Fire up those Festive Feelings

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Winter can often be a bit of a gloomy time of year for many, what with the lack of sun and the colder temperatures. That’s why the holiday season is an excellent time to fire up those festive feelings and really enjoy the coziness of the season.

This blog is a light-hearted one to simply offer some tips on how to boost your mood and keep your spirits up during the winter season. Most are linked to the Christmas holiday, however, there’s no reason you can’t continue the ideas, even if you tweak them a little.

Christmas trees up in February? Perhaps not. How about swapping it out for natural sprigs of holly or vases with dried herbs or flowers?
Nature can improve our mood all year round.

Festive feelings - dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks

Decorate Your Home with Nature

Decorating the house in winter is such a wonderful way to improve one’s mood and general spirit. We’ve been doing it for centuries in fact. Drying herbs to hang to keep bad spirits away as well as keeping the air clean goes back a long time.

As I mentioned just above, December is typically the time Christmas celebrators bring in the Christmas tree. It brings such joy and if you’re lucky, a delicious smell into the home.
It’s also the perfect vessel for even more decoration! You don’t, however, need a tree for these. They’re fun to hang anywhere you like.

  • Try drying oranges and hanging them on the branches of the tree for some very festive feels.
  • Crochet or knit Christmas decorations to hang. I’m calling this one being Granny-Chic because I LOVE knitted Christmas Baul-balls! Grab some wool and find your inner Norwegian, and start knitting up a storm. Nothing more mood improving, I’m sure of it!

Not everyone can or wants to have a tree, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in nature.

  • Go for a walk and look for broken twigs/small branches to bring in and decorate. They can be put in vases and decorated with fairy lights or dried berries like rosehips.
  • Make a popcorn garland and intertwine berries or other outside treasures.
festive feelings Christmas wreath
  • Make a Wreath. The tradition of bringing evergreens into the home during the winter began in the 16th century among northern and eastern Europeans.
    Wreaths used to be symbols of strength and power in ancient Greek times but soon took on more religious meaning, being a symbol of eternity, as the shape has no end.

    These are really fun to make, and often you’ll find people offering classes this time of year. Otherwise, if making them isn’t your thing, buy one to adorn your front door and enjoy the merriment it brings!
  • The final one, otherwise this post will never end, is to make pinecone decorations. These can be left naked or sprayed with fake snow then hung on a string or ribbon from the ceiling or window. Or anywhere you like really! They’re really festive and if stored carefully, can be used over and over.
mulled wine

Bring the German Christmas Markets to You

Mulling spices are basically the smell of Christmas, don’t you agree?

German Christmas markets are a lovely place to visit if you need a surge of Christmas spirit, but it’s not always possible to go to them. Bring in the mulling spices!

Naturally, you can buy Glühwein (or mulled wine) in a shop, but there’s also fun to be had in buying some mulling spices, slicing some oranges, pouring in a nice wine or fruit juice like apple, and heating it slowly on the stove.

I wrote a blog post with several recipes for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic mulled wine ideas, but these are spiked with herbal goodness. I’ll give you a hint, medicinal mushrooms are involved!

Sonnentor offers a Red Wine Mulling Spice Mix (ask instore), but you can also whip up your own mix using a blend of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mixed spice, vanilla and orange/lemon peel.

Make Your Own Mulling Syrup

Alternatively, make some mulling syrup to gift to friends and family or use for your own festive brews.
Typically it’s a mix of the pre-mentioned spices which are then mixed with sugar and oranges/apples. Feel free to try it with coconut sugar if you want to avoid caster sugar. It will have a different flavour and colour but it’s an option.
Honey is another excellent base to use.

Have a look over my How to Make a Herbal Syrup for ideas on how to make it. Alternatively, the internet is filled with recipes to try.

Then all you need to do is heat 400ml syrup with 750ml red wine or cider and add in some orange or apple slices. Yuuum!

Make Salt Dough

Now this one brings back memories! What about you? Do you remember being a kid and making salt dough ornaments?

These make the perfect Christmas activity to do with kids. If you’re in need of some festive ideas for what to do, this one is fun and easy. Make them to hang on your tree or give them as gifts.
And even better, you’re likely to already have the ingredients on hand – salt, flour and water. If not, we have you sorted.

gingerbread decorations

Get Baking

Gingerbread and Mince Pies – need I say more?

We have shelves packed with all the goodies you’ll need to make both of these festive treats, and I highly recommend giving them a whirl. I know it’s an oldie, but it’s still a goldie, and that’s this recipe by Deliciously Ella. It’s gluten-free and vegan. I still use it nearly a decade on!

And if you’re not up for baking, we also have a plethora of Christmas goodies available. Vegan, gluten-free, we have you covered. How about these The Foods of Athenry Mince Pies?

Drink Festive Brews

And if doing any of the above is too much.. or perhaps you’ve already got it covered, then simply pop on a good brew. I love Yogi Tea Christmas Collection.

And on the subject of tea… are you a kombucha parent?
If so, try spicing it up a bit and dive into your spice cabinet! There are endless combinations of herbs, spices, fruits, and even juices you can use to add flavour your homemade kombucha.

festive feelings Tisserand Gingerbread

Infuse the Air with Christmas Scent

This one is one of my favourites. And for me, it goes very much hand in hand with sipping Glühwein and knitting Christmas gifts. I love to add a drop or two of essential oil into a diffuser and let it fill the air with Christmas spirit.

Try Tisserand Gingerbread Essential Oil Set

This will spice up your home with warm aromas that are sure to invoke the holiday spirit within you and fill the air with magic.

Blurry lights

Take your Calming Herbs

Last but not least by far, don’t forget to take your herbal helpers this year. I wrote several blog posts on dealing with stress, and here’s a couple specifically for Christmas.

And some additional blogs that are worthy of mentioning this time of year:

Emily Nöth

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