Let’s face it.. 2020 hasn’t been the happiest or most festive year… to say the least. Not only has it been a rough year, but many people tend to get seasonal depression during the holidays for a variety of reasons. Even though it’s the “happiest time of the year,” sometimes it’s hard to get into the spirit. For me, I tend to get overwhelmed with making gifts for others. I love to handmake gifts, but I get stressed about having everything done in time for Christmas. I also tend to rush because I either don’t start on time or just try to do too many gifts. What I’ve learned is that I just need to slow down and make sure the gifts I do get done are perfect. It doesn’t matter the number of gifts, but how much heart I put into them. If I finish one amazing gift instead of five decent ones, that is okay. For you, there are probably other things that get you stressed around the holidays, and that is totally fine! Well, I am here to help. So, use these ideas about getting into the holiday spirit for yourself, or share them with friends who need a little pick me up!
1. Listen to Christmas songs
Some people listen to Christmas songs all year round, however, I prefer to listen to them after Thanksgiving. In my opinion, if you listen to Christmas music 365 days a year, it takes away the value. It is meant to be something you enjoy during the holidays, and supposed to be special. I love the happiness these songs bring to my life! What I love about music in general is that you can listen to it almost wherever you go whether it be in the car, in the shower, while wrapping gifts, etc! Christmas music is a sure way to reduce your stress and improve your mood. Plus, I think it might be the only playlist that is ALWAYS singing about something happy. Here is a short Christmas playlist I made to get you started! Feel free to listen to mine or make your own, and tag it in the comments.
EmmaGrace’s Holiday Playlist
2. Go shopping for others (and yourself!)
Maybe all you need to get ready for the holidays is to start shopping for Christmas gifts. I know that can be stressful for some people, but there are many ways to make it more fun. If you hate going to the store, you can online shop, and most places are doing curbside pick up right now as well. If it is the money aspect of shopping, there are many ways to give a great Christmas while staying within budget. Check out “December Spreads” for a budgeting bullet journal spread (I also posted the picture below) or read this blog! Another great idea is to handmake gifts, which people always appreciate. Also, don’t forget to get yourself a little something while you are out there shopping for others! You deserve to treat yourself. Plus, the earlier you start buying/making gifts means the earlier you can get in the Christmas spirit and the earlier it’s done. When all the presents are under the tree, I promise it will be a big weight off your shoulders!
3. Bake some holiday desserts
This is by far my favorite one because I love desserts… all kinds of desserts! Baking is amazing because you get to have fun of making it and eating it after. You can even share your creations with friends and family. To be honest, it feels amazing when people tell you how delicious your dessert was. My favorite thing to do is make and decorate sugar cookies, which I do for almost every holiday. A few other ideas are:
- Chocolate covered Oreos
- Brownie Christmas trees: bake brownies in a round cake pan and cut them into triangles. Then, decorate like a Christmas tree with green frosting. I did this in the picture below with this kit, but you can make it yourself with brownie mix, green frosting, and some sprinkles
- Red Velvet Cake balls
- Cranberry scone
- Gingerbread cookies
- Caramel apple pie
- Peppermint bark (one of my favorites!)
- Wreath cookies
- Peanut butter snowball
- Peanut butter blossoms
- AND so much more!!
4. Watch Christmas movies and snuggle by the fire
I have en entire list of Christmas movies I want to watch before the season is over! There is nothing better than a feel good movie when you want to get into the holiday spirit. Plus, if you can get cozy by the fire (and maybe drink some hot chocolate), it makes the experience even better. Christmas movies almost always have a happy ending that will boost your mood for the entire day. Whether you choose to watch one Christmas movie a week or one a day is up to you! I love to watch kid movies as well as the adult comedies, so here are some of my favorites for every age group! Or, just throw on the Hallmark Channel!
|Charlie Brown Christmas||Elf||Let it Snow||Office Christmas Party|
|Polar Express||The Grinch||Four Christmases||The Night Before|
|Muppet Christmas Carol||Home Alone||National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation||Bad Santa|
|Santa Buddies||A Christmas Story||Daddy’s Home||A Bad Mom’s Christmas|
|Miracle on 34th street||It’s a Wonderful Life||Scrooged||Love Actually|
5. Drink hot cocoa and cookies
Honestly, I love hot chocolate and cookies all throughout the year but they taste even better around the holidays. A warm cup of hot cocoa can make you feel all nice and cozy from the cold outside! A lot of places are selling hot chocolate bombs right now, which are balls of chocolate with hot chocolate mix inside them. When you pour hot milk over them, they slowly open up and release all the hot cocoa. They are somewhat expensive, so you can make them at home with this simple recipe! Pair it with a holiday cookie (maybe even a fire and a movie) and you will instantly feel more in the spirit.
6. Decorate the house (and a gingerbread house)
When you are surrounded by happiness in your home, how could you not feel happy yourself? So, put up that tree and the lights and all the decorations you have! I usually do this right after Thanksgiving so I have the house decorated for the entire month of December. Something that can really help is making your decorations meaningful (not just buying crap like I tend to do). For example, some people get a new ornament every time they go to a new place, some people collect nativity scenes, etc. That way when you decorate for the holiday season you can reflect on some amazing memories as well. Plus, nothing is more fun (and messy) than making a gingerbread house. You can make it yourself or have competitions with the rest of the family. Not only is it fun to make, but it also serves as a great decoration, such as a centerpiece on the table. Just make sure your cat doesn’t eat it… I have a naughty kitty at home! Here are pictures of mine below!!
7. Make gifts and cards for others
I love to make gifts for my loved ones because, as you know form this site, I love anything creative. Plus, it is a cheaper alternative that shows you really care for them. Anyone can go out and buy a present, but handmade gifts always come right from the heart. There are so many gift ideas online, or you can just draw/paint something! As you know, I am all about being creative. Making gifts will not only make others happy but can also help release your stress. So, take your mind off everything going on in the world, and just create. If you don’t have the time to make a lot of handmade gifts, start with a few cards. There are so many simple card ideas out there, and all you really need is paper, markers, and some scissors! After Christmas, I will post a few of the cards I made this year. Gifts.com has some great ideas for DIY Christmas cards!
8. Read classic Christmas books
Before he passed, my grandpa used to read me ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve. That was an amazing tradition that I looked forward to every year. Even now, I still love to read that book to remind me of him, and because it is a great, light hearted story. However, there are so many more classics you can read just for a little pick me up. Most of them are picture books that don’t take very long but can put you in a better mood for the rest of the day. Instead of waking up early to read the negativity on the news, read a Christmas story! Here are some books I found on Amazon:
- Elf: Illustrated Story
- The Night Before Christmas
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas
- ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
- Polar Express
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- The Snowman’s Song
- A Dog’s Perfect Christmas
- Never Let a Unicorn Meet a Reindeer
9. Take a tour of the lights
One thing that can really get people down during winter is the fact that it gets dark so early. It barely hits 6 o’clock and looks like it’s midnight outside. However, Christmas lights always make the night feel so much better. To get rid of the seasonal blues, take a slow tour around the neighborhood, or do a Christmas scavenger hint, like the one from my post, “Another Christmas Blog.” The lights can really “light up your life”…. ha! I always try to find the house with the most lights and blow ups. There is one house in my city with over 140 decorations. Besides houses, there are many other places around the city that usually decorate for the holidays, such as downtown areas, libraries, etc.
10. DIY ornaments
Have you ever made ornaments in the past, or do you usually buy ones for the tree? Like I mentioned before, some people buy ornaments from every place they visit, and some people just collect them. However, making DIY ornaments can be a cheap alternative., and you can do it with the whole family. Plus, you can make them into whatever you would like. You could make a snowman themed tree, or a blue themed tree. There are so many types of ornaments to make, from the glass globes to a felt Olaf! There is seriously nothing better than a craft to get into the holiday spirit (of course I would say that:)). Country Living has a great blog of “72 DIY Christmas Ornaments” here! Also, I had an idea for a tree: you could make a few ornaments every year, and then have sections of the tree for each year. For example, the top of the tree might be from 2010, and by the time you get to the bottom, you are at 2020. You could use homemade and store-bought ornaments for this tree!
11. Do something for others
When you do something for others, it can put them into a Christmas spirit as well! You can start a chain of awesomeness. You know how amazing it feels when someone does a kind gesture for you, so why not give back the love? Whether it be holding a door or making a donation, every small action counts. For example, the holidays are a great time to get rid of items you dont use anymore and donate them to families in need. There are many places out there that will take gently used toys and give them to families who are struggling for Christmas. Chances are if you start helping others during the holidays, it may turn into a habit! Here are a few of the many ways to do something for others during the holidays (this is a broad list, but some ideas may be hard with COVID this year):
- Start a toy/can drive in your neighborhood
- Adopt a family
- Volunteer at a retirement home
- Serve meals at a soup kitchen
- Volunteer at the animal shelter
- Find virtual organizations that need help
- Grocery shop: there are plenty of people who are uncomfortable leaving their houses right now. You could do their grocery shopping so they don’t have to! If you have a neighborhood group site, this would be a great place to find someone.
- Put lights up for someone who is struggling to do it themselves
If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments!! Happy Holidays!