to a much broader audience and if you choose carefully, it won’t be overly hymnal. They’re usually held in churches, where the acoustics are great, so bundle up warm and enjoy the communal experience of beautiful voices.
  3. Phone that person on the other side of the world. We all know that sending a card is not the same as actually talking to somebody. Arrange a time that suits both time zones and schedules and sit down for a proper catch-up natter.
  4. Make a big deal about your favourite Christmas film. Whether it’s Die Hard or It’s a Wonderful Life, invite someone around to watch it with you, get the popcorn in and talk about it constantly on social media while you do. Chances are, at least ten of your friends are watching the same thing and it can become an annual tradition for you all. Do it early in the season for maximum traction.
Stubbly Bruce before he gets really, really dirty. Blue Steel all the way.
Image Credit: Rio Theatre
  1. Decorate your house with greenery. Anything from real holly to a packet of rosemary spread across the mantelpiece will bring that fresh smell indoors, giving your nostrils some respite from the ubiquitous smell of mulled wine spices everywhere.