Snow, Santa, Jingle Bells. I love Christmas – until the season is in full swing. And then suddenly, I’ve become a Scrooge, Grinch and Hater. So overwhelmed by how quickly it descends and all there is do, that the joy is sucked right out of me. The smell of peppermint, triggering the olfactory Christmas memories, makes me yearn for May and honeysuckle before the first gift is given.
This year, I really worked on finding ways to maintain the spark and also focus on experiences, rather than things. Here are a few of the strategies that really helped this year.
Make a Christmas Calendar
Planning the fun things I wanted to do to ensured I wouldn’t forget or skip them altogether. I included all of the traditions, like our annual Christmas tree hunt, and also simple things, like baking and watching favorite Christmas movies. I also included the big weekend events, like my annual trip to the Franklin Christmas Parade and Dickens of a Christmas. I made sure to leave white space, but planned enough to sprinkle holiday fun throughout the season.
Commit to Giving
You don’t have to give a lot to give. I committed to giving or donating every time I was presented an opportunity. between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every bell-ringing Salvation Army volunteer, every “round-up” request at the register, every flyer in the mail. Small amounts, sure, but spread across the season, it allowed feeling good about saying “yes”.
Whether it’s part of the Christmas Calendar, or a last minute opportunity, I made sure to attend Christmas events. The city tree lighting, the local elementary school program with friends and parades.
Jeff loves to see presents under the tree, but now that the kids are older, the presents are smaller and fewer (but not cheaper!). So, I wrapped everything from the box of Captain Christmas Crunch to special candy bars, and filled the tree base with presents. It was silly and fun and I’ll probably do it again. Another plus, was going through some of the Christmas wrap I’ve had forever. Now I get to pick out some wrap for next year!