Out of character post from the 'Positivity people'? Not at all! Life is filled with ups and downs and sometimes those downs happen over the holidays. Positivity isn't about faking it or living in denial - it's about knowing that things can improve, that you can make things better. So if you're sort of dreading this Christmas or just struggling to get into the spirit, I hope these ideas will help you to have a Happier Christmas this year, even if circumstances are not ideal :)
1. CONNECT TO THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE SEASON
On the surface of things, it seems Christmas has become little more than a day of getting stuff—an over-commercialized sales-event of high profits and crazed consumerism. Hardly the inspiration to delve deeper into the soul of the occasion.
But Christmas can provide us with a variety of levels of depth and meaning from family togetherness with gift exchanges and Christmas traditions to the original celebrations of the birth of Jesus or the breaking of the dark winter season with festive lights... There’s something deeply meaningful for almost everyone.
By connecting to what Christmas means to you, your Christmas celebration can itself be deeper, more meaningful, and therefore more perspective-shifting and happiness-inspiring!
2. SERVE SOMEONE
Sadness is inward-looking. Service is its opposite. So go make someone else’s life better, and watch what happens to yours. Joy will start to replace sorrow. Meaning and purpose will begin to reinsert itself into the holiday experience. The blues will give way to gratitude (if not completely at least a little).
The service can be as big as joining a group dedicated to large service projects or as small as random acts of kindness in your neighborhood (#PositivityTakeover anyone?!). Even wishing clerks and others waiting in long holiday lines a “Merry Christmas” can lift their moods, add smiles to tired faces—and chase away your own Christmas blues. Kindness always makes both parties happier.
3. CELEBRATE THE SEASON WITH FORGIVENESS
Of all the gifts you give this year, perhaps the most meaningful and life-changing will be the gift of forgiveness you offer someone who has offended you. And here’s the surprise: You will likely benefit the most from forgiving than the person you forgive; it’s as much a gift to yourself as it is to the other party.
4. MAKE IT FUN AND FESTIVE
Get out the lights. Put up the tree. Blast the tunes. Decorate. Dance around the house. Invite others over to dance with you. Sing carols. Pop some popcorn. Watch a funny holiday movie (Elf is our favorite) or some stand up comedy. Laugh out loud.
Get into the season. Don’t wait around for the season to get into you! Jump into it head-first and it won’t take long before you find the season has surrounded you!
5. CREATE A NEW “FAMILY”
If saddness or grief overwhelms the holidays because of loss or divorce or distance, make an effort to create a new “family” of friends you can celebrate the Christmas season with. If you don’t make friends very quickly, join a club and volunteer to participate on special projects. It’s often in such settings where people with shared interests and values engaged in meaningful service that relationships grow fastest. That feeling of comradery fast tracks aquaintances to friends.
But whatever you do, try to get together with others.
6. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Sometimes when we feel down, we mope around the house feeling sorry for ourselves and wonder why others don’t come by and pull us out of our funk. Well, stop waiting! Be your own funk-breaker! Paint. Run. Climb. Sing. Swim. Serve. Learn. Play. Give. And watch what starts to happen to your holiday spirit. If you can't motivate yourself to do something big then just play your favourite happy song and sing along! As long as you do something!
7. BECOME THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S SECRET SANTA
I love this one - Bake some cookies. Wrap up some gold coins. Make some mini cards. And start secretly making your neighbors’ day. Put a plate of cookies on a doorstep or put Christmas cards on the windshields of cars in your community. Or, if you're feeling friendly personally deliver the cookies or cards to your neighbours yourself.
8. LIST ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE WONDERFUL IN YOUR LIFE
We often tend to over-exaggerate the negative and under-accentuate the good. But taking the time to write down all that’s sweet in life can act to underscore the good and paint a picture that’s not quite as bad as we would otherwise believe. Put that list somewhere that you'll see it daily.
9. GET UP, GET DRESSED, GET OUT!
Some of the symptoms of depression include oversleeping, staying in bed, undressed, un-showered, self-ostracized. But such behaviour can actually CAUSE the blues. They feed each other. When we’re down, we don’t get up and dressed. But when we don’t get up and dressed, we often feel worse.
So stop the cycle. Get up. Clean up. Shave. Put on your best outfit and go somewhere and do something. Anything. But do it without alcohol. The blues and alcohol (a depressant) is not a match made in heaven...
10. PUT YOURSELF ON SANTA’S “NICE” LIST
As you’re out doing good to others, spreading Christmas cheer, spread some to yourself as well. Buy yourself a gift. Make it meaningful. Enjoy it. Be grateful you can afford it (no matter how inexpensive it may be). Have fun with it. And then believe you were worth every penny you spent … and then some! (*shameless plug* if you've had a tough year the Strength Book might be a perfect gift to get yourself)
Christmas is supposed to be an amazing time of the year, full of family, significance, good people and a recommitment to service and kindness and good cheer. It’s fun and sparkly and festive and celebratory. It’s also deep and profound and joyous. There are ways of making this Christmas more so on all accounts.
But remember, good ideas are only as good as their implementation. So resist the temptation to nod your head in agreement, click to another post and forget these tips! If they struck a cord with you, take action today! And make your Christmas holiday season more enjoyable, happier and meaningful this year.
Lots of love and positive vibes to you <3
Note: A version of this post was originally posted over at the 'Meant to be Happy' community.