“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ~ Bob Hope
Christmas is the time of year that invariably conjures up memories, images, traditions, movies and songs. I have always loved this time of year but am fully aware for some people it is a very difficult time of year. Our feelings on either side can certainly change over time. Even the classic Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Story depicts Ebenezer Scrooge who goes from a miser who despises Christmas to a man who appreciates the joy and blessings of the holiday.
Around the holidays, I often think of The Sound of Music’s My Favourite Things as it reminds us about finding pleasure in simple things despite the hectic pace this time of year brings with it. So, in the spirit of giving, I thought it might be enjoyable to share some of my favourite things. Some are free but most of them are under $100 – except for the last one.
Here are a few of my favourite things….
As a disclaimer, I have no financial interests in any of these items – purely personal.
#1. Escents aromatherapy diffusers – every bedroom in our house has a diffuser as well as the main living area. They give off a peaceful glow and add a nice scent to the room. We have used the Canadian company Escents diffusers and oil blends for years and they remain one of my favourite things. They are also one of the most efficient and reliable companies to order from if you don’t have one locally.
#2. Podcasts app – you may already know about my pension for Podcasts, including a prior post Podcasts – Lessons Learned from Listening, and I find it unbelievable that these thought-provoking conversations are free! I am making an effort to return these gifts by writing reviews on iTunes as they benefit from them in terms of sponsors, guests, etc. The latest episode on 10% Happier with Dan Harris, Joe DiNardo – Grief & Meditation, is definitely worth listening to as they discuss love, loss and being present.
#3. Laughing Stock Portfolio – My husband Colin and I really appreciate a nice red wine and Portfolio from Laughing Stock has remained at the top of our list for years. I used to drink white wine exclusively, but thanks in part to the British Columbia wineries Osoyoos Larose and Laughing Stock, I am a red wine convert. The Minimalists suggest giving consumables so this is one our favs to gift to our family and friends.
#4. Insight Timer app – this free meditation app is perfect if you like variety in your meditation practice. It offers a library of guided meditations as well as timers and ambient sounds to customize your own experience. Many great meditation apps exist, and I have tried many including ones with fees, but this is free and suits many styles (including mine!).
#5. Warm Buddy Ultra Shoulder Wrap – as I sit here writing this post, my Warm Buddy shoulder wrap is adorning my neck and shoulders. I heat it up for 2 minutes and wear it for an hour or more. It is soothing, keeps me warm, and help ease tension in one of my problem areas. Again, a Canadian company with a personal touch when you order from them.
#6. Mary J Blige “A Mary Christmas” album – given it is the holiday season, I had to add one of my favorite Christmas albums of all time. If you want to see a moving performance from the album, check out this video excerpt from an Oprah episode – “What Child is This” with Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli and David Foster.
#7. “When Breath Becomes Air” – this is a must read book that was released this past year. It is a memoir of Neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi, written after his terminal cancer diagnosis before his death, searching for “what makes a life worth living?”. His wife, Lucy, wrote the epilogue that made me sob with joy, and she was instrumental in the book being published posthumously.
#8. “Tell Me I’m Fat” – Canadain physician Yoni Freedhoff, Weighty Matters, wrote about the episode of This American Life with Lindy West and said you need to listen to it – he was right! Weight-shaming happens in our society, and even in healthcare, and Lindy’s perspective will really leave you thinking…in a positive way. Lindy wrote the book Shrill which I am partway through and so far is a hilarious memoir that holds a much-needed mirror up to the values of our culture.
#9. CBC Radio 2 – another free gift for our listening pleasure, CBC Radio 2 offers a variety of music streams including two of my favourites – Choral Concert with Katherine Duncan and Tonic with Tim Tamashiro.
#10. UE Megaboom Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – our favorite way to listen to music in our home, especially CBC music for Colin and I, is through the our UE Megaboom. When you hear the quality of sound that comes from it, it doesn’t seem that expensive for a portable Bluetooth stereo system. It is also a great gift for teenagers, spoken from experience, and they have some neat colours.
Thanks for allowing me to share a few of my favourite things with you. It feels like I just wrote a gratitude list and I feel a flood of positive emotions doing so!
Although I will have a new post on Christmas Day, you might be a little bit busy. Just in case, happy holidays to you and your family.