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Small Pleasures — Simple Christmas Activities

Andy Williams sings ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ — and I’m sure that many of us would agree. There is no other time in the year that equates to these winter holidays, filled with wholesome activities. But, equally, looking after our mental health at this time of year is absolutely paramount, and given the current circumstances we are in, I think this couldn’t be more important. Part of this process is just allowing yourself to find pleasure in the simple activities because they can help you relax during the holidays and focus on the small pleasures of life. I have outlined some of the simplest, yet most pleasurable and important activities that you can do over the winter break. 

Call your loved ones 

It is certainly a time of year that is particularly centred around family and/or those who you consider to be your family, but given our current situation, many people are separated from their loved ones (or this year’s Christmas plans are completely different from usual). So, it is the perfect time to call your loved ones so that you feel connected. And there are also, perhaps, people with whom you’ve been meaning to get in contact with for a while but have not been able to. You should definitely reach out to them because maintaining those healthy, loving relationships is both self-fulfilling, and fulfilling for the other person too. Reaching out is such a simple act of kindness, especially in a time that can feel quite isolating. 

Light a candle 

Simple actions like lighting a candle can really be so therapeutic for the mind. Let your body relax with a candle with a calming scent, and listening to Nat King Cole or Michael Bublé’s Christmas albums (or any album/playlist of your choice!). 

Christmas Feasting

Gingerbread houses, roast dinners, Baileys… the list of delicious, indulgent Christmas treats could go on! Food plays such a central role during the Christmas period, and part of what makes it so important and interesting is the fact that it is unique to each and every household. We all have our own family culinary traditions: for example, in my family, as a way to maintain our Aussie roots, every year we have, without fail, a Pavlova. Whether you choose to try to make tamales or order a massive bucket of KFC like some Japanese families, it could be fun to explore typical Christmas foods from other cultures, as it gives you the chance to expand your cultural knowledge while continuing the festive cheer. 

Make yourself a hot chocolate or cup of tea

There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa (with a huge dollop of cream and marshmallows, of course!) or a massive mug of tea, while reading a good book or watching re-runs your favourite series. 

Watch your favourite Christmas films

And of course, there is absolutely nothing better than Christmas films, and in addition to the endless re-runs of your general favourite films and series. There are Christmas films that never fail to hit the right spot, from the classics such as The Holiday, Love Actually, and Elf, to Love Hard, a new, fun Christmas Netflix original film. For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, the musical film, In the Heights, is the perfect, upbeat summer film, with its main themes centering on family, music, community and celebration. The holiday time is perfect to escape with films, and to enjoy their boundless and uplifting joviality. 

Angelica Meneely

UC London '23

Angelica (she/her) studies Comparative Literature with Portuguese and is currently studying abroad in Lisbon, Portugal. She is a proud Londoner and passionate about the arts. When she grows up, she wants to be a ‘Creative’ (think Emma Thompson meets Michaela Coel meets J.Lo). She also loves funky earrings, astrology, Latin American music, Frida Kahlo, and learning celebrity heights.
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