2020 Festive Season: 5 steps to making the most of it

It’s been said too many times, but, 2020! What a year, huh?! Yes many of us will be really glad to see the back of it and move into youthful, effervescent sounding 2021! However, we still have the most stressful part of this year (and any year) to get through – the Festive Season! Incorporating different celebrations depending on where you live and what your beliefs are, the period from mid November through to the New Year is one that is inevitably jam packed with, well, festivities!

Perhaps what has occurred during 2020, and the global pandemic of COVID-19, will make more people value and understand the benefits of slowing life down somewhat. However, for many people, especially if you’ve just come out of lockdown (cause to celebrate in itself!) there is quite possibly a sense of having to make up for lost time and really cram as much celebrating as possible into the 2020 Festive Season.

In order for you to have as much energy and balance as you possibly can during the 2020 Festive Season why not take an Evenstar 5 Star Wellbeing™ approach! Here are my suggestions for you, plus the all important gift ideas too:

FoodFood

Feeding the troops

It can be so much easier to get takeaway or buy pre-packaged meals when you are short on time and have a hungry family to feed during the festive season. However, the problem with many of the common quick and easy meal options is that they are low on nutrients and high on artificial ingredients. For more details about this check out my How to Get more Energy from Food Blog.

It only takes a little bit longer to whip up delicious and nutritious ‘fast food’ in your own kitchen than it does to stop at Maccas on the way home, plus it’s cheaper, tastes better and will give you so much more energy.  Remember if you don’t make time for health, you will eventually need to make time for illness! If you have been out late and need to get some sustenance into yourself or your kids, there are plenty of quick and easy options to be found in your kitchen!

  • Whilst the kids are in the shower whip up some beautiful free range eggs, some smashed avo on toast and have lots of veggie sticks on the side.
  • Even a toastie is a great quick meal with plenty of options for fillings – cheese, egg, spinach, avocado, tomato, tinned salmon or preservative-free ham (such as Gamze).
  • If even that sounds like too much effort some wholegrain toast (preferably gluten free) with nut butter or avocado is so fast, delicious and nutritious!

Sweet Christmas

Candy canes, boxes of chocolates in the staff room from appreciative clients, homemade truffles as gifts from colleagues! Sugar, sugar and more sugar will be under your nose, and on your lips, during the 2020 Festive Season! The problem with consuming a lot of sugar is that the human body is actually not designed to cope with this at all and it makes you feel tired and crappy just at a time of year where energy is already sapped and you’d really like to enjoy yourself! For more information about the problems with sugar have a read of That Sugar Blog.

Here are a few extra tips for managing the sugar overload during the 2020 Festive Season:

  • tell people NOT to give you sweets as gifts (if you are too late or miss someone, put the box of choccies away for another special occasion or your next book group, that way you are not eating them all now)
  • see the previous section about eating on the run and ensure that you’re not going to be feeling hungry when you’re around sweet treats, this will make you less likely to gobble them down!
  • if you do eat a few too many chocolate santas one day then just make sure that you drink a lot of water and move little bit more, but don’t bring guilt into the equation, remember the Festive Season is meant to be enjoyed!
  • try not to add to the problem by giving other people sweet treats either but if it’s your tradition to bake a Christmas cake for the office, or give everyone your world-famous Christmas truffles as gifts, try a healthier version of the recipe this year: substitute in natural sweeteners like maple syrup or pure honey, in baking and desserts. If you have to use sugar use rapadura sugar which is the least processed sugar you can buy and still contains some beneficial minerals, vitamins and nutrients as well as being metabolized much more slowly. Use less sweetening than the recipe suggests.

Festive Food

Many Festive Season celebrations involve getting together with friends and family and everyone sharing the load of the catering. So when you’re next going to an event where you get to bring a plate, make it a healthy option! At least that way you know that you will have something to eat that is going to help increase your energy! You can also share your love of good, real food with people you care about. Try to include all colours of the rainbow (no, not a bowl of M & Ms!) and be creative:

  • fruit platter or fruit salad
  • veggie sticks and dip
  • roasted vegetable salad with rocket, goats cheese and toasted cashews
  • nuts
  • kale chips
  • organic corn chips with organic salsa
  • mini chia puddings with berries
  • devilled eggs
  • cheese platter

Ethical and Sustainable Gift Ideas

The obvious go-to gift for almost anyone that you don’t know too well is chocolate or alcohol.

Pana

Hand made in Australia with organic, vegan, raw indredients and NO refined sugar this chocolate is truly da bomb!!  You can get it almost everywhere these days including the big supermarkets and you can also buy online direct. Their gift packs are beautifully packaged – no wrapping necessary!

Loving Earth

As their name suggests, these folks really care about the planet and believe the earth and the food that comes from it to be truly sacred.  Their chocolate is plant based, preservative free and certified organic.  They have a wide range, including gift packs. These products are also available pretty much everywhere these days and you can also buy direct online.  Their inner plastic wrapper is even made from fully home compostable materials!

Biome have a good range of both Pana and Loving Earth chocolate online or in store.

Temple Bruer

Australian wineries that are both certified organic and 100% carbon neutral are pretty rare, and Temple Bruer are leading the way.  Their wines are delicious and they are all low preservative, and a number of them are totally preservative free. They have stockists throughout Australia, including some big names, and you can also purchase online at www.templebruer.com.

OrganicWine.com.au

I have not used this online shop myself but they sound pretty awesome and have a wide range of organic, biodynamic, vegan and preservative free options for delivery throughout Australia so check them out if you want a gift of alcohol that is going to taste amazing for your loved one and not leave Mother Earth with a hangover! As well as wine they also have Blind Tiger Organic Gin, which I have had before and it is amazing! www.organicwine.com.au

MovementMovement

Yes you might be too busy with festive celebrations to fit in your normal exercise routine (how great is it to get back into the gym Melburnians?!) but it’s a great opportunity to think outside the box and keep moving. Why not incorporate movement into your celebration: a tournament of Just Dance in the lounge, a bush walk with friends or family, a game of beach cricket, soccer or frisbee, a boogie boarding comp, group participation in an online yoga class or simply a nice long walk around the streets with your loved ones after Christmas lunch. Whatever you do make sure to keep moving because your body is designed to move and you’re not going to enjoy yourself nearly as much as you could if you don’t move it! For more insights on why this is true go to The Magic of Movement.

Ethical and Sustainable Gift Ideas

Drink Bottles

A new metal drink bottle that won’t break, scratch or stain could be a great idea for the movers and shakers in your life! You may even like to consider a bottle that filters the water as well.  WatersCo make a 600ml bottle (which is non-BPA containing perspex btw) that filters out the nasties like heavy metals and fluoride and puts back in alkalising minerals.  You can find WatersCo at Biome, as well as a great range of other drink bottles (online or in store). Alternatively, The Well Store (online) also have a good range.

Socks

These small stocking stuffers are an essential item that you can never really have too many of, especially if you’re always on the move!

Boody

Australian made with the utmost commitment to transparency, sustainability and ethical management throughout the production and supply chain, Boody has Socks and Underwear for women, men and kids.  They also have other clothing available.  There are stockists throughout Australia and you can also purchase online at www.boody.com.au

Etiko

Etiko were one of the first clothing companies to be Fair-trade Certified.  They have underwear for Women and Men available in 100% organic cotton. There are stockists throughout Australia including Biome.

Blessed Earth

This Queensland based company has its clothing manufactured in India to Global Organic Textiles Standard.  Blessed Earth has Socks and Underwear for women, men and kids.  They also have other clothing available.  Purchase online at www.blessedearth.com.au

Soapy stuff

Let’s face it a gorgeous gift of something that is going to smell delicious and make your loved one feel amazingly clean and yummy after a workout is always an easy gift.  The problem is that so many of the skin cleansing products that are on the market these days – yes even the really expensive ones – are packed with chemicals that are hormone disruptive, neurotoxic and/ or petroleum based.  For some more information check out my Blog: On the Nose.

So what do I recommend?

Weleda

This Swiss based company, founded by Rudolf Steiner, has been around for almost 100 years and their ethos is based on natural products that do no harm to the earth, remunerating everyone properly – staff, suppliers and partners – and economic sustainability.  Even their packaging is recycled plastic!  I haven’t personally used all their products but what I have used are all amazing!  The Well Store have most of the Weleda range available.

Dr Bronner

For more than 50 years this US based company, has been producing soapy stuff using traditional methods that are non toxic to people and planet.  Even their packaging is recycled plastic!  Both The Well Store (online) and Biome (online and in store) have most of the Dr Bronner range available.

thankyou.

This Australian based company set out to end world poverty by giving all their profits to those in need.  Their soapy stuff is beautiful to use and is only made with natural plant based ingredients, including their fragrances.  It is widely available everywhere including most supermarkets, you can also shop online at: www.thankyou.co/shop

SleepSleep

Often the first thing to suffer during the Festive Season is your sleep.

The problem when you are in the throes of the festive season is that you may tend to fall into your people-pleaser role which inevitably leads to trying to squeeze more into each 24 hour period than is humanly possible.  Then the only thing that allows time to expand is not being in bed for long enough each night. Not only are the reduced hours of sleep a problem, but when you do get to bed your mind is often so overstimulated that you don’t sleep well. Even if you fall asleep easily you have vivid tiring dreams or wake frequently and immediately start mentally reviewing your to-do list! To learn how to sleep better have a look at my Blogs on sleep.

Ethical and sustainable Gift ideas

Aren’t Pajamas a great gift to receive because let’s face it when you’re selecting what you’re going to wear to bed for yourself it tends to be the stretched, stained old tees and shorts that you don’t want to reveal in the light of day!!

Boody

See further description about Boody above. Stockists throughout Australia and you can also purchase online at www.boody.com.au

Blessed Earth

See further description about Blessed Earth above. Purchase online at www.blessedearth.com.au

Cotton On

For a big name brand that everyone knows and with retail outlets everywhere you can’t go past Cotton On for reasonable standards in the ethical shopping stakes.  They have a great range of sleepwear and accessories for the whole family.  Shop online at www. cottonon.com/AU/ or in store near you.

SurroundingsSurroundings

Luckily in 2020 we are going to be encouraged to hold our celebrations outdoors as much as possible (apologies to northern hemisphere readers!) Being outdoors minimises the risk of spreading viruses and also minimises the risk of being exposed to synthetic fragrances! It’s a win-win! May the only aromas that you smell over the festive season be the delicious scents of festive food and perhaps some essential oils helping to keep the celebration calm and joyous. DoTerra have 2 blends specifically made to enhance your Festive celebrations – Holiday Joy and Holiday Peace. Other uplifting and cheering oils to use at this time are any of the citruses – lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, tangerine!

Ethical & sustainable gift ideas

DoTerra essential oils

Well if you follow me at all, you know that I am a huge fan! They have a massive range of certified pure single essential oils and blends, all of which can be used to make you, your loved ones and the surroundings smell divine. Feel free to purchase these oils through me (always with ~10% discount off RRP). If you’re going to buy a few oils it may be worth setting up your own wholesale account (good idea if you’re buying a few gifts and spending $200+ in a year). I do also offer a service of creating custom blended perfume rollers for the special person in your life, for only $25 – just get in touch!

Other essential oil brands to consider are ECO, Black Chicken, Young Living, Springfields and Twenty8.

BeingBeing

Wouldn’t it be great to take the time to actually enjoy the festivities and the company of your loved ones, instead of rushing all over the place and forgetting to simply ‘be’ in all the wonderful moments you are creating?! 2020 has been a different year than what we all imagined in so many ways so why not make your festive season different – good different, as they say!

While you’re on that post Christmas lunch stroll use all your senses – what can you see around you, what sounds can you hear, which smells are hitting your nostrils, what can you taste on your tongue and what can you feel on your skin? Alternatively perhaps suggest that the whole family does a yoga nidra after the cleaning up is finished – giving you all the benefit of 2 hours sleep in 20 minutes of deep relaxation! Schedule some time to just do nothing over the holiday period, literally put it in your calendar! Just lie on the beach or on the grass watching the clouds and the birds, the bees and other insects go about their busy-ness whilst you are still. For more ideas check out How to Relax: 15 Ideas to Help You.

Ethical and sustainable gift ideas

Candles

Queen B Candles

I adore these candles. They have a fabulous range of products that are beautiful to look at as well as long lasting. The website is well laid out with gift ideas for women and men so you can’t go wrong. Biome have a great range of these candles online or in store.

Northern Light

This is the tealight candle brand that I use in all my studios! Northern Light have a smaller range of ‘gifty’ things than Queen B but what they do have are lovely and worth checking out online at www.northernlight.com.au or at a range of retailers across Australia.

Vouchers | Activities

The most sustainable gift of all is the gift of doing something fun and/ or relaxing. Rather than buying your loved ones things as gifts, how about gifts of activities? It doesn’t even need to cost anything. If there is something that you know that they love to do but never do it for themselves, organise it for them and participate with them – a beach day, a walk somewhere new, a picnic in the park.

Alternatively you can always gift them tickets to a movie, a performance, an exhibition, or a sporting event. If your loved one needs to learn to relax and look after themselves a bit better – or if you do yourself – look no further than an Evenstar Wellbeing voucher. My vouchers come in $25 denominations so you can purchase just one for a kris kringle or as many as you like (or drop a hint to someone buying for you). They can be used towards any of my coaching or healing services, or aromatherapy products.

I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and nourishing festive season, we all need that in 2020!

**I earn some commission on purchases made through the links in this blog to Biome or The Well Store. This kind of commission helps to cover the cost of providing all my content to help you get your energy and balance back through my website, social media and podcast. Thanks for your support of my work.