#ChronicChristmas Day 24: Julehygge or Welcoming the Spirit of Christmas

Today, my family is celebrating Juleaften.

Celebrating what….?

Juleaften. Or Christmas Eve in Danish. Where I come from, the grand celebration happens tonight with a special dinner — a.k.a. the Best Meal of the Year — and exchanging presents. And it means that today is about disconnecting and decompressing and let the julehygge take over. This is a special Christmas version of hygge, a very Danish way of creating happiness that I discussed on Day #10.

You might call it the spirit of Christmas.

I know some of you are working today, but I also know that on December 24, very little actual work gets done. Mostly is about visiting, chatting, and trying out each other’s baked goods. It’s a perfect way to start decompressing.

Today is about preparing for the big night, but it’s also about letting the big night enter your heart and soul (yes, that I know that sounds like it). To open yourself up to the Christmas spirit. For Thursday’s Spirit, if you don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s about fully engaging with what’s happening around you, about celebrating the magic, the light, and the love of the season.

Knowing that tomorrow is likely to be a bit intense, be good to yourself today. This is no longer about embracing good enough, it’s about embracing that if it hasn’t been done by now, it ain’t gonna get done. So let it go. Shove the mess in a closet, pop the last presents in a gift bag ,and forget about that last errand.

Then do what makes you happy. Have a hot bath, meditate, do some stretches. Pour yourself a glass of wine, a mug of Glögg, got a cup of hot cocoa. Settle in with some seasonal songs on the stereo, or a classic movie on the television. Follow Santa’s progress on NORAD, and feel the excitement start to build. And then go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Glædelig jul!

When does your Christmas celebration start? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what do you do instead? 

#ChronicChristmas is an Advent calendar of tips for a sane holiday season with a chronic illness. Check back tomorrow for the next tip. To see all the posts in the series, click the #ChronicChristmas label below this post.



Eileen said…
We decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. Presents in the morning. Family get together in the afternoon. Moravian Love Feast in the evening. Merry Christmas, Lene!
Orelena said…
Hello i just ran in to your story it touch my soul so very much im 37 year old i live in CA and I to have rheumatory arthritis I was diagnosed with it 3 years ago so far the illness has taken some of my knees I can still walk but I can't remember the last time I was able to run down the stairs I feel like my life was cut short there was still so many things I want to do good I can't even go to the restroom property I'm sure you can understand when your knees can't bend just kicking off blankets is a struggle for me I would like to speak to you in private if that would be okay
Kaz said…
As you know, we don't do Christmas, as Jews. But it's a day we can just kick back with family and have a fairly chilled day eating well and catching up without the usual time pressures.
My eldest son - whose father isn't Jewish - came for a lazy breakfast before heading off to an extended family Christmas celebration with his father's family. Then one of my cousins s d her partner came for the rest of the day. My partner and I are now vegging - I have my feet up. Most necessary! And the fridge is full of yummy leftovers - bonus!
I wish you a joyous celebration - love hearing about people's different traditions.
Lene Andersen said…
Orelena - would love to talk to you. Please email me at leneATyourlifewithraDOTcom

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