'Tis the season to celebrate, and while a little celebratory excess every once in a while is an important part of life, this time of year can bring an overwhelming amount of snacks, drinks, decorations, and, well, general stuff. And that can ultimately all be a bit draining. Making conscientious choices to incorporate simple, natural elements into your holiday plans, from treats to decorations, can go a long way towards keeping things balanced!
Turning your home into a cozy, festive wonderland is one of the best parts of the season and one of the easiest ways to create a beautiful, healthy ambiance is to think about light. Really, nothing beats the magic of a real flame, and while we can't cover our trees in candles anymore, having extra candles around at this time of year can be really calming. That said, it's important to think about what kind of candles you're using. Artificially scented candles, and even unscented, mass produced candles do release toxins. Paraffin is derived from petroleum, and chemical perfumes can aggravate allergies in residents and guests. On the other hand, beeswax candles can actually help purify the air in your home, and have a mild but amazing scent. You can also look for candles that are soy-based, hemp-oil based, coconut oil based... there are options! If you really want to super charge your glow-y, air purifying experience, pop your toxin-free candles into a Himalayan salt candle holder. They're inexpensive, always look gorgeous, and can bring a modern California vibe to your holiday displays.
It's also really worth it to consider spending the time on some plant-based, DIY decorations. This can be an incredibly cost-effective option that has the added benefit of bringing people together, because many hands make light work—and beautiful decorations. Popcorn and cranberry strings are so simple to make, and are beautiful on trees, mantles, windows and doorways. An only slightly more labour intensive option is to use dried citrus slices. Simply cut oranges, lemons, and/or limes into thin slices and dry them in your oven. (There's a great blog post on how to do that here.) They look a bit like stained glass when they're done, and can be used as individual ornaments, seasonal mobiles using driftwood, strung together as a garland... Your spice rack can also be easily raided for earthy elements to incorporate, and which will make your house smell amazing. Star anise and cinnamon sticks can be tied onto and into many DIY holiday crafts, including wrapped presents, and whole cloves can be poked into mandarin oranges to make lovely patterns. And obviously don't forget the greens! If you can't grab some from your back yard, remember to check tree lots and florists for their evergreen offerings that can be crafted into garlands, swags, wreaths and centrepieces.
And, of course, there are the treats. At this time of year, even those of us on set dietary tracks can feel the urge to 'branch out' a little, and everywhere, from the office to social events to our own homes, seems just covered in temptations. Sometimes the most helpful way to approach this can be to focus not on what you shouldn't be eating, but on what you can add to your snacks and diet overall to make sure you're still getting some good nutrition in with all the lovely indulgences. This can be as easy as putting bowls of nuts for protein in amongst the plates of squares and cookies. Add some bowls of dried dates and figs to the spread, too, and don't forget how lovely mandarins and pomegranates both look and taste! Yes, sugar is still sugar, but fruits and dried fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth while also offering an array of vitamins and minerals. The same can not be said for a candy cane :) For the same reason, try and remember honey to sweeten hot seasonal drinks (even if you are also going to sneak in a bit of rum!). You can even go so far as tactics like slipping some coconut oil and/or, say, medicinal mushrooms into your hot cocoa, to add some plant-based fats and general immune support to your liquid treat. Can't hurt to try that one out on the kids, too—chances are they won't even notice the 'good stuff'. There are a million little ways this general concept can be applied. Once you start keeping it front of mind, you'll see them everywhere!
However you celebrate, we wish you all the best in health and happiness for the season!