It’s a crazy-busy time of year for most of us. November seems to pick up steam, and then BAM! December hits. On top of our already too-busy lives, we add decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping, and attending festive events and gatherings to the mix. By the time Christmas rolls around, most of us feel like we have been running non-stop for weeks. We are in desperate need of a break!
But how do you fit in a break when your schedule is already overloaded? That got me thinking about that fact that many of us already have a regular morning coffee routine. However, if you’re like me, the busier you get, the less notice you take of that routine. But what if, as we head into this last crazy-busy weekend before Christmas 2018, we made the choice to use our morning coffee routine to savor a little holiday spirit just for ourselves?
That idea forms the basis of my simple holiday wishes for you: that you take time to savor those precious moments with your coffee mug first thing in the morning so you can face your busy days feeling calm, centered, and full of holiday cheer. Subsequently, my holiday gift to you is the following article, a short list of ideas that I hope will help you do just that. Each suggestion focuses on indulging one of your senses: taste, smell, sight, sound, and touch. You can use them each individually or combine them as you see fit. I hope they will help you feel calm and focused and bring you a deeper connection to the joys of the season.
A Taste of Christmas in Your Coffee Cup
December seems to be filled with wonderful flavors that evoke the joy of the season for many of us. One perennial favorite is, of course, eggnog. Although we rarely think of eggnog as a morning beverage, a little added to your cup of coffee can bring a lot of holiday happiness to your taste buds.
To make this special coffee-nog, simply warm a bit of your favorite eggnog gently in the microwave or on the stove top while your coffee brews. A word of caution: eggnog can burn easily, so be very careful not to overheat it. Stir gently over low heat on the stove top or use 50% power and stir every 20-30 seconds if using the microwave. The goal is simply to warm the eggnog enough so that it won’t cool down your hot coffee. Doing so won’t take long whichever heating method you use.
Once your coffee is brewed and your eggnog is warmed, simply add the eggnog to your coffee as you would any creamer. Start with just a little and add more until you find the ideal level of holiday sweetness and creaminess to suit your taste buds. For an extra-festive touch and added bit of indulgence, sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top. And if you really feel like indulging, you can even add a dollop of whipped cream. (I promise I won’t tell)
While it may seem like such a little thing, to flavor your coffee in the spirit of the holidays, what you’re really doing is giving yourself a small gift. By putting in just a little extra effort to create a special treat for yourself, you’re reminding yourself that you matter every bit as much as all those things on your to-do list. So go ahead and wrap your hands around your mug of coffee-and-eggnog deliciousness and savor every drop. This coffee moment is just for you!
The Scents of Christmas…Coffee and More
Of course you’ll be indulging in that wonderful coffee smell as you enjoy your morning brew, but the season is filled with so many other scents worth savoring. The problem is, most of the time we are too rushed and harried to even notice them let alone appreciate them.
So, as you sip your morning coffee, close your eyes for a moment and focus on what your nose knows. Perhaps it’s….
- the woodsy, piny aroma of the Christmas tree
- the richness of wood smoke from the fireplace
- the lingering scent of freshly-baked cookies
- the fragrant wisps from a scented candle
Even if none of these smells are within nose-reach for you, you can still close your eyes and really focus on fully enjoying that wonderful coffee smell drifting from your cup. If you followed the recipe above and topped your coffee with a little nutmeg, there will be an added fragrant element to enjoy.
Although it may seem silly to place your attention so fully on the pleasant aromas around you, what you’re really doing is calming your mind. Instead of concerning yourself with all you still need to accomplish to create your perfect holiday, you are creating a quiet moment for your mind which leads to a relaxing
The View Beyond the Coffee Cup
The holiday season is filled more than any other time of year, it seems, with delights for the eyes. There are colorful baubles on Christmas trees, wrapped gifts that shimmer and shine, and strings of lights twinkling bright. Outside nature gives us bright red poinsettias, deep evergreen pines, and, depending on where we live, the sparkling white of snow.
Most of the time, though, all these wonderful visions remain a general blur as we rush from task to chore to activity. But in these last few days before Christmas, while you enjoy your morning coffee, I invite you to set your sights on taking more notice of the holiday beauty surrounding you.
You may decorate the tree every year, but when was the last time you looked closely at your most cherished and treasured ornaments? Have you noticed the jumbled joy of all the different wrappings under the tree? Do you allow yourself time to watch snowflakes flutter to the grown, raindrops dance on the windows, or notice how the sun rises from the horizon, slowly illuminating all that it touches?
By taking some time to really see what’s around you, you are, once again, stilling your mind and anchoring yourself in the present moment. So while you sip your coffee, see what you can see of the holiday spirit all around you. After all, in a few short weeks, you won’t see all these wonderful things for another year.
The Sounds of the Season
Holiday music seems to fill the air earlier and earlier every year. Unfortunately that typically means that, by the time Christmas is actually here, we’re usually pretty weary of all the holly-jolly tunes. That said, however, most of us have a favorite seasonal song or two that never truly get old for us. And now, as we head into the final days of the season, it would be a shame to let the time to listen slip away and realize we never paid much attention to the music that most moves us.
What a perfect thing, then, to take the time we’re enjoying our morning coffee to also enjoy our favorite festive tunes. Whether you wish to immerse yourself in the slow and melodious wonder of Silent Night or tap your toes to Feliz Navidad, make a point to really listen. Treat yourself to the discovery of all the nuances of the song, and let it fill you with all the wonder and joy possible.
If others are still sleeping, you can indulge in your musical moment privately by using earbuds or earphones. In fact, I recommend you use them anyway, just this once, so you can focus fully on the music you are hearing. Again, you’ll be taking your mind off the tasks and concerns in the day ahead of you and bringing yourself into the present where the only thing that matters, for a few moments, is the splendor of the music and the coffee in your cup.
All the Holiday Feels
Of course our coffee moments wouldn’t be complete without indulging our sense of touch. On the physical plane, this is certainly easy enough. There’s the heat of the mug in our hands and the warmth that flows through us as we drink our hot coffee. There’s the cozy softness of robe, socks, or slippers on our body. Perhaps there’s the chill of winter morning making us shiver before the furnace or fire warms our skin.
What’s really at the heart of the holidays, however, can’t be touched with our hands and skin: it’s the feelings on the inside that matter. Unfortunately, though, we are prone to letting the good vibes of the holidays get lost amid the stress, obligations, and busyness that take us over this time of year.
No matter our faith or beliefs, and no matter whether our traditions are predominantly religious or secular, there’s some special meaning the holiday season holds for each of us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t bother celebrating at all. So, as you head into the last shopping-baking-wrapping-gathering days before Christmas and the final busy days of this year we’ve numbered 2018, I hope you will simply sit with your morning coffee and feel.
And know that whatever you feel is perfectly okay. Perhaps there’s be pain, sadness, fear, and even anger mixed in with the love, gratitude, and joy of the season. In the quiet moments, we can acknowledge the mix of emotions that make us human beings and then make the choice of how we want to move forward into our celebrations.
Simple Holiday Wishes
My simple holiday wishes are that you will find joy in using your personal “coffee moments” to reconnect with yourself. That you will relish for a few moments the extraordinary beauty that surrounds us this time of year. And that you will move through your holiday celebrations and the final days of the year with a sense of peace and gratitude, no matter how busy you may still be.
May your days be merry and bright…and may all your coffee be brewed just right!
If you have suggestions on how to handle stress and overwhelm during the holiday season, I’d love to hear about them via the comment section below.