Festive Feng Shui

We all want our Christmas to be as smooth and fun filled as possible. So from a Feng Shui perspective, what can you do for a Christmas filled with peace and laughter?

For stability and harmony, the three most important energies to deal with this December are coming from the east, south and north. With this in mind, here are the top eight Feng Shui remedies for your Christmas in 2008.

1. The east brings with it the influence of difficulties and obstacles. But there are several ways that you can minimise its effect. The best option is to place an all-metal wind chime in this area so you can regularly hear its sound. Alternatively you can use a metal bell, a round metal bowl of salted water with six coins in it, or a five element pagoda - whatever works best for you.

2. The south has the energy of illness and requires the placement of six metal coins in this area to reduce its impact. Another option is a Wu Lu gourd, also known as the Calabash.

3. Arguments can be stimulated in the north sector of your home and so it is worthwhile introducing the colour red in this area during this period. As we all know, tensions increase dramatically in the busy lead up to Christmas.

4. As the festive season approaches, it is worth considering how to minimise stress. Christmas is one of the most emotional and stressful times, so this advice is much easier to give than to implement. For me, one of the hardest parts about Christmas is dealing with the increased traffic on the roads and in the shops. And so, preparation is the key. Consequently, the most important step I take is to consider my gift selections by the end of November/early December. By this time I have made a "wish list" of gifts. In this way I avoid the rush and it gives me the opportunity to simply enjoy spending time with loved ones as Christmas Day draws near.

5. Budgeting is the other way you can manage stress levels. In our desire to make sure every gift is special and meaningful, we can sometimes forget to consider our bank balance. But healthy finances are essential for pre- and post- Christmas pleasure.

6. While it may be fun to welcome into your home long-lost relatives, friends you haven't caught up with in a while and a host of other people, it is worthwhile to protect your home and immediate family from the stress this may create or the tensions that may be inadvertently carried into your home. The best way to do this is to burn incense or a smudge stick before guests arrive and/or after they leave. Smoke and scent are great purifiers - indeed this is why you see so much incense burning in temples and during meditation practice. Burning incense or natural smudge sticks is an effective method for temporarily altering the energy of your home. The most common and effective herb for this is white sage. Alternatives are frankincense, myrrh or lavender.

7. According to Feng Shui tradition, the pine tree is a symbol of longevity. Interestingly, this is the tree that is the central focus of the Christmas season. From a symbolic perspective, the location of the Christmas tree is important. It should be in an area where the family often comes together. In this way, and on a subtle level, whenever you see it, it will evoke a sense of all the wonderful things Christmas is about. During Christmas, a great part of our family tradition involves getting together specifically to decorate our tree. We turn it into a big social event and this sets the tone for this special time of the year.

8. Look after your "inner chi". Instead of frantically trying to meet your myriad social commitments, don't be afraid to say "no" to a party or two. Treat yourself to a few quiet evenings at home, indulging your senses. Consider stimulating all five senses throughout your home, in a way that will serve you and your family best.

Sound - music that calms your mind and lifts your spirits. This may be your usual Christmas carols, an aria or a particular chant, whatever works for you.Smell - a very personal and powerful medium to positively alter the energetic influences in your home.Touch - I love textures, particularly the feel of sensual fabrics. This sense of touch can easily be stimulated by additional cushions or throws.Taste - this could be as simple as some chocolate or as complex as a degustation menu.Colour - I love colour and Christmas is my opportunity to really indulge myself. I love the reds, greens and gold colours of this season. These colours, in fact, introduce the elements of wood, fire and earth, a very harmonious combination.

Finally, taking "time out" most definitely ensures great results on Christmas Day, the pinnacle of the season. Fill your home with lots of love and laughter during the 2008 Christmas season.