The holidays mean a lot of different things to different people. Some - not me - thrive on the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Those people love to bake cookies all night long and make their own ornaments. Their tables are perfect for Christmas dinner precisely at 1:00 and everyone gets the perfect present because they shopped early and "got all of the best deals!"
Well, good for them. Meanwhile others like me are wondering what the three most wonderful people in my life want; what the boss will appreciate; where will we even find a tree and if we'll find the ornaments together and in one piece. By the time the actual holiday arrives, we're a wreck.
So what can we do to put a little twinkle in our Christmas merry: Try these fun and, maybe a little goofy, ways to put a smile on your face over the holiday.
1. Que the Music
Sometimes we avoid the holidays until the last minute then we feel we are pushed into the holiday spirit by force. Want something different? Check out some old school Motown music. Or get in the spirit with a little Frank Sinatra Christmas. What ever your grove I'm sure you find some holiday music that gets you in the spirit.
2. Go on a Christmas Show Watching Binge
The holiday shows that we grew up on and watched in fascination are still being aired today. Pop some popcorn and send yourself back through time. Just don't shoot someone's eye out. Who gets that reference?
3. Get in the Kitchen
Better yet, try some simple cookie recipes and make your own unique cookies while those shows are on. Don't bake the same ole same ole, show your creative side.
4. Find a Children's Christmas Play
Most schools and churches put on a play or program. Check out what your local area is putting out and make yourself part of the festivities. Watch the kids struggle and the teachers squirm as they try to make the evening go smoothly.
5.The Library Needs Readers
Stop by the library and offer to read a Christmas story to the mid morning 3 year old visitors. Nothing brings the meaning of Christmas home like seeing the joy in the face of a child. Or volunteer to be a Santa's helper and dress up like an elf for all the kids.
6. Lend a Hand
The power of giving and volunteering - of seeing those in need get a hand up - can be both inspiring and rejuvenating. It's hard to feel sorry for ourselves and our trivial problems when we see that there are those who need us to be there for them. Find a center that will welcome your smiling, compassionate face.
7. "O Christmas Tree"
Sounds old and cheesy, but when you go in with a group to sing Christmas Carols in a Nursing Home or a Hospital and you see the joy on those faces, you'll have a whole new appreciation for family and Christmas.
8. Find an Old Fashioned Way to Celebrate
There are still horse-drawn buggies, hay or sleigh rides or old time theme parks that show you how it was done "back in the day." An individual or the whole family can take a break from technology to see how people lived before Walmart.
9. Cut Back on Work
The holidays are a time to enjoy being together, not piling on the responsibilities and the guilt until all the merry is gone. Order take out or go out to a holiday meal. Have a duty-free Holiday celebration with pizza or Chinese food. There's no kitchen clean up and dinner's a little different from the same holiday fare.
Whether it's a dozen endless Christmas parties, bedding down 10 incoming family members or cooking for 30 people, this is the time of year to celebrate, appreciate, and rejuvenate. Promise yourself that you will be thankful and set aside the day-to-day differences (that includes politics this year) with all friends and family. Put a smile on your face and a resolve to appreciate all that you have before you.
These simple acts bring on new meaning during the season of love and giving. Do what it takes to get in the spirit and enjoy the time you have around friends and family. Give yourself permission to enjoy the break and the time away from the daily grind.
Have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.