In the midst of the craziness that is December 2021, it may be difficult to find any excitement or joy in the preparation for Christmas. We can get so caught up in the stresses of life and the busyness of the season that we forget to take time to enjoy the very things that make this time of year so special. Today, I’m offering a list of inexpensive and accessible activities and practices that encourage us to slow down and practice mindfulness, subsequently opening our eyes and our hearts to the magic of this Christmas season.
Listen to Christmas music throughout your day, in whatever style makes you happy. Classical or classic. Vintage or pop. Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Chris Botti. It doesn’t matter as long as it gets you in the Christmas spirit.
Engage in a daily advent meditation or take time to work through an advent calendar. Those few quiet minutes each day will give you an opportunity to reflect on what and why you are celebrating and will help to build anticipation for the arrival of Christmas day.
Watch a favorite Christmas movie/show or two or a Hallmark Christmas romance. At my house, must-see movies include White Christmas, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Make some handmade decorations for your home or your tree. My kids enjoyed stringing popcorn, but there are so many fun crafts to consider. Make paper chains, cut out snowflakes, bake gingerbread ornaments. It doesn’t have be to time-consuming or expensive, just fun.
Take time to turn on the Christmas tree lights and enjoy the ambiance. December can be such a hectic time of year that we often forget to be still and live in the moment. Sitting beside a twinkling tree in the evening is a wonderful way to unwind. It’s even better if you get to do it with someone(s) you love.
Add a hot beverage to the above experience. The beverage of choice doesn’t matter – hot chocolate, London Fog, spiced cider, mulled wine, whatever – as long as you love it and you savor it.
Make a favorite Christmas recipe. Sharing the finished creation with others bumps this activity up a holiday cheer notch or two.
Take an evening walk and enjoy the neighbors’ Christmas lights. Free and healthy. It’s a win/win.
Light an aromatic candle. Or simmer fragrant fruits and spices on the stove. Scent is a powerful mood booster. Use your favorite Christmas scents to enhance your mood and enjoyment of this most wonderful time of the year.
Work on a Christmas themed puzzle. I realize puzzles aren’t for everyone. If you do enjoy puzzles, though, working on one with a Christmas scene is a relaxing way to focus on the holiday. My husband and I just completed a puzzle with sugar cookies decorated like Christmas sweaters as the theme. It was so much fun!
Read a Christmas novel, a compilation of short stories, or a non-fiction work. Any book with a Christmas focus or setting will do. Pick a genre you like to read and spend some quality time in someone else’s Christmas story.
Or, read some children’s Christmas books. I dare you to remain Scroogy after reading Claude the Dog: A Christmas Story or Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve or Who’s Coming to Our House?
Find a way to help others. Volunteer at a non-profit organization. Purchase toys for under-privileged children. Financially support your favorite charities. Nothing generates Christmas spirit like generously giving your time, talents and treasure to others.
Attend church services Sunday mornings in December. The songs and sermons will keep the focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas. You never know – you may learn something new about the Christmas story that could change your perspective on the holiday or on your life.
Attend a Christmas Eve service. Spending time focusing on the miraculous birth of Christ is the very best way to grow some Christmas spirit. The worship experience is also excellent preparation for the celebration of Christmas Day.
Try one suggestion. Or try them all. I’d love to know if anything worked for you. I’ve only touched on a sample of all the ways to enjoy this holiday season. If you have any other suggestions, please share those in the comments, too.