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‘Cat in the Stacks: Have a Mindful Christmas

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I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.


I have been on a mindfulness kick – that I’m hoping is more than just a kick – and I’m going to try to bring the practice into the Christmas season. Here’s why I think you should, too!

Let me preface this by saying I’m not by nature a mindful person – that is, I don’t always keep my brain and heart where my feet are. My mind is usually on a hundred different things, especially now that I’ve been in grad school for a few semesters, and I’m very rarely “in the moment,” as they say. But what if I try? Even for just a couple of minutes a day, what if I make the effort – even if it’s the last thing I want to be doing in my brief windows of spare time?

Only good things would happen, of course.

Let me also admit that doing mindfulness practices – noticing the weather, noticing colors, actually listening, enjoying food – has been pretty challenging for me and, no, I’m not always (rarely) successful, but I do think the effort is worth it for the few times that I am! And on that note, I read an article about mindfulness during Christmastime and how that lack of “Christmas magic” you feel as an adult is probably because you don’t even really notice or remember it’s Christmastime. Life is busy! Hours and days go by fast! Then, poof, just like that, the holiday season has passed and then it’s just cold without the pretty lights.

Photo © Nevit Dilmen

Photo © Nevit Dilmen

If you’re religious or spiritual then it might be useful to rely on that as a way of staying in the moment and staying centered in the vibe of the season. But staying centered can be as simple as appreciating the effort your neighbors put into the decorating this year. It can be tasting, really tasting your friend’s homemade cookies. It can be really wanting to give a gift to a loved one for no other reason but to see them happy. It can be as simple as slowing down, if only for five minutes, as a gift to yourself.

It can be reading a really good book this winter break.

Have a fantastic holiday season, Villanova. Warmth and light!


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


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Last Modified: December 17, 2015