Are you ready to host your annual Christmas celebration? Do you have all your gifts purchased? Are you baking now so you donít have to do it at the last minute? Is your tree up? The to do list for Christmas is often a month long, but as working parents we tend to put things off until the last minute, donít we?
I learned a long time ago to do my Christmas shopping through-out the year, my holiday baking in the beginning of December (freezing and refrigerating what I can), my holiday shopping the second week of Christmas, and my decorating when the mood hits. (It just isnít fun to force decorating a tree or house when you arenít in the Christmas spirit: it just leads to fights, depression, and spoils the spirit of the holiday.)
Which brings me to a very good question: how do you enjoy the Christmas season when life has knocked you down and you just canít get into the spirit of things?
The first step in enjoying the holiday season is to realize that despite the many hardships youíve endured in the past, or the ones youíre currently going through, life doesnít stand still. Youíll still have to deal with those issues, but itís okay to take a time out from the craziness of your life and just enjoy the joy that often comes with the twinkling of Christmas lights, the peace that enters your heart at the sound of Christmas carols, and the smiles that just canít help themselves as you watch little children marvel at the miracles of Christmas.
Once youíve released yourself to enjoy the little pleasures of the holiday, itís time to get yourself in the mood for Christmas. And here are some tried and true tips to help you find the Christmas spirit:
Get pampered. Start your distressing by getting a massage, a pedicure, a manicure or some other pampering service.
Play music. Upbeat, fun, energetic Christmas music always has a way to put you in the Christmas mood.
Watch a movie. Just one Christmas movie a day: start Dec 1 and continue until Christmas Eve.
Read your favorite Christmas story. Donít have one? Check out The Legend of the Three Trees.
Dress for the season. Make it a point to dress in bright, cheery colors for the month of December. If you normally donít dress up, take this opportunity to dress up each day of the month.
Get a haircut. Sometimes a new hairdo can lift your spirits by making you feel pretty.
Play Santa. Go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of gifts for little children then make an impromptu trip to your local shelter or childrenís hospital.
Buy a Christmas Meal. When youíre doing your holiday shopping, buy a meal for a needy family. Many grocery stores make it easy by providing you with a holiday sack filled with goodies, or a special box theyíll fill once you pay for it.
Bake Cookies. Bake a batch of holiday cookies, line them up on cute Christmas plates, cover with decorative plastic wrap, and take them to your neighbors.
Make Christmas Cards. Hand-decorate Christmas cards with a message of Godís love and then stop by your local old folks home and deliver them to the residents. Many elderly people, in these homes, donít get visits from family members and could use a little holiday cheer.
Go Christmas Caroling. Whether you go with a group of people, just your family, or by yourself, spread holiday cheer by singing door-to-door. And if youíre really brave, include a giving can where residents can put in spare change and you can donate to a local charity.
Host a Christmas Party. You donít have to go all out, just invite a few friends over to share some egg nog, a few snacks, and chit chat. Turn mundane tasks into something fun by making it a theme party: holiday baking, gift wrapping, gift making, or tree trimming. Or host a gift exchange.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure itís something that will make you feel good about yourself and the season. If the event you plan makes you feel stressed or burdened with responsibility, itís not the right event for you.