Chasing that fuzzy feeling...
If you read my mindfulness at Christmas feature, you'll know that this year, I'm all about the presence as opposed to the presents.?Why? Well after a less than fabulous 2014, you come away with a keen sense of perspective on what counts and what really doesn't. For me, stressing out in department store queues and arguing over brussel sprouts just won't cut the mustard. Nor have I any time for mothers fighting to the death over a Frozen Elsa doll. You won't find those festive fuzzy feelings at the bottom of a gift box, you'll find it when you stop to look around.
This year, it's all about experiences for me. What makes Christmas feel like Christmas are those early weekend mornings when you leave your house to find that Jack Frost has paid a visit, when you wrap up in the thickest of winter woollies and head out for a walk, the leaves crunching under your feet. Then there's the familiar smell of fresh Christmas tree that envelops you the minute you step foot in the door.
Better still, the scent of mince pies caramelising in the oven, filling your home with memories of Christmases past. Just like nana used to make them. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without gorging on a tin of Cadbury's Roses right before the arrival of the turkey. And don't forget the reams of smoked salmon, brown bread and lemon. For this day and this day alone, we collectively succeed in expanding our appetites beyond belief, fitting more into our bellies than we would on an average a weekend.
And nothing beats the joy of watching your parents' heads droop as they fight that post meal urge to nap with all their might, paper crowns from Christmas crackers covering over eyes that are 'just resting'.
Christmas is also a time when advertisements become arguably more enjoyable than the programmes themselves. As the much loved Guinness Christmas Eve ad appears on the TV, the old man strolling by the quays and the brewery gates as snow begins to fall, our sense of Christmas spirit reaches a wonderful apex.
Amidst food comas and indulgent sleeps, comes the chance to regroup with faces that we rarely see but never forget. Between hot whiskeys, hideous Rudolph jumpers and mistletoe meetings, the true, more contemporary meaning of Christmas makes itself known.
Walking by brightly lit houses, counting the trees and choosing your favourites, all the while knowing of the tiny tots' excitement that lies within, I'm reminded once more why there's scarce an individual who doesn't adore this time of year.
So this Christmas, dear readers, when you've done with the frantic gift buying, take a moment to look around you, enjoy the cold nipping at your nose and the love that, to quote a festive favourite, really is all around.