Don't let Santa Claus be the only one who is holly and jolly during the Christmas season.
In the months leading up to Christmas, we marvel at the beautiful Autumn leaves, eat pumpkin pie, and snuggle with our loved ones under cozy blankets in anticipation of winter. We count our blessings and spend time with our loved ones around the Thanksgiving dinner table. The Friday after Thanksgiving, however, we move right into Christmas. Conversations with loved ones are replaced by the hustle and bustle of shopping trips, addressing envelopes, and adorning Christmas trees. The stress of the season can make us anything but holly and jolly. You may wake up dreading the to-do list of the day.
One of the reasons Santa Claus is so popular is that he is based on Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a real man known for giving gifts to the poor and generously donating his time and resources. Our attitude may be anything but generous when our overpacked schedules are filled with completing Christmas tasks rather than enjoying the holiday spirit.
Let's check out six ways to boost the holly and jolly in your daily routine:
1. Sing Christmas Carols
Starting December 1st (and sometimes earlier), certain radio stations devote their entire schedule to playing Christmas carols. While listening to carols might remind you of the season ahead, they might also put you in the Christmas spirit. Research the lyrics of your favorite Christmas carols. Print off the lyrics and put them in prominent places in your home. Whenever you see these lyrics, hum them to yourself to keep your mind centered and remember the reason for the holiday. Seek to understand the meaning behind the lyrics. Many lyrics give a theological or historical account of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem. Reflecting on Christ each day will help you see the Christmas season as a happy occasion rather than a busy one.
2. Send Extra Christmas Cards
You may have an established list of people to whom you send Christmas cards each year. This list is most likely based on who sends you one in return. While it is nice for a friend to reciprocate the gesture, it is indeed better to give than to receive. Search on Facebook for your friends whom you were once close with but no longer keep in touch. Ask them for their address and tell them you'll send a Christmas card. Expect nothing in return, and send it with no strings attached. You can even send a brief note highlighting the year's achievements and joys. Spreading Christmas cheer by sending a Christmas card can show someone you care without having to spend much money at all.
Some people who own their homes have a certain style with which they decorate. They may limit their Christmas decorations to only those in gold or silver or limit the number of decorations for fear of being too flashy or extreme. Make a goal to double the number of decorations this year. Place pinecones in decorative bowls on your dining room table, or wrap your stair banisters in garland with pretty red bows. Decorations are a daily reminder of what season you are celebrating. Christmas can be a time when you thrive, not merely survive. Decorating for the holiday will help you maintain the reason for the season and serve as a reminder of not only the material gifts you'll receive but also the gift of family and friends.
3. Collect Gifts from Your Childhood
Recall your favorite Christmas. What made it so special? Did you receive a gift you had wanted all year long? Was it the magic and wonder of experiencing Christmas as a child? In this tough economy, you may miss the simplistic years as a child playing with toys and having nothing to worry about throughout the day. Designate a corner of your basement or another part of a room you often visit to recall some of the best gifts you ever received as a child. Enjoy a new hobby and collect the toys you received at Christmas as a child. Your mind will flood with happy Christmas memories as you receive those toys again. Put them where you can see them and remember the simplistic joy of opening presents on Christmas morning.
You can take it one step further and collect those toys all year round. This will keep placing more holly and jolly in your daily routine because a hobby like this that doesn't break the bank will not only help you recall treasured memories but also give you a creative outlet after a long day at work.
4. Make Gift-Giving Extra Special
One of the most stressful parts of Christmas may be shopping due to the extensive wish list and financial burden. You may not have extra dollars to allocate toward gifts this year. But it doesn't mean you can't make gift-giving extra special. Choose one gift for each person on your list based on a fact about them only you know. Relish in the expression on their face when they open your gift. If you are used to spending large amounts of money on Christmas, which places undue stress on you, simply let your loved ones know you cannot afford to do that this Christmas. Inform them you will be giving them something special from the heart. Instead of competing with other gift-givers by giving an expensive gift, you can give them a gift that they cherish for many years simply because it came from a deep knowledge of who they are and what they like and dislike.
Follow up with your gift receivers after the holiday. You may enjoy giving gifts more because it takes more thought to get one special gift than it is to get the most expensive or several less useful gifts.
5. Memorialize Lost Loved Ones
Christmas may be difficult because you've recently lost a loved one who will not be with you this holiday. This may cause you to ponder the holiday season with dread and despair. But your lost loved one would want you to enjoy the holiday. Create a memento of something that reminds you of your lost loved one. Create a photo collage, frame a special picture, or clean off a fireplace mantle and decorate it with your loved ones’ favorite things. Your loved one may not be able to be there physically, but they can be there in spirit. Take a moment on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to look at the mementos you created. Reflect on your favorite Christmas memories with them. If your lost loved one still has a Christmas gift from years past, give that gift away to someone you love and ask them to remember your loved one when they use it. Even though you miss your lost family members, you can still celebrate the holiday with them by sharing your favorite memories.
Don't let Santa Claus be the only one who is holly and jolly during the Christmas season. By integrating the steps outlined above, you can put more holly and jolly in your daily routine and enjoy the Christmas season like never before.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/lovleah
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.