2020 has been a challenging year for EVERYONE; this year give yourself permission, and make a plan, to really enjoy the Festive Season! As enjoyable as the holidays can be, they can also be busy and stressful. The stresses may be very different this year, but they are real so it’s still important to make time for self care. Take time to rest and rejuvenate, practice mindfulness and movement, and allow yourself to be nourished with food that speaks to your soul. Remember to look after your skin too!
At Apothekari, we’re focusing on spreading light and happiness. Let’s take a look at all the festivals celebrated around the world at this time of year. Plus, we’re sharing some of our favorite, indulgent holiday recipes – cause what’s a celebration without food?! We hope that this post inspires you to find some joy during this “most wonderful time of the year”. (Apologies for the cliché).
Festive Season Holidays. It’s Not Just About Christmas!

1. Bodhi Day.

Celebrated on December 8th each year, Buddhists honor the day that Siddhartha Gautama (the founder of Buddhism, aka Buddha), achieved enlightenment through meditation. ‘Bodhi’ means awakening or enlightenment and it took Buddha 49 days of unbroken meditation to find the root of suffering and how to free himself from it. On this day, Buddhists quietly reflect the ways of enlightenment. While some eat tea and cookies, others decorate a Bodhi tree, the tree that Buddha sat under, while meditating. There aren’t any parades or fanfare, rather a quiet day of meditation.

2. Hannukah.

Often called the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish celebration, which takes place December 10 – 18th, this year. It commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.
Hanukkah, means “dedication” in Hebrew and begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. The holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah (a nine-branch candelabra), traditional foods, games and gifts.

3. Winter Solistice.

The longest night of the year falls on December 21st this year, in the Northern Hemisphere. Since ancient times, the Winter Solstice has been recognized and celebrated as the subsequent “return” of the Sun. The traditions have influenced holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah, that we celebrate now.

4. Festivus.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, then you’ll be familiar with this one! Taking place on December 23rd, this festival is a form of playful consumer resistance against the commercialization of the Christmas season. It was created by author Daniel O’Keefe and entered popular culture after a 1997 Seinfeld episode. There’s a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.” Yes, it sounds silly, but it does seem like it would be a lot of fun!

5. Christmas.

Who doesn’t know that this holiday falls every year on December 25th? Christmas is represented by presents and Santa Claus, but its origin is another story. The Christian holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, and although the true date of his birth is unknown, the church fixed the date as December 25, a date which corresponds to the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. If this is true, then that means Christmas is also a day to be grateful that the darkest nights have passed and spring is coming.
Santa? Today’s character is based on traditions surrounding Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop, the British figure of Father Christmas, and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (based on Saint Nicholas). Holly, jolly Santa Claus is portrayed as a portly, white-bearded man, wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, and he became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century.
Christmas is celebrated in countries around the world, even in non-Christian countries, where many of the non-religious aspects, such as gift-giving, decorations, and Christmas trees are embraced.

6. Kwanzaa.

This annual African-American celebration is held from December 26 to January 1, ending with gift-giving and a feast of faith called Karamu Ya Imani. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966, with the goal to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”
The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. It was originally meant to be an alternative to Christmas but has turned into a celebration that many African Americans celebrate in addition to observing Christmas. Today, Kwanzaa is also celebrated outside the United States.
What’s a Celebration Without Food?
7 Recipes We’re Sharing With You
Holidays are made special by food prepared with love and care. They’re the ones that make an appearance for special occasions, and which may appear again and again over the years. Tradition can be very comforting, but there’s something exciting about discovering new things too. I’m adventurous when it comes to food so our holiday cooking involves some tradition plus new discoveries that I think my family will enjoy.
These celebratory foods are designed to be shared and enjoyed with those we hold dear (even though we may not be able to see them in person this year). They may not lead to glowing skin, but oh, they will nourish your soul. Download the recipes. Text only version for printing. Enjoy!

1. Christmas Morning Sausage Rolls.

Sausage rolls are a staple of both British and Irish food, and being married to a Brit, they are a must-have at our house. Our girls have grown up eating sausage rolls every Christmas and it is the most requested item every year. I make batches ahead and pop them in the freezer to be baked as needed. It’s a tradition to enjoy them while opening our presents on Christmas morning.

2. Crispy Classic Latkes.

I didn’t grow up eating latkes, but I’m making up for it now! A simple combination of potatoes, oil (chicken schmaltz, peanut, canola or olive oil), eggs, salt and pepper is transformed into hot, crispy potatoey goodness. Eat them warm with sour cream or applesauce. Decisions, decisions!

3. Peppermint Bark.

Someone gifted me this delightful confection years ago. I almost fainted when I saw how much it cost so set about creating my own version. It’s very simple to make and the trick is to use peppermint oil (not extract, which causes the chocolate to split). The homemade version does need to be stored in the fridge, but it is a decadent delight.

4. Chicken Liver Pate.

You’re either a liver person or you aren’t. For the most part, I’m not, but this silky-smooth pâté is really quite divine, spread over crackers. It’s also inexpensive and simple to make. My favorite recipe is one by Jacques Pepin.

5. Shrimp & Grits.

This dish from the American South falls under the new to me indulgence. It’s a recipe I’ve had tucked away forever but not had the chance to try. Originally designed as a one-pot working man’s meal, it’s now become a pricey menu item. Bobby Flay’s version sounds delicious. Let me know if you try it!

6. Mulled Wassail.

Stemming from Medieval England, wassail (which means health) was traditionally made with apple cider, although an alcoholic base – wines, beer, ale could also be used. Spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger were added. And, if oranges or lemons were available the peels were used. Everything was mulled (simmered) together. Non-alcoholic versions use apple juice, cranberry juice and/or orange juice. A side benefit of this beverage is how wonderful it makes the house smell! Optional to include rum.

7. Blood Orange & Red Onion Salad.

Stemming from Medieval England, wassail (which means health) was traditionally made with apple cider, although an alcoholic base – wines, beer, ale could also be used. Spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger were added. And, if oranges or lemons were available the peels were used. Everything was mulled (simmered) together. Non-alcoholic versions use apple juice, cranberry juice and/or orange juice. A side benefit of this beverage is how wonderful it makes the house smell! Optional to include rum.
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My Fave Four Apothekari products

The first product I purchased from Apothekari was the A for Anti Aging. I have Never been able to tolerate retinol products and always ended up bailing because of dry flaky skin. Until A for Anti Aging. It's Amazing! I have now added the Vitamin C, the Deodorant (Neroli Rose is my current favourite but the Lavender is great too), and most recently the More than Lip Service (thank you thank you thank you Apothekari :)). While deodorant and vaginal moisturizer may sound like odd gifts, these are my latest go-to's for the gal who has everything. All have become fans!

THIS WORKS! No odour for 24+ hours including a yoga session!

I'm blown away by how effective this is, and by how clean and well thought out the formula is. I'm not used to roll-on so that took a couple days to adjust to, but its so much more effective than the solids/creams i was using that it is totally worth it. I'm converted - and i think i have probably tried 90% of the natural deodorants out there over the last 10 years LOL. thank you for creating this.

I love this body oil!

This is so luxurious and moisturizing (i have dry, sensitive skin and most oils don't do the trick) and also miraculously absorbs very quickly. And the lemon rose scent is just transporting - i look forward to using this after my shower.

Bespoke Vitamin C Serum

I love it! Been using it for years. It’s so perfect to put on right after I wash in the morning. I’ve never been the greatest at sticking to a skin care routine but using the Vitamin C in the morning and A is for Anti-aging at night consistently over the years has kept my skin young and firm.
Would not want to imagine life (or my skin) without these two essentials. Thank you Sharmani!

*Received as press sample*

Pricing per bottle is definitely up there, but I think much like skincare, if you have struggled to find a deodorant that works for you, the price won't be as much of an issue because something like this can have a huge impact on your life. One bottle should last about 3-4 months with daily use which I think is fairly close to most deodorants. While I know there are baking soda-free options (baking soda can cause skin irritations due to pH disruptions) and options that use Deoplex, I have yet to find a combination of Deoplex and lactic acid which may be what's working for me. Honestly, the only thing I didn't enjoy was that "wet" feeling when I would first apply it, but after 15 seconds it dries down AND it doesn't stain clothing so that's a huge plus. Even though I received this as a press sample, I would buy this deodorant on my own as I didn't just smell good at the end of a long day, but I smelled like absolutely NOTHING which is WAY better to me than smelling like "I'm covering something up" or like body odour. I also trust and appreciate the research I know Apothekari has invested into making sure the formulation is scientifically sound so I know that's also partly where my dollars are going. I only need to apply once a day and I'm good to go so one bottle might even last more more than 4 months at the rate I'm going! HIGHLY recommend and even though all three scents had the same results, my preferred scent was the Lavender as it just one of my favourite scents overall!

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