To say it with Kate Rusby's words, "Christmas is past now." Whether you realise this fact with sadness or joy is entirely up to you, but I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas season and a good slide into the new year - I sure did.
Let me give you a short recount before I delve into the actual topic. I celebrated the holidays with my family in Tyrol and it was a pleasant time to say the least - including gift unwrapping, turkey and carolling. I even had a Christmas concert with my dad at his hotel on the 23rd, which settled my mood for the festivities alright!
But now that Christmas is over, I feel a ping of sadness, knowing it will be a year until we can celebrate again. Of course, there is much to look forward to (my wedding, for instance), but I simply love the fest of love and am slightly heart-broken when it is over - however, it actually is not over yet! It saddens me to see people throw out their Christmas trees already, even though the Christmas time technically lasts until the 2nd of February when Candlemas is celebrated and officially marks the end of Christmas. And even if you don't want to celebrate this long, at least leave your tree be until the 6th of January! I, for sure, will do so!
I have some gems to share with you that will keep up the Christmassy mood for a day or two longer and which invite to cuddle up in an armchair with a hot chocolate and enjoy the time of the cold months. Christmas is not only a day, it is a feeling, so let's cling on to it for a little while before grim January takes over completely.
The best way for me to remain in the Christmas spirit is by reading Christmas-related books, for which I often only find time in the holidays and they prolong this special time wonderfully. This year I bought a new book, namely the Christmas Stories by Elizabeth Clark. Surely, the stories are not new at all, Clark being a writer of the 19th and early 20th century, but they encapsulate the feeling splendidly. Be prepared for lots of religious references and Victorian values to some extent, written in excellent language and tugging on your inner child. It is also a wonderful collection to read to children, the Mrs Button stories being my favourite for children and myself.
Another great writer to help you stay in the right festive mood is Katie Fforde. The British writer sweeps you into the English countryside and charms readers with her heartwarming and festive stories. Last year I got her short story collection A Christmas Feast and Other Stories for Christmas and snuggled up with 12 short stories which are served like a menu. Some shorter stories are amuse-bouches while longer ones present the main dish. The diligent author has also written many other Christmas books which invite to linger in the Christmas mood for a little while longer.
One of my favourite Christmas books I've read in the past, which also inspired me greatly for my own projects, is Nina Stibbe's An Almost Perfect Christmas - a hilarious collection of her memories of Christmas. In the short book, she recounts of past Christmasses in the most entertaining and entertaining way, making you laugh and miss the festivities already. I can still vividly remember the story when she forgot to edit her Christmas song list and Silent Night was in it about 40 times, or her difficult relationship to turkey...
I usually hate people who shamelessly self-promote their shit, I once bought a scrap book by a guy called...well, actually I forgot his name, but he permanently talked about himself, so I tossed the book. However, talking about Christmas stories for the post-Christmas season, I simply cannot miss out on the chance to also briefly mention my own short story collection, of which I am very proud. Last year, I compiled various Christmas stories I'd written over the years and published them as an e-book called It's Christmas, After All on Amazon.com (print versions may be available in some time, but I don't feel quite ready for that yet). If you've perused the website, you already know where to get it, but by clicking here, you can find out more about it, I would love for you to read it and probably also leave a review on Amazon if you liked it.
Every year I wish I could hold on to the special Christmas feeling, the warmth and friendliness, but then life intervenes and I am back to my usual hectic schedule, but this year I am really determined to change course. I know it is a total cliche to say that in January and I can feel you all rolling your eyes, thinking, "Sure, by February she'll be sitting on the sofa, munching away Kinder chocolate and re-watching PLL on Netflix". Maybe, but in between, at least, I want to become more disciplined and feel, for the first time in my life, convinced that I can pull it off. I haven't been feeling great for some time now and feel it is high time to chance course, and what better goal to lose wait than your own wedding?
Either way, one book which has motivated me very much to pursue my plans and set sensible goals is Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I've already mentioned it in my summer vlog reading list which you can find here, and it is not only hilariously and well written, but also really helpful as Gretchen shares her personal project with us. What I like about it, is that is inspiring without dictating how to do it. We are all different and one method may be entirely wrong which is right for someone else. At the moment, I am formulating my plans and will share how it goes with you throughout the process. And if you have any New Year's resolutions, I can only recommend reading her book, if not to steal her method, at least to feel like you've got a buddy in the process.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.