I don’t know about you, but for me, the older I get, the harder it is to make it “feel like Christmas!” But I wanted to share some practical tips that work for me, helping me get into the ‘Christmas spirit.’
1. CHRISTMAS TREE -I think it is safe to say that a Christmas tree helps A LOT when making your home feel like Christmas. Whether you prefer fake or real, decorating your tree together as a family is a fun tradition. Or hey, if that causes more stress, decorate it after the kids are asleep, or if you don’t have kids, pour yourself a glass of wine, put on the Christmas music, and go to town. We just started the tradition of actually going to a tree farm and picking out a tree. I enjoyed that!
2. CHRISTMAS MUSIC -I enjoy Christmas music. It helps solidify what time of year it is wherever we go. Sometimes certain Christmas songs can get old, I know. I tend to find different artists that do their own rendition of Christmas songs so that they feel fresh, but still have the same words and meaning. Pentatonix is definitely my favorite over the past couple years, especially since they are acapella and it reminds me of when I sang a lot of acapella songs in Chamber Choir back in high school.
3. CANDLES -Certain scents can remind you of Christmas or of that special time to back when you were a child. Sometimes the smell of Cranberry Chutney won’t make you think of Christmas if your house always use to smell like Apples at Christmas time. Out of all of your 5 senses, your sense of smell can trigger the most memories. I tend to put out certain scented candles, depending on the season.
4. NEW TRADITIONS -Creating a new family tradition is always great to do! My family and I started Advent this year. It consists of four weeks, starting on the Sunday closest to November 30th. Each Sunday one of the four candles will be lit, each candle has a different meaning and time of reflection. Now we have this beautiful table wreath, and this Sunday, all 4 will be lit.
5. CONCERTS/PLAYS/MOVIES -A lot of concerts, plays, and movies are going on during this time. I love the arts, and they do such a good job of capturing emotion and bringing you into the show. Most have a great message behind them and help remind us of this special time.
6. GET INVOLVED -Many organizations or churches are helping the community, especially during the holidays. Helping others truly is the spirit of Christmas. As much as commercialism has over taken the focus, the meaning behind Christmas is that we received the most precious gift, Jesus, and through that we give gifts to others.
7. TAKE HOLIDAY PICS – Of course I have to throw this in there… haha. But Christmas photos are great! They don’t always have to be stressful either, especially if you plan ahead. Picking what to wear tends to be the hardest part, but work with your photographer in advance, so that day goes smoother. Having great holiday photos helps you feel great about your Christmas cards and remember this special time.
8. FOOD -Can I get an Amen?! There are definitely holiday foods that help get you in the Christmas spirit. Christmas cookies are one of my favorites! Certain drinks help remind me, like hot cocoa with marsh mellows, cinnamon tea, or eggnog. Every culture is different, but incorporating your holiday dishes at parties are a great way to have people try something new.
9. CHECK YOUR HEART -As much as it is great to give gifts to others, we have to ask ourselves, “why am I doing this?” I think the motive behind why you give to others is very important. It seems that many give out of obligation, rather than the joy of giving. I personally won’t even bother getting myself all stressed out to try to get something for everyone because I feel like I “have to.” When you do anything, it is important to check your attitude while you are doing it.
10. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE -As much as Christmas time is great, especially if you have children (they help keep it fun), there are many who do not feel the same. The holidays remind many of the people that are lost. True emotions of grief rise, as they do not have their loved ones to share it with. Some maybe have loved ones still alive, but their is discourse in the family and they aren’t going to spend the holidays together.
Whatever the circumstance may be, it is important that we are sensitive to others struggling in this time and reach out to them. Maybe invite someone over for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or to a Christmas party or service. People are craving authentic community, and in this wifi era, we have to remember not to neglect talking and connecting with people in person.
Well I hope this may help some of you! I know it is hard when we get older and the stressors of life tend to way us down. Personally, Christmas is such a special reminder of what God has done for me. I am so grateful that His humility and sacrifice have given me so many great blessings, especially my family and friends. I am reminded of the greatest gift I can receive, not just at this time of year, but all year round; true Joy, Peace, and Faith.
P.S If you missed my previous blog post, and want tips on how to take better holiday photos click here.