Category Archives: Holidays

5 Ways to Make the Holidays More Meaningful

Well… Christmas is two days away. How has the holiday season been for you? What do you celebrate, or do you choose not to celebrate? And, as we’re in year two of restrictions and lockdowns, how has that affected your celebrations?

The major holidays in the last weeks of the year can add stress to life: buying gifts, parties, decorating, spending time with extended family and friends, and so on. These can all add to a lack of enjoyment during this season.

What kinds of things can you do to draw more meaning from these celebrations?

Teach gratitude:

Gratitude is not reserved for material presents, but also for the blessings in our lives. Take time each day to identify three things that you are grateful for. This can help us understand the true meaning of the holidays in a couple of ways. First, we notice the little things we take for granted, a butterfly, a sunny day, getting to sleep in late. Secondly, once we notice these little things and are grateful for them, we become more aware of other things for which we can be grateful.

Motivate friends and family to make the holidays more meaningful:

Spend time discussing topics such as, what are you most grateful for? How can you make the world a better place? How can this holiday be more meaningful? What presents make you feel the best? Plan a kind-deed day to perform random acts of kindness. Write inspirational notes and leave them for others to find.

Learn the meaning behind different holiday traditions:

The lights at Hanukkah symbolize the light of the Creator in our lives. A wreath is a symbol of the eternal nature of God’s love and the circle of life. There are several symbols in the holidays at this time of year. Examine them and see how they might make your experience richer.

Celebrate differences:

Attend a worship service with a friend or a family member of another faith of denomination. This exposes us to the marvelous ways we are more similar than different. It is when we embrace the differences that we can come together in unity.

Slow down and enjoy the essence of the holidays:

We remember the time and experiences shared as a family not the gifts, the parties or how perfectly the house is decorated. Say no to commitments that are not going to serve your greater good.

What about you? Leave a comment below telling us the kinds of things you do to make the season more meaningful.

Take Time for Rest and Relaxation

It’s three days before Christmas and things are ready to go. There will be a couple of things that need to be done on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, I’m starting my day a little slower, taking time to tweak preparations for Christmas and relaxing.

You know the adage, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?” You need to take a break occasionally. With Christmas around the corner, it’s a good reminder to take advantage of slow periods to step away from regular activity and recharge.

Sometimes the easiest response when you feel overloaded is to take a short break. Go for a walk. Find a quieter or a different space to work. If you’re experiencing major stress, it may be time for a vacation.

Taking a break may seem counterintuitive to getting things done, but you need energy to be productive. If you’re not eating properly; or your muscles are tight from too much time in one position; or your stress level is rising; your productivity will decrease.

You don’t have an endless supply of energy and drive. Now and again you need to take some time to re-charge your emotional and spiritual batteries.

Take a break.

Take a few minutes for lunch—away from your desk. Take a 10-minute nap or a short walk to relieve the stress. When you return to your work, you’ll have energy to tackle the job.

Take mini breaks.

If you are in a seasonal business, taking a long break at Christmas may not be practical. You can still take a few hours to hit the gym or the movies or get a facial or massage. A short weekend trip is restorative. Also, as a reminder for when things get quieter, pin up a picture of your next vacation destination.

Learn to Say No.

Often, the difference between being in control of time or time controlling us is the ability to say a simple two-letter word, no. We get caught up in a false sense of obligation: quid pro quo obligation to friends, the need to please family or performance obligations at work. In all areas of life, there are times when no is the best response.

The holiday season can put a lot of extra pressure on you. Make sure you take some time in the next couple of weeks to relax. You will be in much better shape to face the New Year.

End Christmas Slowly

You spend weeks planning, shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, caroling and much more. Suddenly, on December 25th, it seems to end in a flash. Sometimes we’re so worn out from the preparation, we’re glad to see the end of all the activity.

However, just as you can use Advent celebrations to focus your preparations for Christmas, you can use the 12 Days of Christmas as a time to emphasize values beyond ripping open the gifts and gobbling down the turkey.

Instead, try these:

  • Traditionally, Boxing Day is a day to share Christmas bounty with the less fortunate. Instead of boxing up your leftovers, prepare meals to be delivered to people who are unable to get out.
  • Schedule seasonal socializing for the period immediately after Christmas, rather than trying to jam in one more party before Christmas Day.
  • Plan a New Year’s Eve party. Invite people over to see in the New Year.
  • Use New Year’s Day as a family time to review the past 12 months and set goals for the year to come.
  • Leave your decorations up until Old Christmas Day and then have an un-decorating party. Create a family tradition out of that activity.
  • Get out one evening and see the lights and decorations that will be up for a few more days.
  • Research the customs of those who celebrate Old Christmas Day and try some of them with family and friends.

Take time both before and after Christmas day to enjoy the celebration.

How to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

This holiday time of the year is supposed to be one of peace, love, and goodwill to all. But with the stress and commotion of the season, many of us end up feeling more like Mr. Scrooge than Santa Claus. Maybe you’re working overtime this month and Christmas is at the back of your mind. Perhaps you have no holiday spirit at all, or you just realized, Christmas is two-weeks away! Here are some ideas on how to get into that cheery holiday spirit!

STEP 1: Shop early.

Nothing takes away the Christmas spirit like fighting for parking and struggling through crowds.

STEP 2: Holiday greetings

Wish people that you meet in stores and other casual environments a happy holiday. Say it with a smile.

STEP 3: Donate

Put money in a Salvation Army kettle. Give items to the food bank. May NGOs have extra demands at this time of year. Help the out.

STEP 4: Do something nice for someone.

Offer to babysit so a friend can do her Christmas shopping, take cookies to your neighbors, or shovel an elderly neighbor’s walk.

STEP 5: Volunteer

Even if you are busy, you can spare an hour or two to help people less fortunate than you.

STEP 6: Organize a food drive

Get co-workers or neighbours involved. Collect food and personal items and donate them to a local shelter for the homeless or for battered women.

STEP 7: Play Christmas music.

As that ambassador for Christmas, Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas is cheer singing loud for all to hear.”

STEP 8: Watch Christmas movies.

Elf, or The Santa Claus are good for reviving a flagging Christmas spirit, as is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

STEP 9: Read

A Christmas Carol

STEP 10: Decorate your house for the holidays.

STEP 11: Don’t spend more money than you have.

Anxiety over after-Christmas bills can ruin your holiday.

Christmas Carols Song Lyrics With Guitar Chords

A few years ago, I compiled a list of links to Christmas carols and song lyrics with guitar chords. Since that time, these lists have proven to be popular posts during the holiday season.

If you stop and think about it, carol singing with a guitar is an inexpensive and straightforward way to enjoy the holiday season. The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments around and in any group of people, there will be someone who can play.

If you’re looking for a simple way to spread Christmas cheer, grab some guitar-playing friends and:

  1. Have a carol sing in someone’s home
  2. Go caroling in the neighbourhood
  3. Visit care homes and have a carol sing with the residents
  4. Get the kids away from screens and sing some carols

If you’re planning a holiday sing-along, here are links to some sites that have Christmas carols and songs: