Getting into the Christmas Spirit 2011 edition

It can sometimes be difficult to get into the spirit of things at Christmas. It might be that you feel as though you’ve got so much to get done, and stress overwhelms your ability to step back and just enjoy yourself. You might have had a rough year, and disappointment and rejection has tainted your world view. Whether you’re feeling a bit blah or bah-humbug, there are plenty of ways to give yourself a little dose of holiday cheer. Whether you choose to do something special for somebody else, re-visit some of your favourite childhood traditions or get creative and crafty, there’s sure to be something on this list to re-ignite your Christmas fire.

– Write a Christmas card for your neighbours. It’s a bit sad that most people never speak to the people who live close by, so make it your mission to remedy that this Christmas. You don’t have to be best friends with them, just write a nice message in a card and slip it into their mail box. You might also like to invite them over for supper one night if you’re feeling very festive.

– Spend an afternoon with some children. There’s nothing quite like seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes. If you don’t have kids of your own, hijack some of your younger relatives or your friend’s kids. Spend the afternoon making gingerbread people, decorating a tree and watching Christmas cartoons. As an added bonus, their parents will probably be truly grateful to you for giving them a few hours to themselves.

– Volunteer. Loads of people volunteer around the holidays, because they have more free time and good will. Although this is fantastic, it means that organizations that rely on volunteers tend to be lacking helpers in the middle of the year. Why not postpone your Christmas helping until April or May? Write it on your calendar and spend some time at the beginning of the year researching where you’d like to help out. You’ll be able to offer help to someone in need, as well as shoring up volunteer organizations during the time when they’re most likely to need a hand.

– Curb nasty thinking. Every time you have a negative or judgemental thought, challenge it. Even if you never say these things out aloud, your negative thinking is poisoning you from inside, slowly making you bitter and cynical. Ask yourself, is what I’m thinking true? Why am I thinking this? Put yourself on the spot and don’t let yourself get away with being needlessly nasty.

– Make your own Christmas decorations. Sure, it’s easier to buy a bunch of decorations from the store, but it’s so much more fun to make your own. Each piece will be totally unique and they’ll give your place a more homely feel.

– Donate money to a blogger you love. When I thought about it, I realised that I haven’t bought a single magazine this year. That’s because blogs have replaced magazines as my source of fashion inspiration and interesting reads. Most bloggers work their backsides off and never get paid for their work. And blogging is hard. This year, I’ve decided to throw a couple of dollars to each of the bloggers I love best, to show them how valuable their work is and how much I appreciate them. Many blogs have ‘donate’ buttons in their sidebars which allow you to make a nominal donation. If you don’t see a button, why not buy an e-book or craft item from one of your favourite bloggers? They’d make great gifts, I’m sure.

– Invite some of your musical friends to your house for a Christmas sing-along. Get them to bring their instruments, make some snacks and have a jolly time belting out your favourite holiday tunes.

– Write your own Christmas story. It could be an epic tome or a simple children’s fable. Type it up and print it out. Draw your own illustrations. Get it bound. Put it on your coffee table and flip through it when you’re feeling blue.

– Clean out your wardrobe and donate your old clothes to charity.

– Bake a batch of cookies or sweets. Wrap them in little cellophane packages. Now, give them to all the people you see regularly who make your life easier. Give one to your favourite waitress, that cheery bus driver, the clerk at your favourite store or the old lady you see walking her dog every morning. Show your appreciation.

– Buy a set of Karma cards from Sarah of Yes and Yes. These cards have inspirational quotes on them, and you can distribute them at will. Slip them into random letterboxes, slide them into library books, give them out to down-trodden commuters on the train. They’re sure to brighten somebody’s day.

– Have a marathon of your favourite childhood holiday films.

– Wear a Santa hat or a pair of elf ears to work.

– Be thankful for what you have. Take stock of all the blessings you have in your life. Write a gratitude list or take part in Things I Love Thursday.

– Hold a Christmas party at your house. It can be an epic blow-out or an intimate supper with friends. Cook dinner for everyone, play board games, exchange gifts and drink Christmas-themed cocktails. Whatever you do, revel in the opportunity to have fun with your favourite people.

– Smile. At everyone.

For a longer list of activities to get you feeling all warm and fuzzy this Christmas, check out this post I wrote last year about Non-Cheesy Ways to Get Into the Christmas Spirit.

How do you get into the swing of Christmas?

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