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Finding peace in the city this festive season

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Our heritage ambassador, Aisha Al-Sadie who is the Learning and Heritage Officer at Winchester Cathedral shares her tip for a peaceful festive season.

candlesChristmas carols, pictures on cards and the adverts on TV promise this time of year to be a peaceful time full of laughter, hope, love and joy. We all know that the reality is rarely like this. Some of us will find the pressure of buying presents, keeping the little ones entertained and getting the house ready a bit overwhelming and stressful. Some of us will be alone. Some of us have no home.

We put pressure on ourselves to wear a brave face and smile through life’s troubles, particularly on Christmas Day, in the hope that it will make everything go away and everyone will have a nice time. I think that the pandemic has made us realise that being kind to ourselves, to just give ourselves a moment of mindfulness and to talk to each other, can help.

My friends and family think I am a bit bonkers for gathering Christmas presents for them throughout the year, but I cannot stand the mad rush of buying presents in December. I find that this gives me little moments of joy throughout the year thinking of the ones I love and an extra bit of mental space on the run up to Christmas.

Unsurprisingly, the Cathedral gets busy at this time of year, especially with the Christmas Market, and I sometimes struggle to concentrate on work with the constant noise outside the single glazed windows of my office. Perhaps you struggle with the added busyness of your own work too.

In Winchester, we are so lucky to have a place to go when we are feeling a bit overwhelmed. The Cathedral welcomes everyone, of all faiths and none. Whether it is just to sit and be quiet for a moment after being on the bustling High Street, to remember someone that you will miss on Christmas Day, to light a candle for someone you love who is going through a difficult time or to just walk around this beautiful building and forget the world for a moment.

The Winchester Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who enjoy sharing their passion for their city. They were assembled to provide visitors with a local’s view of the city and its attractions. Their thoughts, insights and tips are independent and are not paid for. The Winchester Ambassadors are not affiliated with any of the brands or businesses mentioned in their posts or endorsed by Winchester City Council.