A Note from Natalie
Natalie is the resident writer, but not an expert. For expert advice, please book a consultation with Dr Quinn
There’s a certain pattern to the year which tends to start around Christmas time and gathers momentum into the first months of the New Year, and its key motif is panic.
We rush around, we invariably overspend – some of us even budget the whole year for that one bright festival in midwinter, but it always leaves us tight on money and pretty much depleted on energetic resources. Right when we need to be out and socialising and replenishing our emotional selves the most, we tend to turn into shut-ins over January and February, because we’ve overdone it and we’re still feeling the financial pinch.
What if we didn’t always wait for January to make new plans and changes? What if we started now, so that come those bleak winter months, we felt much more free – much more expansive and emotionally unencumbered?
Winter Lights by Elle Moss
In ye olden times, November the 1st was traditionally the new year, and the older I get, the more sense that seems to make, because the start of a new year is a natural time to reflect and to make altered plans, yet doing that in the darkest and coldest months can be a real challenge, because our circadian rhythms are such that it’s often the time when our energy is naturally dipping and there are so many other challenges on our wellbeing. Instead of boosting ourselves naturally, we’re often suddenly trying to start new diets, harsh new regimes – we’re often suddenly rather disciplinarian and strict right after we’ve spent a month indulging and giving in to every pressure and impulse around us – in short, we’re the worst prepared we could possibly be to expect sudden magical transformations.
To begin the year just before – when autumn is still rich, when things are relatively calm, could actually give you a major boost of perspective right when you need it most: Before the impulsive, compulsive and ever-more commercial mayhem of Christmas catches you in its tornado.
Wouldn’t it be blissful to glide through the season unscathed, rather than be spat out in January: emotionally depleted and financially stressed?
The best things in life are free…
The spirit of giving should be relaxed, creative and loving. Sometimes it’s only a lack of inspiration that send shoppers into overdrive hunting out the perfect gift, which more often than not turns into ANY gift, and its lack of personal relevance can be made up for with a hefty price tag.
Time is money, you may say. Well, to an extent that’s true. But if that time is spent making things with love, developing new skills, learning more about yourself and gaining undiscovered self-confidence and creative surprises, then personally I don’t see that as much of a deficit.
Restricting money means you have to get creative. And you naturally start thinking much more deeply about your friends and loved ones. There’s inspiration everywhere – handmade bath gifts for those stressed-out people in your life: as you explore your own sensuality, you’ll start to realise that the perfect gift may be to open up someone else’s, with scents, textures, flavours…
Know someone who loves colour? Then create them something vibrant and vivid. It doesn’t have to be perfect – there’s really no such thing. Express yourself, and they’ll value it, guaranteed!
Appreciating nature is a gift to both giver and receiver – and we’re not suggesting an organza bag of garden detritus will serve as a fitting gift, but there is a thoughtful process to picking up objects you know someone will appreciate. It’s also worth considering when it comes time to socialising around the festive time. Walks through free parks, soaking up the magical atmosphere with a delicious hot drink – all the many sights and lights that you can appreciate with your sense without having to open your wallet.
But I’m not creative…
Don’t hold onto that old chestnut. It’s a worn out excuse for not feeling able to give the time. The truth is, you can do anything you set your mind to. You are a much more naturally creative person that you give yourself credit for. You’re just out of practise. If you decide to enjoy the process, then working your way to hand making gift-worthy items is completely manageable!
Just don’t expect immediate results or gratification, view the process as a source of self-development, not the same beast as a shopping spree! And most importantly of all – enjoy it! Connect with your generous, peaceful nature.
Nick Fouquet, Hat-Maker. Photo from afr.com
Youtube is the home of tutorial videos. Whether it’s paper-making, knitting, crochet, or scaling the heights to pottery and gorgeous textile masterpieces like boutique handbags and clothing – you will find some generous soul out there walking you through it step-by-step.
Here are some of our exciting finds – but the world is your inspiration oyster!
Pebble mats and coasters
This can look so simple and elegant in the right context, and it’s a perfect gift for the minimalist in your life, or someone whose idea of a perfect holiday is beach combing and looking for treasures.
Find out how to make it here, but always experiment and change things up once you have the basic recipe!
DIY Kitchen Treasures
For those tricky men in your life… Go through the belly with these Spice Rubs
Origami Light Shade
This one looks pretty stunning and effective, but in this case, a child literally could make it – most of us have made hundreds of these in our school days! Now you just get the tips on how to turn a game into something beautiful.
- See last week’s post for Homemade Bath Bombs
- This amazing resource for inspiration: Everything Etsy 101 hand made gift tutorials
Give well, give lovingly, and you may even release your friends and family from the Vulcan-like grip of the festive season to truly enjoy and relish one another’s company and closeness.