Day 4 (December 30th) Do something for the planet

5 things to do on this Twixtmas Day

  1. Support life: Plant something or save an insect
    • Be kind to an animal
    • Have a new plant in the home
    • Plant a tree
    • Plant you Christmas tree (buy one with roots)
    • Go and hug a tree
    • Sponsor a tree somewhere: http://healthyplanet.org/default.aspx
  2. Pick up a piece of litter
    • Don't create litter: reuse your plastic bags
    • Have a look in your rubbish bin... how can you reduce your waste? Recycle? Composting? Buy things with less packaging?
    • Give stuff you are not using to your charity shop or to JumbleAID
  3. Turn the heating down
    • Turn off your appliances at the wall (don't use standby)
    • Unplug your mobile charger
    • Do baked potatoes for dinner to warm up the kitchen... then have 5 friends over and tell them about Twixtmas
  4. Identify a habit to change to lessen your environmental impact
    • Eat less meat
    • Use the car less
    • Consume less: can you go one week without buying something non-essential?
    • Sign up to http://www.dothegreenthing.com/about
  5. Support an environmental campaign

Some Twixtmas inspiration from a leading expert

Lynne Allbutt,TV presenter and gardening expert - the inspirational gardener


Be with nature to help celebrate you, others, your friends, your planet and your future

Go for a walk.  Get out into the fresh air. Whether it's just around the garden, through the Park or playing fields or a hike up a mountain,   get your coat, get out and get going  ....  whatever the weather.  Even if it's raining, you are not made of sugar and your skin is waterproof.  Breathe deeply and walk briskly.

During your walk use the time to mentally list 5 things that you like about yourself;  list 5 lovely things you have done this year and think of 5 people you love having in your life.  Put your shoulders back, lift your chin and embrace the fresh air.  Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for all the wonderful things in your life.  The mind is a powerful tool and we tend to get more of the things that we focus on, so focus on all the fabulous aspects of your and how grateful you are for them.

The Dali Lama suggests we cannot truly love or respect another unless we are able to love and respect for ourselves.  Often we think that displaying self-respect and considering ourselves is actually selfish but if we don't take care of ourselves we will not have the emotional ability to look after others, no matter how good our intentions.  

Be happy; be healthy.  A well-cared for garden will be a healthy, lush garden; a neglected garden will be more susceptible to pests and diseases; growth will be weakened.   Put simply, the better care you take of the soil, the more productive the plants will be.

Making time for yourself is an important aspect of good health and walking in the fresh air will clear your head and allow you to expand your creativity as well as ensuring you are getting essential exercise.  

Connect with others

When you go for your walk - whatever the weather -, SMILE at people you meet; we are not talking goofy grins or stalking-style smirks but genuine, pleasant little smiles.  As you smile, give your attention to the Now, notice how people react.  Notice that the more you smile, the easier it is!  

We all spend a ridiculous amount of our time in the past or the future, either regretting the former or worrying about the latter.  We can't change the past and we can't forecast the future.  The best place to be is in the NOW.  (Smile).  The Now is all there is anyway - the past has gone and the future hasn't arrived yet.  By all means take lessons from the past to make NOW a better place to be and indulge in happy healthy thoughts about the future to pave the way but do so from the present moment.  

As you walk, be aware of all 5 senses.  Look around you, notice little details you would normally be too preoccupied to see; smell the air - is it cold and crisp?  Can you even smell the rain?  Focus on what you can smell.  What can you taste?  Just be aware of the taste in your mouth.  And how do your hands feel - are they warm, cold - touch something.  Touch the bark of the tree, or the grass or even the tarmac or wall nearby.  Focus on each individual sense and relish the NOW. 

How do you feel?  What is your predominant emotion right now (apart from embarrassment maybe if you are in a crowded place!)  Do you feel contented? Do you feel troubled?  Are you hopeful or fearful?  How is your life?  Be aware of your emotions.  Give them the attention they deserve, they are indicative of your current position in life.  Give thanks for the good; give a promise to address the rest. 

Connect with friends

Call a friend, neighbour, relative or loved one and take them for a walk - again, whatever the weather. Walk and talk.  Tell them how much of a difference they make to your life.  Thank them for all the things that they do for you.  Thank them for just being themselves.  Talk openly, even if it means starting a sentence with, "I know I don't usually say these things but I want you to know .........."  Ask about them and their life (don't pry, just take an interest). 

Give them the option to talk and share their thoughts with you.  Don't butt in, don't try to solve, don't try to be smart - just listen for a while.  Share ambitions, hopes and fears.  Offer support if and where appropriate. Maybe arrange to walk regularly.  It could coincide with having a coffee or bit of lunch afterwards, aim to keep in touch a little more often. 

'Companion planting' in gardens consists of planting two or more plants together for the benefit of each other.   Scientifically, one plant will often emit a substance that will be productive or even protective to its neighbour and vice versa.  We can adopt this organic method of providing support for  each other to make a difference, practically, emotionally and psychologically, especially during more challenging times.

Connect with nature

When you go for a walk, take some bread or bird seed with you.  Sprinkle it in the hedgerow, in the grass or somewhere safe for the wild birds.   Putting food out in the garden for the birds will help them keep fit during the harsh winter months. 

There are lots of proprietary bird foods to choose from but scraps will also be enjoyed by most.  All types of natural fats, like suet, are good for them, and squishing  it into the cracks of fence posts or even tree bark is a great natural way for them to feed.  Baked  potatoes are thoroughly enjoyed, put remember to cut them open first!  Currents, raisins and sultanas are treats and halved apples and pears will also be appreciated. 

Spike the fruit onto a shrub or low tree branch to replicate natural nosh!  Crush nuts and crumble bread to appeal to the smaller birds and don't use salted nuts or bacon fat.  Avoid mouldy and stale food too as it can cause respiratory problems.  Obviously keep all feeding stations clean to avoid diseases and away from cats to avoid deaths!.

Celebrate Your Tomorrows

Sow some mustard and cress or sprouting seeds, get the kids to help if possible.  When the seeds start to sprout, remember the dormant potential in us all and that a little TLC will encourage growth and development.  

Observe Nature during her dormancy, enjoying her winter rest confident in her knowledge that spring will bring new hope, new life and renewed vigour.  Sometimes it's good to stop and rest; we don't need to be productive all the time. 

Also remember that the bare, bleak-looking trees will soon be resplendent in their fabulous spring and summer foliage; we don't have to look our best all the time to be beautiful.  Notice the difference the trees are making to the skyline or the surroundings   .... they are not 'trying', they're not doing anything really right now and yet they are making a big difference ....  just by 'being'.   Just like you!

If you incorporate the above suggestions into your Twixmas Celebrations, you will have walked up to 5 times in 5 days.  Exercise is one of the best organic mood-enhancers and an essential factor in reducing weight.  Fresh air will help you sleep well at night and is good for your skin.  Do I need to say more .........?  You have already proved that your are able to fit a walk into your Twixmas days so endeavour to keep up the good work and take this new habit into the New Year ..... and beyond.

Get ready to step into 2011 knowing that right now, just as everything is, no matter what .... you are enough  exactly as you are and you already have access to all those wonderful inner resources you need to fulfil your personal potential. 

Books on .....

Lynne's Twixmas Must Reads are:

  • A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
  • One Red Paperclip - Kyle MacDonald
  • The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
  • The Mars and Venus Exercise Solution - John Gray
  • All the 'Garden Expert' Books by Dr D G Hessayon

Lynne Allbutt

Lynne is third generation gardener - on both sides of her family. Lynne presented the garden makeover series for BBC Wales 'Hot Plots' and for UK Style. She writes a weekly column for Wales's National Newspaper, the 'Western Mail'. As the 'Inspirational Gardener' she aims to encourage people to get more involved with their garden and their surroundings. Contact Lyne at www.lynneallbutt.com

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