December – my favourite month of the year is finally here and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go” (Michael Bubblé, 2011). I am aware that the Christmas holiday season this year for many people would be a little more subdued than in previous years, as we might not be able to go out and socialise as much as we normally would due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. And some of us, myself included, would be spending Christmas alone, away from our family and loved ones.
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For me this means that there would be no overseas trip back to hot and sunny Douala – Cameroon, as I had originally planned to surprise my mum darling I haven’t hugged since 2010 (yes, that long). For the same personal and family safety reasons, there would be no getting on a plane to Dubai, New York, Berlin, Paris, or Pretoria either to party with my geographically dispersed family members.
People like you and I, who will be spending Christmas on our own, might have to find simple and creative ways to enjoy our holidays wherever we are.
If you are spending Christmas by yourself, find out how you could meaningfully celebrate the festive season with lots of hope and joy in your heart.
Sort out your Christmas music and movie playlist
There is no Christmas without some fabulous music and movies that will keep you happy and well entertained during the festive season. Get a list of your favourite artists whose songs revive the childlike and Christmas spirit in you, and rehearse your best dance moves for your upcoming Tik Tok performances you will be sharing for fun with family and friends. And select a few movies or series from Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime Video that you’ve had no time to watch during the busier periods of the year.
For my part I will be catching up on The Crown season 3 and Dame Maggie Smith’s phenomenal performance as the Dowager in Downton Abbey Season 6. On my music playlist, I am getting ready to throw an at-home Christmas Eve solo party, vibing to afrobeats, Marc Anthony’s, Maitre Gims’, Beyonce’s, Jennifer Lopez’s and Sean Paul’s greatest hits. I will be slowing down on Christmas day with my all-time favourites Michael Bubblé’s and Andrea Bocelli’s newest albums, and old school Mariah Carey’s songs.
Get some books to read during the Christmas holidays
Set aside some time to finally enjoy reading some books you have purchased throughout the year, but you have had no time whatsoever to read. Now it’s time for you to unwind with uplifting and inspirational books of your choice. From thrillers to poetry or science fiction books, the sky’s the limit. If you have no books at home, borrow some from your friends, colleagues or your local library. Or if the fancy takes you, just order some books online.
During my Christmas downtime I will finally be reading South African comedian and television host Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime childhood stories, which depict the incredible bond and love Trevor shares with his Black mother as a biracial child growing up during the twilight of apartheid.
Make a donation or gift a Christmas hamper to someone in need
Christmas is the time when we extend our love and kindness to other people beyond our family and social circle as an act of gratitude and to bring hope and joy into strangers’ hearts. Look for simple ways to lighten up another person’s Christmas either by making a symbolic cash donation to a charity of your choice, a food bank, a local church, or donating your old clothes and items in excellent condition to a charity shop for resale.
Alternatively, you can order a Christmas hamper for an elderly neighbour or a relative from your favourite local deli or supermarket. If you want to go high end Fortnum & Mason, Claridge’s, Harrods, and Selfridges have some exquisite vegan and non-vegan Christmas hamper treats that will delight even the most capricious palate.
Book your Christmas food, drink and essentials delivery slots in advance
Christmas is the busiest time of the year to reserve a supermarket delivery slot. There has been a surge in demand in online shopping and home deliveries for food and essential household items during the coronavirus pandemic. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, supermarkets have slightly increased their delivery slots to ensure vulnerable and isolating customers are still able to get food and essentials.
Consequently, book your delivery slot with your favourite supermarkets and order as early as possible where you can. It could be worth planning ahead and getting items that won’t go off such as spices, dry and canned ingredients you will be using for your breakfast treats, in the delicious cakes, appetisers, juice drinks, and the various meals you will be concocting during the holidays.
Attend the Christmas midnight mass celebration
Find a way to enjoy some Christmas carols and a midnight mass online or in person if you can. And I can guarantee that you would have fond memories of such experience for a very long time.
As far as I am concerned nothing is more heartwarming than the fantastic Christmas carols and the jaw-dropping Christmas decorations that my local parish here in Wimbledon village puts together for the Christmas midnight mass celebration.
From the sleepy two-week olds carried by their parents to the very elderly, everybody puts on his very best attire to attend Sacred Heart Wimbledon Christmas midnight mass celebration that is worthy of a Royal Academy of Music and a Royal Albert Hall concert. This year it will be a little different, as I will be enjoying a livestreamed Christmas midnight mass celebration instead due to the limited seats that will be available at church. Nevertheless, I will be singing my heart out loud with other parishioners the way I have been doing for over a decade.
Connect virtually with your loved ones
Thanks to Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime, we have somehow managed to keep in touch with our family members and our loved ones since the beginning of the pandemic.
Courtesy of these online platforms, you can decide to organise a virtual Christmas lunch and dance party. You can also set aside some time to just pray together and unbox your Christmas presents. Why not try to brainstorm some Christmas recipe ideas and virtually cook together with your loved ones? That should be a lot of fun. I, for sure, will be getting some recipe ideas from my aunt and I will invite my loved ones to join me for a virtual Christmas dance party.
Enjoy an outdoor walk on Christmas Boxing day
Power up your holiday season with an enjoyable walk in a park or in your local neighbourhood post-Christmas to breathe in much needed fresh air and enjoy some greenery that will help you feel and be more alive, energetic and optimistic.
And if you are feeling a bit depressed, angry or anxious about being away from your loved ones during the festive season or just worried about the future, walking with Mother Nature will help clear your mind, de-stress, control anger and help you shed weight in the process. Go for it.
Indulge in sleep time and a relaxing at-home pampering session
During the Christmas season, carve out time to get some proper sleep in order to recharge your batteries, put yourself in a better mood, and strengthen your immune system. By the time you start the new year, you will be refreshed and ready to embrace life with a positive and a more resilient attitude.
And don’t forget everyday to lit some beautiful Jo Malone scented candles and home fragrances to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere into your home. Spend a few minutes each day to pray, meditate, or enjoy a soothing bath soaked in with your favourite spa-like aromas. Let your mind and body unwind, reminding yourself what a blessing it is to be alive, full of dreams, faith and hope in the future.
To you all – my lovelies, I wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful holiday season! xx