With the first snow upon us, I sit in my living room and look out the window. I inhale and exhale. Ah, life is good today because the Christmas tree is lit up, kids are napping and I’m writing to you. Hope you enjoy the “Ten Ways to Do Christmas Right This Year” that are presented below and I sincerely hope you cherish this entire Christmas season.
Maximize the traditions you love and cut out (or hire out) the ones you don’t.
Christmas traditions are numerous and there are new ones popping up each year. Don’t try to keep up! Just focus on the ones you and your family enjoy. Trying to do everything will just stress you out. For example, if you really don’t like making cookies, buy them! If you do like baking, make them! If you love Elf on the Shelf, by all means, live it up. If you don’t do the elf, do not think you not doing enough – you are just choosing other traditions you love.
Don’t overfill your calendar and under fill your soul.
Quality, not quantity brings happiness this holiday season when it comes to events and activities. Put items on your December calendar through a test. Does this event bring happiness to others or me? If not, cut it out. Also think about reconsidering your definition of “obligations”. Is the event truly an obligation, or have you just convinced yourself it is?
Make a phone call to someone you know who needs it.
I know you immediately thought of a person or two as you read that statement in bold. Yes – you did, you can picture their names or faces right now! Maybe it’s a grandparent that you haven’t talked to in a while (because you tell your mom to say hi to them every time for you). Maybe it’s a long lost friend that you didn’t have a falling out with, but time just got away from you. Maybe it’s your neighbor who you know lost his spouse this past year. Maybe it’s your niece. Call them. No do not text – call. Your voice on the phone showing you cared enough to call is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Teach your children about giving and make it a tangible experience.
One way to do this is by participating in the Lake Country Family Fun Toy, Book & Mitten Drive. Take your child(ren) on a special trip to pick out items for the drive and then go to one of the drop off locations to physically put the items in. You can read more about the drive and who the items go to here. This is just one example; there are many tangible giving opportunities.
Hand-write notes in your Christmas cards.
Well, although this is kind of a contradiction to #1 (because this may not be an enjoyable task) I think this experience (whether you like it or not) proves personal and beneficial in the long run. If your address list is too long, maybe it’s time for a reevaluation of it. If someone’s worth your card, they are worth a personal note. However, if you already sent yours out, think about it for next year or send out hand-written notes more throughout the year. When I receive hand-written notes (any time of the year), I am always truly moved.
Sing carols loudly all day long.
Okay, well not maybe exactly all day every day, but let yourself go a bit and sing. Whether you have a great voice or not, singing is good for the soul. Maybe you are in the mood for a thought-provoking rendition of Silent Night. Maybe you are in the mood for getting the sillies out with Rudolph the red nose reindeer. Here’s my holiday pump-up song of choice. [“Ha ha ha Ho Ho Ho… Four Wheel Driving in the Snow”] Just keep singing!
Try to view Christmas through the eyes of a child.
Look at life with wonder again. Look in awe over the first snowflake falling. Jump with joy when your favorite Christmas movie comes on TV. Dance in the kitchen with your children. Play with abandon in the snow and get messy painting home made Christmas gifts. Close your eyes and remember what made Christmas so magical for you when you were a child and don’t forget it just because you are an adult.
Be still and enjoy.
So much about Christmas is go, go, go. And if you aren’t careful, it’ll be gone, gone, gone, before you even stop to see the magic. So, grab a cup of coffee or cocoa and go sit in your living room and turn the lights down and your Christmas tree lights on. Then… Just. Be.
Be a light.
Light shines bright in the darkness. Light is contagious. The light draws us in. God put a star over Bethlehem the very first Christmas many years ago, and we still celebrate that star and “lights” each Christmas Holiday. But how can we be a light? We can be a light by not letting ourselves get away from the true meaning of Christmas. We can be a light by doing things that are out of our comfort zone. We can also be a light by making Christmas light up for someone else.
Remember what the season is really about and act intentionally.
There are so many ways we are set up to fail each Holiday Season. Not having enough, not doing enough or not being enough can cause feelings of guilt and stress. But, Christmas is not about having and doing. It’s about loving and giving. So, be intentional. Because if we aren’t, we may unintentionally find ourselves in a place we didn’t mean to be this season. And where we really want to be is in the midst of all the joy that the true meaning of Christmas brings.
Which number above speaks to you the most? Tell us below in the comments!