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The One With the Christmas Jar of Joy

As we approach Crimbo and find ourselves inextricably tangled up in Silly Season, I wanted to share with you how I've gone a bit leftfield.

If you know me even a smidge, you will know that I ADORE Christmas. I am not religious, in the slightest, but that doesn't mean there aren't meaningful and precious traditions firmly rooted in my own personal culture. And culture (speaking as somebody married to a man of a completely different one) runs DEEP.

This is the power of love, people.

As we know, Christmas can be a time of introspection. I decided to start my introspection deep-dive around October. Because that's about the time I usually start scouring the shelves of The Range for crafty bits I can turn into postable, handmade items that friends far and wide can hang on their Christmas trees. You see, I have to start that early because, well, life. Oh, and erm, well I'm meticulous as hell about my rituals (long overdue ASD assessment incoming).

Here are some of my past offerings . .

I get an enormous sense of wellbeing from creating these little gifts. For me, it means that I can offer lots of special people something to hang up either during the festive season or beyond, something that reminds them of the Yardimci clan. It also means a lot of chilling out with sparkly Christmas lights of an evening, accompanied by maybe a glass of something festive and some appropriate snackage. Yes, the postage costs can be crippling but I save up throughout the year and the whole process gives me just the right amount of smugness so that no matter what else happens, I at least know I did one good thing.

But then 2023 happened and I got to thinking . . .

What would it feel like to not make anything this year?

Would anybody really freak out if they didn't get something from me through their letterbox?

Would not doing anything make it more likely that I'd finally get my current novel written?

Would my bank balance remain in the black?

What would it be like to just do . . . nothing?

The very thought of it was kind of liberating. And nauseating too, if I'm honest. I'm not always good at breaking my own self-imposed routines. Surely I had to do something, didn't I? But if that something was supposed to save me time, money and stress, then what on earth could it be?

Distinguished guests of this blog, I give you . . . (posted on Facebook a few days ago) my Christmas message for 2023:


Now I’m sure you know just how much I bloody love Christmas. I’ve always seen it as an opportunity to lavish love on the amazing people in my life . . . whether that’s with cringey Crimbo cards, clashing champagne glasses or the latest handmade artefact I have spent at least two months crafting so that it can hang from your tree. 

This year has been tricky for so many of us. In the wake of the pandemic and a government that seems intent on bringing many of us to our knees, we have been through a lot of challenges. I, certainly, have had to reassess a lot of the ways in which I ‘do life’ and create new ways that are not only sustainable for this incredible planet, but also for me and my little family. 

Part of this is Christmas. It was just inevitable. And whilst I might need to let go of the idea of distributing physical ‘things’ to my friends both near and far, I refuse to give up on the lavishing love thing.

So this is my roundabout way of saying, that for the first time in decades, I’m not doing cards or prezzies this year. It might not seem a big thing to you, but to me it’s actually been an extremely reluctant decision. I don’t WANT to be time-poor or money-poor but it is what it is and I’m making the best of it. I’m making the best of it with this message to you. This is how I’m lavishing love. 

So, if you’re not into hippy shit, please just know that I think you’re ace, I’m so glad to have you in my life, and I wish you the happiest of festive seasons. You rock. Like, a lot.

If you ARE into hippy shit then this is your lucky day. I’ve made this jar of positive words (you know how I LOVE words) and, if you message me back and say so, I will pick out a random word just for you. I’m not saying there are any magical powers involved, but the word might just speak to you. if it doesn’t, no worries. You can carry on as you were. And you still rock. Like, a lot.

Ok, that’s it from me. Love you squillions and hope this message finds you fit, well, healthy and happy.








I zapped this out to Facebook and a few special peeps on WhatsApp and was met with a resounding silence. Oh crap, I thought. If my friends didn't think I was for the loony bin before, then they certainly will now. Why would anybody want a scrappy little word from a grubby little jar? Who do I think I am, Mystic Meg?

I should have had more faith, because just thirty minutes later, my camera roll looked like this . . .

Yes, I perhaps should have removed the 4-week old nail varnish first

Get, as they say, in.

I was SO bloody happy about this! It was an evening of pure Crimbo joy as I shunned all imminent household chores / men whinging for dinner and instead took squillions of photos of words pulled from the jar, and watched as responses rolled in.

And what responses they were! Voice messages, texts and Facebook comments positively brimming with love, understanding, resonance, empathy and cheer. Honestly, I couldn't have even got a buzz like that from a vat of Baileys, never mind spending half my year's income on posting a load of parcels across the country.

This was a good decision.

There isn't much of a moral to this story other than I wanted to share my joy with you. Because that's what this season is all about, I reckon. Sharing joy. But not forced joy. Because that's not joy at all. Real joy that comes from the most unlikely of places.

Joy you've created . . .

Joy somebody else has given you . . .

Joy from a song . . .

Joy from a taste . . .

Joy from an insane pattern in the clouds . . .

Joy from your squishy sofa . . .

Joy from anywhere.

And if there's no joy? That's bloody well ok too, right? It has to be! We're not emotion robots. We can't engineer feelings that aren't there. All I can hope for you at this crazy time of year is that you go softly and, if you have a wild moment of abandon like I did, perhaps do something different.

Go well,



This time of year can be overwhelming. If you need support with your mental health and wellbeing during the festive period, here are some useful links:

For young people:

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post then make sure you sign up to get ALL Abigail's bookish news as and when it happens. You'll also bag yourself a FREE copy of Life Is Yours - the first book in the Life Is Yours Trilogy. Sign up here

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