Ways to have a happier Christmas when you're not feeling merry
Out of character post from the 'Positivity people'? Not at all! Life is filled with ups and downs and sometimes those downs happen over the holidays. Positivity isn't about faking it or living in denial - it's about knowing that things can improve, that you can make things better. So if you're sort of dreading this Christmas or just struggling to get into the spirit, I hope these ideas will help you to have a Happier Christmas this year, even if circumstances are not ideal :)
On the surface of things, it seems Christmas has become little more than a day of getting stuff—an over-commercialized sales-event of high profits and crazed consumerism. Hardly the inspiration to delve deeper into the soul of the occasion.
But Christmas can provide us with a variety of levels of depth and meaning from family togetherness with gift exchanges and Christmas traditions to the original celebrations of the birth of Jesus or the breaking of the dark winter season with festive lights... There’s something deeply meaningful for almost everyone.
By connecting to what Christmas means to you, your Christmas celebration can itself be deeper, more meaningful, and therefore more perspective-shifting and happiness-inspiring!
Sadness is inward-looking. Service is its opposite. So go make someone else’s life better, and watch what happens to yours. Joy will start to replace sorrow. Meaning and purpose will begin to reinsert itself into the holiday experience. The blues will give way to gratitude (if not completely at least a little).
The service can be as big as joining a group dedicated to large service projects or as small as random acts of kindness in your neighborhood (#You shop, we donate anyone?!). Even wishing clerks and others waiting in long holiday lines a “Merry Christmas” can lift their moods, add smiles to tired faces—and chase away your own Christmas blues. Kindness always makes both parties happier.
Of all the gifts you give this year, perhaps the most meaningful and life-changing will be the gift of forgiveness you offer someone who has offended you. And here’s the surprise: You will likely benefit the most from forgiving than the person you forgive; it’s as much a gift to yourself as it is to the other party.
Get out the lights. Put up the tree. Blast the tunes. Decorate. Dance around the house. Invite others over to dance with you. Sing carols. Pop some popcorn. Watch a funny holiday movie (Elf is our favorite) or some stand up comedy. Laugh out loud.
Get into the season. Don’t wait around for the season to get into you! Jump into it head-first and it won’t take long before you find the season has surrounded you!
If saddness or grief overwhelms the holidays because of loss or divorce or distance, make an effort to create a new “family” of friends you can celebrate the Christmas season with. If you don’t make friends very quickly, join a club and volunteer to participate on special projects. It’s often in such settings where people with shared interests and values engaged in meaningful service that relationships grow fastest. That feeling of comradery fast tracks aquaintances to friends.
But whatever you do, try to get together with others.
Sometimes when we feel down, we mope around the house feeling sorry for ourselves and wonder why others don’t come by and pull us out of our funk. Well, stop waiting! Be your own funk-breaker! Paint. Run. Climb. Sing. Swim. Serve. Learn. Play. Give. And watch what starts to happen to your holiday spirit. If you can't motivate yourself to do something big then just play your favourite happy song and sing along! As long as you do something!
I love this one - Bake some cookies. Wrap up some gold coins. Make some mini cards. And start secretly making your neighbors’ day. Put a plate of cookies on a doorstep or put Christmas cards on the windshields of cars in your community. Or, if you're feeling friendly personally deliver the cookies or cards to your neighbours yourself.
We often tend to over-exaggerate the negative and under-accentuate the good. But taking the time to write down all that’s sweet in life can act to underscore the good and paint a picture that’s not quite as bad as we would otherwise believe. Put that list somewhere that you'll see it daily.
Some of the symptoms of depression include oversleeping, staying in bed, undressed, un-showered, self-ostracized. But such behaviour can actually CAUSE the blues. They feed each other. When we’re down, we don’t get up and dressed. But when we don’t get up and dressed, we often feel worse.
So stop the cycle. Get up. Clean up. Shave. Put on your best outfit and go somewhere and do something. Anything. But do it without alcohol. The blues and alcohol (a depressant) is not a match made in heaven...
As you’re out doing good to others, spreading Christmas cheer, spread some to yourself as well. Buy yourself a gift. Make it meaningful. Enjoy it. Be grateful you can afford it (no matter how inexpensive it may be). Have fun with it. And then believe you were worth every penny you spent … and then some! (*shameless plug* if you've had a tough year the Strength Book might be a perfect gift to get yourself)
Christmas is supposed to be an amazing time of the year, full of family, significance, good people and a recommitment to service and kindness and good cheer. It’s fun and sparkly and festive and celebratory. It’s also deep and profound and joyous. There are ways of making this Christmas more so on all accounts.
But remember, to feel good you should do good.
Every year we're more and more excited to celebrate Christmas. Of course, we cherish the long-standing holiday activities our families do, but this Christmas, we're looking forward to trying a few new ways to celebrate Christmas to add to our fun. You may want to try some of these ideas for your holiday feast and gathering.
Do you love your traditional Christmas dinner but want to try a delicious new menu? Skip the ham or move it to a Christmas Eve meal and experiment with a few new ideas for Christmas Day. You may get some resistance, but with these delicious dishes, the push-back won't last long.
If some family members are on tight budgets, try making a game out of exchanging gifts and filling stockings. Before the family gathering, have each person assigned one recipient to give a gift, and have everyone bring enough of one item for each person's stocking. Lifting financial stress could be the best gift your family gives each other.
This year, try to focus less on buying the latest and greatest decor and gifts and turn your focus to spending more quality time with your family. You might just find that these new ways to celebrate Christmas become yearly traditions.
Start a New Family Tradition
This season, start a new Christmas tradition and involve the whole family. For example, order matching pajamas, start an Advent calendar, or fill a gratitude jar. New family traditions don't have to be expensive or elaborate. All you have to do is carve out a few hours and spend the time doing something fun together.
Serve a Non-Traditional Dinner
It's OK to skip the traditional Christmas ham this year, especially if you're hosting a small group. Instead, opt for something totally different, like a fancy dinner from a local restaurant or a potluck soup buffet. No matter what you serve at Christmas dinner, the most important thing is who's around the table.
Wrap Gifts in Fabric
Wrapping gifts is one of our favorite pre-Christmas traditions. Still, wrapping paper is horrible for the environment because we use so much, and it can't be recycled. Try wrapping your gifts in fabrci instead of paper, and you may never look back. If you'd like to switch to fabric gift wrap, invest in a few fabric bags or patterned furoshiki wraps that can be used yearly. Plus, you'll save a fortune not buying new rolls of gift wrap each season!
Host a Virtual Gathering
The best part of the holidays is being with family, but if yours is scattered far and wide and travel isn't possible this year, consider planning a virtual celebration as a way to celebrate Christmas this year. Gather the family on Zoom and have everyone decorate cookies "together" in their homes, or use the Netflix Party app to watch a classic holiday movie together.
Decorate like Grandma
Your grandma's favorite vintage decor trends are back in style—and you should be decorating with them this year. Ceramic Christmas trees have made a huge comeback, and there are some affordable options you can order online. Also, if your grandma displays an elaborate Christmas village every year, you'll love the sentimental aspect of this holiday style.
Giving back to the community is a favorite way to celebrate the season. There are many ways to help out around the holidays, whether volunteering at a food bank, participating in an adopt-a-family program, or helping buy or wrap gifts for others. If your family already does one of these traditions, consider adding a second or third! You'll never regret helping more people #You Shop, We Donate.
Adopt New Ways to Celebrate Christmas
Everyone celebrates the holiday season differently, and many meaningful traditions are celebrated by different cultures in other parts of the world. This season, learn about your family's heritage and adopt a few customs for your celebration. Of course, you never want to appropriate another culture, but adding a respectful celebration to your holiday plans can be fun and meaningful. For example, take the time to learn the story of Hanukkah and make latkes together as a family, or celebrate your Italian heritage by hosting your first-ever Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.
Play a New Christmas Game
When the weather outside is frightful, finding enough indoor activities to keep the family entertained can be challenging. Of course, you've heard of White Elephant gift exchanges (also known as Yankee Swap), but there are other fun holiday-themed games you can introduce to the family this year.
A favorite is Pass the Present or the Left-Right game. Here's how it works: Everyone brings a small, funny gift (set a low-dollar limit) and wraps it however they like. Then, everyone sits around a table with their gift in front of them as a poem is read out loud (her's one we like). Every time the word 'right' is read, you pass the gift in front of you to the right. You pass to the left when the word 'left' is said. At the end, you unwrap the gift in front of you and guess who brought the gift.
Give Practical Gifts
While it may be fun to pick out luxury gifts, if finances are tight, it may be that your recipient would much rather receive a gift that's helpful to them. This year, consider a new way to celebrate Christmas. Rather than guess what people want or will use, ask your family members to make a wish list of practical gifts instead. Consider a meal kit subscription service to reduce grocery bills, household tools or kitchen appliances that need to be replaced, or gift cards to save money at most-frequented stores.
Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way, Santa Claus is coming along riding down this way!
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