My son started celebrating Christmas early this year, trying to convince people to “Get Their Christmas On” long before Thanksgiving. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I could see how happy he became with this new focus on the holidays and their meaning.
As for me, I realized that I had damped down my holiday spirit during the years I lived apart from my family. I always knew I would fly out to see them, but also used that as an excuse to not decorate my house or get too caught up in things at home.
This year feels different. My grandkids insisted I get a Christmas tree and decorated it for me. I found a few holiday decorations at flea markets and craft events and next thing I knew, my heart was opening to the joy of this time of year.
Small Town Holidays
My new small town does a lot to keep us in a jolly mood. They keep us pretty busy with mini holiday parades, high school concerts, church plays, contests, and events with vendors and homemade crafts.
My favorite thing so far was the Madrigal event at the high school. When we arrived all of the students were in period costumes and strolling the halls, caroling and playing instruments. My granddaughter Rebecca was one of them, which made it extra special. It felt like being in another time and immersed in holiday cheer. They fed us, put on a great play, and surrounded us with beautiful musical performances. We ended the night with everyone holding candles and singing Silent Night. What could be better than that?
Getting Into the Holiday Spirit
So now I want to spread some holiday cheer and I thought you might enjoy some ideas for how we can all immerse ourselves in the joy of the holidays and share that feeling with others. Here is what I have come up with so far.
- Snuggle under blankets and watch holiday movies – Netflix has quite a few.
- Turn on the holiday tunes and don’t be afraid to sing along.
- Bring special holiday treats in to work to share with your co-workers.
- Save some of those treats, or make more for the staff and residents at a local nursing facility.
- Send handwritten letters from the heart to the people in your life.
- Go Christmas caroling
- Donate presents for children in need.
- Be extra nice to the next cashier who helps you.
- Drink eggnog or eat traditional holiday treats.
- Give the gift of time.
- Decorate your home.
- Call an old friend or someone you haven’t connected with in awhile.
- Become a Secret Santa and give a special gift to someone worse off than you.
- Buy coffee for a stranger.
- Go to a church holiday service.
- Leave a nice tip.
- Offer to babysit so overwhelmed parents can have a night out.
- Bake cookies or holiday favorites and share them with others.
- Throw a holiday party.
- Do something nice for your neighbors like shovel snow or put their trash cans away.
- Buy grocery store gift certificates and give them to people experiencing tough times.
- Practice random acts of kindness where ever you go.
- Carry gift cards, money, or small gifts you can hand out when something inspires you.
- Participate in food drives or set one up yourself.
- Volunteer – there are so many opportunities and needs at this time of year.
- Watch children open presents.
- Listen deeply to someone who needs to talk.
- Watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or another holiday favorite.
- Pay for someone’s meal or groceries.
- Leave Christmas trees on the doorsteps of people who can’t afford them. Ring the bell and run.
One of my clients (you know who you are) joked about wanting to help me write books that start, “1001 Ways to…” Based on the 30 items here, she may have over-estimated how many ideas I have in my brain.
But, I bet you have some great ideas too and I would love to hear about them. Or maybe, you have a meaningful story to share. It’s as simple as leaving a comment below. Who knows? If we pool all our ideas together, we just might hit 1001.