The Calm Christmas podcast is a cosy listen during the darkest season of the year. Bestselling wellbeing author Beth Kempton shares soothing wintery words from her favourite poets and writers, tips for a stress-free holiday season and advice for taking care of ourselves at this time of year. Join Beth at her kitchen table deep in the English countryside to explore ideas for a natural and sustainable Christmas, look into the origins of some of our most-loved traditions, and see how winter is endured and celebrated around the world. With new episodes every week throughout November and December, the Calm Christmas podcast is less of a countdown to Christmas than a travelling together through winter… So mark your diary and allow Beth to inspire you to let go of perfection and create a meaningful, nourishing celebration this year. There are logs on the fire, tea in the pot and gingerbread fresh out of the oven. Pull up a chair and relax. It is Christmas, after all.
S2 Ep9: RELEASE (reflect + dream)
Welcome to The Hush – that precious, liminal space between Christmas and New Year. In today’s episode, the final one of this series, we explore the idea of ‘less doing, more dreaming’. These are the days in-between. This is a precious time to breathe deeply, savour moments with loved ones or alone and feel the world slowing just for a moment. It's a time for reflection and releasing, meandering, and dreaming. This episode includes a very special visualisation to help you open up to what might be calling you, along with some prompts to explore in your journal ahead of the new year. With inspiration from Susan Coolidge. I hope you love this final episode, and that it ushers you gently into the new year, with a heart full of hope. Beth Xx
PS Don’t miss my free poetry challenge #tinywinterpoem coming to my Instagram feed @bethkempton in January!
Featured in this episode:
New Every Morning by Susan Coolidge in The Poetry Pharmacy, edited by William Sieghart Download a FREE copy of my Perfectly Imperfect 2022 Digital Planner here and start visualising what might be next for you.
S2 Ep8: CHERISH (pause + celebrate)
So here we are in Christmas week! This week I am sharing a few quiet words and a couple of festive recipes (for you and for the birds) to bring a sprinkling of calm as the festivities peak. With inspiration from Julia Baird, Emma Mitchell, and Maya Angelou. Wishing you whatever kind of Christmas you want and need this year.
Phosphorescence by Julia Baird p.286 (William Collins)Making Winter by Emma Mitchell (LOM Art)Untitled by Maya Angelou in Celebrations: Rituals of peace and prayer by Maya Angelou (Virago)Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton (Piatkus)Ingredients for featured recipes:
(1) For the birds
You will need:250g block of lard250g wild berries like rosehips or hawthorn, or dried fruit like dried cranberries or sultana, wild bird seed, and porridge oats (250g in total, in any combination of berries, seeds and oats)A saucepan of boiling waterA heatproof bowl to make a bain-marieYoghurt pots, fibre plant pots or coconut halvesGarden twine(2) For you
2 litres still or sparkling cider or apple juice 2 large or 3 small apples, washed, cored and sliced but not peeled3 oranges or 8 tangerines (washed and sliced but not peeled),1 lemon (zest and juice only)1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 8 cloves, 6 short cinnamon sticks6 tablespoons brown sugar
S2 Ep7: REST (escape the chaos)
Ease yourself through the holiday preparations with this gentle episode all about rest, including a host of ideas for taking care of yourself as winter moves in. With inspiration from Liza Dalby (@lizadalby), Jilly Shipway, Shiva Rea (@shivarea108), Lucy Brazier (@brazier.lucy), Claudia Hammond (@claudie_hammond_), Gareth Owen, Katherine May (@katherinemay_) and Sonoko Sakai (@sonokosakai).
Featured in this episode:
East Wind Melts the Ice by Liza Dalby (Chatto & Windus)Tending the Heart Fire by Shiva Rea (Sounds True) Yoga Through the Year by Jilly Shipway (Llewelyn)River Cottage Christmas by Lucy Brazier (Bloomsbury)The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond (Canongate)Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life by Beth Kempton (Piatkus) Winter Days by Gareth Owen in The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems edited by Michael Harrison (Oxford University Press) Wintering by Katherine May Japanese Home Cooking by Sonoko Sakai (Shambala)Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton (Piatkus)Jennifer Piercy’s Melatonin Magic yoga nidra meditation is here on Insight Timer.
You can download a FREE copy of The Perfectly Imperfect 2022 Digital Planner here, to help you reflect on the year and look ahead to 2022.
Ingredients for the featured recipe (makes 4 servings)
• 3.5 cups or 830ml dashi stock - there are wonderful recipes for making your own dashi in the book, but you can also buy it as stock from places like the Japan Centre.
• 3 tablespoons of white or red miso
• 2 oz (57g) mushrooms of your choice, stems removed and sliced 1/4 inch or 6mm thick
• 4oz (113g) soft or medium-firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch (6mm) dice
• 1 teaspoon yuzu or lemon peel, pith removed
You can buy dashi stock from Japanese supermarkets and stores such as japancentre.com.
To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy Wintering by Katherine May and a signed copy of my book Calm Christmas, head over to Instagram @bethkempton. The deadline for entries is 4pm UK time on Friday December 17, 2021.
S2 Ep6: CALM (ease + joy)
A lovely, relaxing episode to ease you into a place of restfulness this winter, including a beautiful meditation, some gorgeous winter poetry, and some tips for finding calm in the chaos. With inspiration from Hakuin, Brian Patton, Roger McGough, Mark Strand, the Royal Horticultural Society (@the_rhs), Joey Hulin (@joeyhulin_writer), Isobel Carlson, Donna Hay (@donna.hay), and Country Living (@countrylivinguk).
Featured in this episode:
Untitled poem by Hakuin from Three Zen Masters by John Stevens (Kodansha)Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton (Piatkus)First Snow in the Street by Brian Patton in 100 Best Christmas Poems for Children, edited by Roger McGough (SPCK Publishing)Lines for Winter by Mark Strand in Poem for the Day Two edited by Retta Bowen, Nick Temple, Stephanie Wienrich and Nicholas Albery (Chatto & Windus) Your Spiritual Almanac by Joey Hulin (Laurence King)RHS Gardening Through the Year by Ian Spence (DK) The Seaside Year by Isobel Carlson (Summersdale)Country Living Christmas (magazine) Christmas Feasts and Treats by Donna Hay (Harper Collins)Ingredients for the featured recipe (Rocky Road)
1kg of dark chocolate (chopped)2 tablespoons vegetable oil130g sweetened dried cranberries 200g marshmallows250g Turkish Delight pieces50g of coconut flakes 140g of shelled unsalted pistachios, choppedTo be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Your Spiritual Almanac by Joey Hulin and a signed copy of my book Calm Christmas, head over to Instagram @bethkempton. The deadline for entries is 4pm UK time on Friday December 10, 2021.
S2 Ep5: NEST (simplify + decorate)
This episode is all about nesting – getting your home and heart ready for the winter, with natural Christmas decorations, and ideas for mindful crafting. With inspiration from Laurie Lee, Ariella Chezar (@ariellachezardesign), Lucy Hunter @lucytheflowerhunter, Truman Capote, Lizzie Kamenetzky, Cleo Wade @cleowade, The Royal Horticultural Society (@the_rhs), and my mum!
Featured in this episode:
A Village Christmas and Other Notes on the English Year by Laurie Lee (Penguin Classics)Seasonal Flower Arranging by Ariella Chezar (Ten Speed Press)The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter (Ryland, Peters & Small)Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth Kempton (Piatkus)A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote in The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories edited by Jessica Harrison Winter Cabin Cooking by Lizzie Kamenetzky (Ryland, Peters & Small)Heart Talk by Cleo Wade (Atria)Slow Down and Grow Something by Byron Smith and Tess Robinson (Murdoch)Download my free guide to creating a wreath HERE and ideas for other natural decorations HERE.
To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of The Flower Hunter by Lucy Hunter and a signed copy of my book Calm Christmas, head over to Instagram @bethkempton. The deadline for entries is 4pm UK time on Friday December 3, 2021.
Ingredients list for featured recipes:
- 1 cup of plain flour
- Half a cup of table salt
- Half a cup of water
French onion soup
- 25g unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1kg large onions, very thinly sliced
- 250ml dry white wine
- 1 litre rich beef stock - or you could replace with vegetable stock for a vegetarian version
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- A small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 75ml good quality Madeira
- 1 day old baguette or other crusty bread, cut into slices
- 1 garlic clove
- 150g Comte cheese, grated (or you could use a vegetarian cheese)
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
S2 Ep4: LOVE (gratitude + gifting)
It’s time to dive into Christmas gifting, with a host of ideas for mindful, meaningful gifts and some innovative ways to wrap your presents to surprise and delight. We have inspiration from JRR Tolkien, Michelle Mackintosh, Hollie McNish, Laura Pashby, Laura Fleiter and Kerstin Niehoff, and some lovely festive projects to try. Let this episode inspire you to give more love while spending less money and creating less waste this year.
Featured in this episode:
Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien edited by Baillie TolkienSustainable Gifting by Michelle MackintoshBehind the Scenes in Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNishCalm Christmas and a Happy New Year: A Little Book of Festive Joy by Beth KemptonLittle Stories of Your Life by Laura PashbyAdvent by Laura Fleiter and Kerstin NiehoffIngredients list for featured recipe (Serves 1)
2 bananas1 apple½ teaspoon ground cinnamon2 tablespoons milk1 tablespoon quick-cooking oats2 teaspoons almond butter3 pitted dates2 spiced spekuloos biscuits, like Lotus biscuits1 tsp dried cranberriesThis is your LAST CHANCE to join the Winter Writing Sanctuary which started on Monday November 22 2021. It’s a FREE two-week online writing course, and you might just love it. Find out more here and join us asap so you don’t miss too much of class! https://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/course/winter-writing-sanctuary-live-2021
If you want inspiration and guidance for doing what you love in the year ahead, don’t miss our huge annual sale with up to 50% off online courses at Dowhatyouloveforlife.com. Ends soon!
And lastly, to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Little Stories of Your Life by Laura Pashby and a signed copy of my book Calm Christmas, head over to Instagram @bethkempton. The deadline for entries is 4pm UK time on Friday November 26, 2021.
Have a great week!
Listen to this while waking the dog and it’s brilliant. Look forward to it every week.
Feel happier at the festive period with Beth
I love Beth’s work, her writing courses are life changing. I was struggling to put the Christmas tree up this year (2021) because I have several health conditions. I thought to myself I will do it in phases; day 1. Take it down from the attic, day 2. Put the tree together, day 3. Add the decorations etc. However I put Beth’s podcast on and binge listened whilst Storm Barra was battering at the window. My dog was snoozing on the sofa & I just lost myself in putting up the tree. Before I knew it the tree was up, I was listening to Christmas songs and I had tears of joy in my eyes. Why? Because of my health conditions I have very little energy to do the things I love and everything takes forever. However, in listening to Beth’s podcast I felt so festive and the tree was up! This was the happiest I’d felt in the first time in years. Beth shares so many resources too on her podcasts and her courses which are very helpful. Happy listening!
A warm cosy blanket of a show
I listened to the show in season one, where it seemed to help in the difficult times of that year for so many of us.
It is still a warm cosy blanket of a show that you can wrap yourself up in, that has great tips, facts, recipes, and quotes galore.
Thank you Beth, and thank you for your essential book.