Wellness

What does the world need this Christmas?

More joy, more people supporting great causes and more bathing in the warm, fuzzy glow of kindness – to name a few. Here’s how to bring on all the feels this Chrimbo
Tree photography: David Lineton

Please follow whichever COVID-19-related restrictions apply to you and where you live

 

Love action!

For the new Christmas campaign, Boots has teamed up with rising singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri (watch out, Adele!) to release the most achingly beautiful cover version of the classic, ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love’ – released on 4 November – which raises funds for a great cause. Find out more and stream it now on boots.com/love.

 

We’re dreaming of a green Christmas

It’s been estimated that the wrapping paper we chuck each year in the UK could stretch to the moon. Mind. Blown. Jen Gale, author of The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide, shares easy ways to show the planet some love:

SWAP Metallic and glittery paper (which can’t be recycled) FOR…

…Furoshiki, aka Japanese fabric wrapping. Simply wrap a gift in a pretty piece of material, then take it back to reuse afterwards. Recyclable brown paper or newspaper/magazine pages tied with ribbon or twine are great, too.

SWAP Throwing out uneaten food FOR…

…a weekly meal plan that factors in leftovers (the best bit, right?). And get to know what you can put in your freezer: milk, cheese and butter, for example.

SWAP 24/7 Christmas lights FOR…

…lights on a timer, so they go off when you’re out/overnight. And use energy-efficient LED bulbs.

SWAP Your usual festive tipples FOR…

…drinks that give back, such as Fairtrade and organic wines. Or Toast Ale (toastale.com), made using surplus bread.

 

The magic of kindness

When journalist Debbi Marco wrote The Power Of Kindness, a compilation of stories of kindness during the pandemic, it made her see that ‘kindness costs nothing, but is worth so much’. This is one of her favourite stories from the book:

‘When Julie Spence realised lockdown was going to stop her family making their annual journey to Scarborough to lay flowers on her son, Callum’s, memorial bench, she was devastated (Callum was tragically killed in a road accident when he was eight). But she put an appeal on Facebook and her request was answered by student Harley Johnson, who not only visited the bench but also shared Julie’s post. As a result, Callum’s memorial was covered with flowers. “It’s been overwhelming,” Julie said. “I can’t believe people who don’t know me and never knew Callum would do it, especially at times like these. I will be forever grateful”.’

 

Simple things that make us grin

A survey has revealed the UK’s top joyful micro-moments. Try to embrace a few this Christmas

Finding money in a coat pocket – 48%
A compliment from a stranger – 30%
Waking up to sunshine – 43%
Getting into fresh bedding – 37%
A surprise gift in the post – 40%
Lights going green as you approach – 33%
Completing a to-do list – 32%
Watching the sunset – 33%
Finishing a DIY task by yourself – 31%

 

Supersize your festive feels…

… by giving back. Here are some places you can donate

Refuge helps women and children who are escaping domestic violence by using your donation to buy a gift for someone in need. You can choose from items such as toys for kids, warm clothes and emergency accommodation. Go to refuge.org.uk.

Black Minds Matter UK connects Black people with Black therapists, even covering the cost of sessions. The pandemic has hugely impacted this community, so head to blackmindsmatteruk.com to help.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home allows you to treat a furry friend this Christmas by donating a virtual gift to a rescued pooch or puss. They can enjoy grooming kits, treat packs and safe beds: see battersea.org.uk.

The Hygiene Bank provides essential items to those who can’t afford them. Boots will be working closely with the charity this Christmas – and you can join in this act of kindness. Just donate new, in-date personal care items (toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant and sanitary products, etc) at donation points in 245 Boots stores. Or go to thehygienebank.com to get involved in the It’s In The Bag appeal, where you can gift product bags to those in need.

 

Double-tap into joy

Scroll your way to happy vibes with these feel-good Instagram accounts

@wantshowasyoung: You can’t fail to smile at Taiwanese laundry owners Chang Wan-ji, 83, and Hsu Sho-er, 84, posing in clothes left behind by customers (with hipster styling by grandson Reef Chang). Cuteness klaxon: their following makes them feel they have ‘many more grandchildren in the world’ (*melts*).

@bitbeefy: Running coach Cory Wharton-Malcolm’s energetic approach is sure to turn your frown upside down. His tune-tastic Vibercise sessions are so joyful that there’ll be no losing your fitness mojo this festive season.

@the_happy_broadcast: A colourful feed serving up positive stories – such as the fact that dolphins form ‘boybands’ to attract females – it’s what we all need this year. Hit it up for news on mental wellbeing, equality, the planet… all with cute illustrations.

comedy instagram

 

top podcasts to LOL-ify the season

The #nofilter girl talk The Receipts (Spotify)

Three friends chat about sex, relationships, race and life in this frank and funny show. Their chemistry is awesome – we love it when they answer reader dilemmas.

The classic cringe fest My Dad Wrote A Porno (Acast)

Join the host (and his friends) as he reads chapters from an amateur erotic novel – written by his dad. Yep. You’ll cringe and split your sides.

The 2020 throwback Locked Together (free on Amazon and Audible)

Musings on lockdown life from comedy duos, including Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Sindhu Vee and Tez Ilyas, and Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

 

The kindness of kids…

BBC Children in Need is on 13 November and Boots is supporting it for the 17th year, raising funds to help children’s mental wellbeing. It’s also World Kindness Day – so we asked kids what it means to be kind…

‘Kindness is good, because it makes people happy. I write letters to Mummy, Ella, Daddy and my friends to tell them I love them.’ Ava, 6

‘Kind people share. Sharing is caring.’ Ava’s sister, Ella, 4

‘It means you’re nice to other people and you appreciate them a lot. When my sister feels sad, I give her a cuddle.’ Jake, 7

‘It’s being friends and playing together.’ Arabella, 4

‘Kindness means being helpful and nice, and having someone be kind and helpful back. Having a positive feeling will make you happy. It shows respect and no one is left out.’ Shaquille, 8

‘If someone has no one to play with, you could ask them to play with you. When I see a homeless person, I give them a pound or two, maybe to buy a nice coffee.’ Nathaniel, 7

‘If someone has forgotten an umbrella, you can share your umbrella. You can share food at a picnic and give nice presents on birthdays.’ Aanya, 6

Show you care and share the bear

Buy Pudsey goodies in selected stores or on boots.com and you’ll be helping kids: all profits go to supporting children’s mental wellbeing. Pictured, from left: Classic Pudsey Ears*; Small Blush Beanie Bear and Small Pudsey Beanie Bear**.

©BBC 2020. Registered charity England & Wales no. 802052 and Scotland no. SC039557. BBC Children in Need and Pudsey Bear are trademarks of the BBC and are used under licence. *46% of the price benefits Children in Need; **4% of the price benefits Children in Need.

 

Photography: David Lineton, @wantshowasyoung, Nathaniel and Arabella portraits by Rebecca Downie Photography