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I love Christmas. I’ve said it before.
But last week, I found myself stressed out and absolutely not in the Christmas mood. I look forward to this time of year, all year, but I can try and cram too much into it, leaving me tired and pissy. Lol
I did an informal survey on my Facebook page asking how many had the Christmas Spirit and I was a little shocked by how many said they did not.
It’s perfectly understandably, really. We have pretty high, pretty unrealistic expectations for this time of year and when the ‘holiday season’ doesn’t measure up, it can put us in a slump. All of this on top of the day to day duties that don’t go away just because it’s Christmas.
When I was younger, I struggled with the ‘Winter blues.’ I absolutely LOVE the cold weather and all that comes with it but I would often get depressed. Maybe it was unmet expectations and maybe it was something else, but it was very real.
I’m going to list below some ideas that help me when I can’t find my Christmas Spirit but I don’t want to gloss over the fact that for some, this is a very difficult time of the year. If that’s you, I want you to know, that I understand.
I can remember one Christmas season, I was probably 21 or 22 at the time, I was lying in bed, looking up at my makeshift Christmas wreath on the wall of my tiny 300 sq.ft. studio apartment. This “wreath” was nothing more than tied-together pine tree scraps that I found somewhere then I wove an old strand of colored Christmas lights onto it. It was my Christmas tree, because I couldn’t afford one.
I was crying.
The room was dark, lit only by the tiny colored lights and it was quiet. My ears were filling up with my tears as I lay there. I was alone.
I was sad and I was exhausted. I was managing at McDonald’s at the time where it took me 45 minutes to get to work, on foot, every shift.
In my little world, everywhere I looked, I saw pain and difficulty and hardship. I saw nothing to be happy about in that moment.
Both my heart and the room were filled with heaviness, it was my favorite time of the year but my Christmas Spirit was nowhere to be found.
My husband and I have worked very hard to get where we are now and thankfully those sad days are few and far between. But sometimes when I’m lacking adequate rest or overwhelmed with life and not able to do all that I want to in the Christmas Season, I will slip back into Boo-ville, lol these are some of the things I recommend to ignite our Christmas Spirit:
Give a gift
This may feel cliché but the old saying – it’s better to give than to receive, is actually true! This gift doesn’t have to cost you a thing, it can be as simple as walking a neighbor’s dog for them, babysitting a single mom’s kids so she can get some shopping done or some much needed rest, taking your gently used clothing to a woman shelter, inviting someone over for a cup of coffee or a simple meal or just visiting an elderly neighbor. You absolutely will feel better when you give a “gift” to others. Try it!
Take some time to reflect on your blessings
My entire life I have battled the depression demon. I have to will myself to find the good in things because by default, I see the bad… and then wallow in it. lol
But I know this to be true, there is always good to be found, even in the darkest situation, we just have to train ourselves to look for it. When we choose to focus on all that we have vs all that we don’t, our entire outlook can shift. We are so blessed, every one of us.
Crank up some old Christmas tunes that you love
One of my favorites from my childhood is Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Carole Richards, it was old when I was young but it brings back so many fun memories. Another is O Holy Night by Mariah Carey and the beautiful Carol of the Bells by Pentatonix.
What are your favorites? How long has it been since you cranked them up, sang at the top of your lungs and danced around the house, if you felt like it? Music is powerful. Let it remind you of the beauty of the season.
Watch your favorite Christmas movie
When I have the Christmas/Winter blues I need to be reminded how good my life is. One of my favorites is the movie: One Magic Christmas.
Have you seen it? The young mom in the movie is completely stressed out and disillusioned with life and the season. She receives the “gift” of a great tragedy to make her realize how good her life was. I hope you’ll check it out, it’s a game changer! You can purchase it here on Amazon or possibly find a bootleg copy on youtube. :-)
Remember the reason for the season
If you’re a person of faith (like I am), sometimes the only thing that will do the trick is to read The Story in Luke, chapter 2 to recalibrate our thinking. There IS a reason we celebrate Christmas and that is the birth of Jesus Christ. One of my all time favorite books to read during the Christmas season, especially if I’m in a slump, is An Angel’s Story by Max Lucado.
It’s a short but fascinating, fictional account of what may have happened in the spiritual realm during the birth of Christ. It completely takes my mind off of what I may be dealing with and puts my focus on what really matters and that is the miracle birth of baby Jesus. You can purchase it here with my affiliate link from Amazon.com. Add it to your cart with all your other purchases and let me know what you thought of it, I’m sure it will become part of your Christmas tradition, too!
I wish you all the best of this beautiful season, friends! Maybe do something you’ve never done before to receive a gift that you’ve never known before. :-)
Blessings on you and yours,