We’ve entered November, it’s come around quickly and I hope everyone managed to appreciate Autumn as much as I did. I thought I’d do a post with a few tips and musings that I find helpful when considering this transition to the darker months and the run up to one of the best times of year: Christmas.
Just as the transition of September into October is a marker of change in the year and ourselves, with the harvest, Mabon and the first falling leaves, soon after we have the transition from October into November, with Halloween/Samhain, daylight savings and seeing the last of the leaves fall. Autumn is a beautiful transformative time so it can all feel a little glum and dark going into November.
Here’s how I have/plan to take some of that autumn glow into November and of course how to prepare for Christmas in the most therapeutic and helpful way:
🍁 For Samhain/Halloween I did a deap cleanse. Any tension you carry that might make moving into the darker months more tough, now is the best time to shed it. It might be past Samhain (30th of Oct – 1st of Nov) but you can always do this cleanse a few days later.
Firstly you’ll need some white sage, some black candles, dried flowers (if you can get hold of them, i just used dried lavender) to symbolise the final end of harvest and summer, any other candles in seasonal colours (oranges, browns and deep yellows).
Set up these items somewhere in a way that aesthetically pleases you, this set up/altar can be anywhere! Any space where you can enjoy it and sit before these items. Before doing any kind of spiritual cleansing I recommend physically cleansing and washing yourself, don’t rush it, whether it’s a shower or bath, take time to appreciate the act of washing off any negative emotions or baggage. Once clean and fresh, leave your hair wet, don’t get invasive, it’s nice to feel natural when doing something like this. Ideally this should be done at night but it’s not vital. Next take the white sage, light it with a flame (I carried a candle round with me). Start in one spot in your house, flat or room and waft the cleansing smoke that comes from your white sage into the air, slowly making your way through your space. You can choose any kind of incantation, personal, short, lengthy, out loud or in your head, one word or many it doesn’t matter. I simply said in my head ‘I cleanse this space and myself and look forward to the months of winter’.
After making your way (thoroughly, don’t skimp on the white sage smoke and relight it if needs be) round your home, find yourself back at your altar that you will have set up previously. Spend AT LEAST ten minutes with no artificial light other that the candles on your altar lit, simply sitting, breathing deep, thinking about what has happened in your last few months, achievements, improvements to be made, goals to achieve; at this time you may want to make an offering to signify your acceptance of the turning in the seasons. This could be an apple (one of the last harvested fruits of the season), some small pumpkins, some beautiful leaves or even some corn. Once you’ve pondered on these thoughts a little, think of where you want to be in the next few months and finally by new year, make a promise to yourself to look after these wants, but to be patient. Finally light the white sage once more (really get it burning) and place it on a fire proof surface on or near your altar, leave this to burn into the night.
🍁 Moving into November one thing everyone always notices is the encroaching night. To tackle this, bring things into your home and space that fill you with warm light. Candles that whisper of the smells of christmas: cinnamon, all spice, orange and cookies. Fairy lights are a great way to add a warm glow to a room and with LED ones you can simply recycle the batteries used and not worry about overusing electricity.
🍁 Look after your health! Whenever it gets cold we are all more prone to illness. At this time of year, it’s easy to forget to eat fruit and the healthier things we’d normally eat in summer. Instead of eating light and healthy, go for things like stews, soups and veg packed meals. Add some kale to your stews, double up on carrots, have a side of broccoli and stock up on good carbs like sweet potato, butternut squash or pumpkin! And even more importantly: get good sleep.
🍁 Celebrate! Winter is a month of celebration so take every opportunity to celebrate that you can. Reward yourself for achievements, no matter how small and this positivity will definitely see you through into the new year.
🍁 Bake! The house is going to start getting chillier now and what better way to warm it up and fill the house with great smells than to do some baking. Add a little cinnamon and all spice to bakes for that seasonal ambience and flavour.
I hope some of these things were helpful and you can take elements of each and start implementing them!
Now for some preemptive measures and tips for December and…Christmas!
🎄 Start early. This goes for many things over Christmas, but of course I’m mostly talking about gift buying. I always aim to get mine done by the end of November because – and I speak from experience here – that way you can really appreciate and enjoy the magic of December and Christmas without fretting about having the money right near the big day, thinking of ideas, going out shopping at the same time as everyone else… The list goes on.
🎄 Go for something different and support a small business. Whether it’s your local craft, vintage or interior shop, a shop on etsy or a Christmas Market why not try buying some things for people that are totally unique, made with care and support independent creatives at the same time.
🎄 Make and bake! Alternatively, save lots of money and bake or craft your friends and loves ones gifts, make it something they can use or eat at this festive time and they’ll love and appreciate it much more than something more expensive but that they could have just gotten themselves.
🎄 Use recyclable brown parcel paper as wrapping paper! Brown paper is great because you add whatever you like to it to make it as fancy or minimalist as you wish. Whether you use festive stamps, sprigs of spruce, holly, ribbons that can be reused or simple bakers twine it’ll look great and we can all personalise it in our own ways.
🎄 Share the love! Christmas time is all about love and whether it’s self love, appreciating friends, partners or family it’s a time to forget about your pride and really invest in the love you give and receive, just as I said about physical health coming in to winter, mental health is equally as important and accepting and giving love at this time is a great way to look after your mind.
So those are my festive tips! Hope you’re all excited as me and stay tuned for more updates, writing, seasonal recommendations and more.