For various reasons, people lose their enthusiasm for the holidays. It’s not really surprising given how commercialized and stressful Christmas can be these days! Think about why you’ve lost your Christmas spirit, then try rediscovering it with these strategies.
Problem: Christmas has become a chore
You feel you have to do so much you can’t relax and enjoy yourself.
Focus on what Christmas should really be about. Cut out non-essential tasks and get more efficient in doing what you have to.
- Go to just one place for most of your shopping. Pick a department store that has a wide range of nice items within your budget and offers free gift-wrapping. Even better, do your Christmas shopping while doing your grocery shopping.
- Cook as little as possible. My grandmother made everything from main dish to dessert when we were kids. We enjoyed the feast, but she didn’t! Focus your efforts on making just a few special items, then purchase the rest or ask others to contribute. And avoid cooking all in one day—start preparations the night before or even earlier
- Don’t try to make it to every event. Decide which activities and events would be most meaningful and enjoyable for your family and how many are manageable for you to go to.
Problem: You can’t stand the clutter Christmas causes!
Your Christmas shopping is taking up too much space, especially since you bought many extra items, just in case. Getting gifts is not so fun when you know unnecessary presents and their wrappings will just add to your clutter.
Solution: Head it off.
- Communicate with family and friends. Tell family and close friends you’re having trouble managing clutter and prefer consumable gifts such as food and toiletries.
- Surprise your kids. Fill your kids’ stockings mainly with consumable items like snacks and cute school supplies like erasers, pencils, and crayons; or nice useful things like socks and hankies printed with their favorite cartoon characters. This will help keep down the number of little toys scattered in the house.
- Recycle. Reuse gift bags as soon as possible.
Problem: You’re not into partying.
The social pressures of mingling and putting on your best face have gotten taxing, more so if you’re an introvert.
Solution: Only connect.
If hosting and going to gatherings seems a chore, maybe it’s because you’ve forgotten their purpose is to reconnect with family and friends. Stick to gatherings of people who mean the most to you, then make the most of these occasions by doing these:
- Revive happy memories. Share your photo albums, have a slideshow, use photo- frame ornaments.
- Emphasize activities rather than gifts. Have a bonding activity planned when you host a gathering. If you’re a guest, you can help by bringing a game to play or a video to watch.
Problem: You feel forced to give.
Maybe giving gifts is just not your love language. But everyone expects it—friends, family, charities!
Solution: Give to a charity of your choice.
Giving to people in our social circle can easily devolve to obligation. So can giving to all those soliciting for charities at this time of the year. So you won’t turn into Scrooge:
- Donate to a cause that is close to your heart. Select an advocacy you’d like to support and focus on that. Feel free to say no to others.
- Try to personally bring donations. Seeing the conditions and the gratitude of orphans or indigent seniors or whoever you bring your gifts to will make giving more meaningful.
Problem: You want the kids to feel the magic, but you’ve lost it.
You think of the holiday as a time to make your kids’ dreams come true. Sadly, you are so stressed out playing Santa you fail to model the proper Christmas spirit.
Solution: Stay happy while making your kids happy.
- Tone down the Santa myth. Avoid telling the children Santa will give them whatever they want. There’s nothing in the early St. Nicholas stories that says the jolly old saint was supposed to fulfill all the children’s Christmas wishes. Should Santa eclipse the parents, anyway? The child values parental love more than that of a mysterious magical individual, after all. Consider having the biggest and best present marked from you the parents and label another as Santa’s.
- Watch or discuss meaningful Christmas shows with them. Videos are helpful in occupying your children while you rush to get your tasks done. If you can’t watch with them, show a movie you’ve seen and talk about it afterwards. It will definitely revive your Christmas spirit and bring you closer. Look for your favorite kiddie Christmas specials. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first Punky Brewster Christmas episode, and the various Sesame Street Christmas features are just a few heartwarming shows that can be found online. Home Alone 2 is a good Christmas film to watch with school-age kids and almost any variation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, including those featuring the Muppets and the Ghostbusters is a good reminder of the true spirit of Christmas. With your tweens and teens, try watching The Nativity Story and either (or both) versions of Little Women.