15 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season
This year Christmas just hasn't felt Christmas-sy. Now with just a few days to go, you're feeling the Christmas blues. What's a person to do? Here are 15 things anyone can do to invite the Christmas spirit into their home WITHOUT dragging out all the decorations or spending hundreds of dollars at the mall. So forget the pressures of too many holiday parties, countless presents that need wrapping, and just connect. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Waft in the smells of the season with Wassail. Wassail is just a fancy name for juice heated up with some delicious spices. Mix together some apple juice, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, and a tiny bit of nutmeg. Add in a little bit of pineapple juice if you have it, and simmer on your stovetop until the smell is in the air. Wassail is great for sniffles and will create an inviting scent of Christmas in your home.
2. Turn on the music. Plug in your Ipod or your stereo, or even your radio, and play some low-key or upbeat Christmas music. Whether its jazz, or gospel, or even muzak, just choose the music that gets you in the mood. Turn it on in the car and in the kitchen, and sing along!
3. Bake something that means Christmas to you. Baking is relatively inexpensive and a holiday tradition you can do in one afternoon. Does your family usually make fudge or gingerbread or pound cake? Or do you have some other holiday recipe you enjoy making? Baking will fill your home with the scents and memories of pleasant Christmases past. If you're not in the mood to go all Martha, then use a box mix, or even buy the item at the grocery store and put it on a plate with some tisssue paper under it to dress it up.
4. Pop some popcorn and have a Christmas movie night. Watch the Charlie Brown Christmas movie or It's a Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Story. Choose your holiday favorite, and if you have children, be sure to snuggle together and turn off all your other electronic devices!
5. Send out a Christmas letter online this year. Don't worry about addressing Christmas cards and sending them through snail mail. Use your favorite digital images from this year, and be sure to include a link to your Hubpages account! You can also upload your Christmas photos to a blog account, a gmail group, or a Smilebox book. There are so many choices--pick one and focus on the positive memories you want to share with your friends and family.
6. Look at the lights. Pack up your family and take a drive to look at everyone else's Christmas decorations. Enjoy the fruits of other people's labor. We took a drive around our neighborhood and discovered a hand-made sign for a Christmas Village Exhibit. We followed the signs to a fantastic Christmas village display in a stranger's garage. We were one of hundreds of people who viewed this magical creation including an elaborate Christmas village with hundreds of houses and other miniature figurines with moving mechanical parts, lights, and fake snow. The person who designed this wonderful display said she worked every day since October for 4 hours a day to set it up. And all we had to do was get in the car! Who knows what treasures you will find in your neck of the woods! In some areas, Christmas light displays are put on by parks, colleges, or museums.
7. Play in the snow. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area destined for a white Christmas, strap on your boots, overcoat, and mittens and get outside. You can sled, build a snowman, or throw snowballs at your friends or family. When you're finished, go inside and drink some hot cocoa and eat a cookie, or have a warm cup of chicken soup.
8. Go to a free Christmas concert. During the holiday season, free concerts are just everywhere. Whether your aunt's niece is going to be playing clarinet in the high school band or the Philharmonic is playing a free concert at the town center, go and be with others who are enjoying the music, and try to really appreciate the performers' efforts.
9. Attend a religious service. Do you find the commercial focus of Christmas is contributing to your down mood? Religious services have a way of focusing on the symbolic and sacred parts of Christmas, and create a spirit of reverence and appreciation in those that attend.
10. Perform a small act of service for someone less fortunate. There is nothing quite so effective as putting your focus on the problems of others and putting their needs before your own when you are feeling the Christmas blues. Purchase a small gift for a child on an angel tree in the mall or at your church, shovel the snow from an elderly neighbor's sidewalk, or write a letter of appreciation or put together a care package to a military service member who is far away from home and family this Christmas season. No matter that it is going to arrive late, they will still appreciate the sentiment. Do you live near an Aldi store? Save someone a quarter and give them your cart!
11. Reconnect with old friends. Pick up the phone and call a friend you've been thinking about, but haven't had time to catch up with. Focus on what is happening in their life instead of yours and express how much you appreciate their friendship. Your friend will be delighted to be the center of attention and you will end your phone call with a feeling of peace and satisfaction.
12. Play with the toys. Get down on the floor with your children and give them a full two-hours of your time this Christmas morning. Set up the castle or the train set, or play blocks or Monopoly with your kids.
13. Create a worry-free zone. Commit just for one day not to worry about the problems that are plaguing you. Set your worries aside, knowing that you can return to them tomorrow. Everyone else is taking a holiday, give yourself permission to enjoy yours.
14. Decorate one tiny room in your house--The hall entry way or the front door or even the bathroom. Buy a great-smelling Christmas-scented candle or a silly dancing Christmas toy and enjoy it for a day or two.
15. Write a poem. Think of someone who has made an impact on your life, either someone who is in your life, or who used to be. Write a poem about them, honoring who they are, how they touched your life, and what they mean to you.
16. Tell someone they are loved. This one is a bonus! My friend is in his mid-eighties. He often stops strangers in the grocery store to ask them if anyone has told them they love them. Then he says, "Now you have, I love you." Maybe this is one of the special privileges of being elderly. Give it a try.
© 2009 Carolyn Augustine
Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on January 05, 2012:
Thanks sagecarter, that sounds like something I would enjoy reading. I hope your Christmas was peaceful this year!
sagecarter from Upstate New York on December 27, 2011:
Some great ideas here! I just wrote something on beating the post-Christmas blues, with a few similar suggestions. Nice piece.
Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on November 24, 2010:
Thanks very much writer83. Merry Christmas and enjoy your concert!
writer83 from Cyber Space on November 24, 2010:
wannabwestern, i like your ways and I need to agree with Patty that watching Free Concert during Christmas is really cool. I actually love doing it. Every Christmas you will see a lot of people smiling and it makes me feel that we have a wonderful world :)
Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on August 28, 2010:
Thanks Train Set, we love Christmas but some years it has been more difficult to get into the holiday spirit than others. I think Midnight Masses are a lovely Christmas tradition too. Thanks for your comment!
Train Set on August 27, 2010:
There are some nice ideas here on what to do over the christmas break to enhance the experience and to make it more special. We always try to decorate the house and spend plenty of time with family. Although not the most religious of people I have been to a couple of midnight masses that are lovely occasions that focus on the (as you say) symbolic and human aspects of what christmas is about. Just to add that is an incredibly beautiful photo at the top of the page with the snowbound field and old barn.
Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on August 02, 2009:
Thank you Patty. Musical performances showcase some of the best of religions. I have attended a variety of faiths too and enjoyed them all.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 01, 2009:
Free concerts are great at Christmas time, no matter how one feels! And I like to visit a variety of religious services and interact with people form other faiths and demoninations. We have a Ukrainian/Serbian Othodox church with candlelight services and many small bells, Greek Orthodox, a variety of synagogues of the Jewish faith celebrating Hannakah, and music and performances by people of all other types of religions as well.