Feeling festive yet? Here are some activities to help you get in the spirit
Twinkly lights, calming carols and feel-good films – the holiday season is often a beacon of light during the depths of winter. It can also bring stress and worry however, which makes it especially important to find ways of switching off and revelling in the joy of it all.
Crafting can be a beautiful way to do this. Encouraging a sense of mindfulness as you become engrossed in what you’re doing, crafting can help us relax and connect with both ourselves and others.
Whether you cosy up under a blanket to knit alone, invite your friends over to make a festive wreath or get the kids involved in some potato stamping, we’ve got some crafting ideas for everyone.
1. Origami stars
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding, and it can be a therapeutic experience. Making origami stars is perfect for this time of year, you can turn them into tree decorations or make a garland.
All you need is paper (why not use pages from an old magazine?) scissors, needle and thread. Mental health charity Mind has a brilliant template which includes instructions to make your origami stars.
2. Holiday activities jar
This is a great way to motivate yourself to enjoy festive activities you love. Get yourself an empty jar, some paper and a pen. Cut or tear the paper into small strips and on each one write a holiday activity you want to do. Here are some ideas to get you started: make hot chocolate, watch a Christmas film, wrap presents, bake cookies, go for a winter walk, decorate the tree, have some mulled wine (or some alcohol-free festive drinks) with friends.
Fold each strip of paper and pop it in the jar. You can then decorate the jar with some ribbon or a sticker and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Now you have a jar filled with fun activities to brighten up your December.
3. Knitted stocking
Knitting your own stocking for Santa (or making one as a gift) is a fun idea for the knitters among us. Settling in each evening to knit a few more rows and having a deadline of Christmas eve can motivate you to take this time for yourself. Make it special by lighting a festive candle, enjoying a warm mince pie and listening to Christmas tunes.
Here is a selection of free stocking knitting patterns to try.
4. Potato stamp wrapping paper
If you’re keen to get little ones involved in crafting, this could be a fun one to try. Make your own decorated wrapping paper using potato stamps. All you need is plain wrapping paper (we recommend craft paper), some potatoes, a knife/cookie cutters and paint.
You can use the knife, or cookie cutters if you have them, to make shapes in the potatoes (try a star, Christmas tree of reindeer), dip them in paint and then stamp the paper. Below is a short video tutorial to get you started.
5. DIY snow-globes
A fun craft to do and one that will inspire mindful moments all season. Make your own snow globe so you can watch the snow/glitter swirl and settle, like our thoughts often can. As you watch the snow/glitter settle, take it as an opportunity to calm your own mind, this can also be a great exercise to do with kids, reminding them that calm moments are important.
There are a couple of different approaches you could take with this, you could try a waterless snow globe, or one with water. Here is a tutorial for a waterless snow globe, and here’s one for a water snow globe.
6. Pom pom wreath
Making a festive wreath is always great fun, especially when done with loved ones, friends or colleagues. If you want to try something a little different this year, why not try a pom pom wreath? They’re easy to make and will last longer than those made from foliage so you can bring it out year after year. Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing.
7. Mini Christmas puddings
Keep hold of your empty baked beans tins and make yourself some mini Christmas puddings. Absorb yourself in the process, from taking in the smells during cooking to noticing the colours when decorating to make this a truly mindful activity. Then enjoy eating them yourself, or send to loved ones as a gift.
Here’s a recipe for tin-can mini puds.
Mindful crafting can help reduce stress and lift your mood, but if you’re finding things difficult, help is available. You can call Samaritans (they are open 365 days a year) on 116 123 to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. And if you’re interested in working with a therapist, you can find one at Counselling Directory.