how to improve your holiday spirit

Is your holiday spirit lagging this year? We have a few ideas that may motivate your merry mojo, and a few of them may surprise you.

Host an ugly sweater party.

Let’s start out with a trend that we hope continues for a long time. Holiday parties are a large part of what separates December from the rest of the months of the year, and the addition of an ugly sweater just makes it more fun. The natural warmth that comes from people gathered—and your sweater—is sure to give you the festive and cozy feeling you’ve been searching for, if only for a few moments.

Bake something festive.

Baking is a great way to boost holiday spirit. Sugar cookies, peppermint studded brownies or fruit pies do three things:

1. They smell amazing.
2. They taste amazing.
3. They make amazing gifts.

Even if you aren’t great in the kitchen, it’s a fun thing to try. And you don’t have to do it from scratch to get all the benefits; homemade is made in the home, no matter how or where it was stirred together initially.

Shop early. And online.

Nothing kills the holiday spirit faster than fighting crowds and standing in a long line at the checkout counter. Do yourself a favor and try to knock out your shopping as early as possible. Another way to save time and avoid season-sapping stress is to order your gifts online and have them gift-wrapped and sent directly to their destination.

Take your time. And give it.

If it helps, remember that what most kids, friends, and family want is more time with each other, so stop chasing “the perfect gift” and settle into game night, a fun night out, or a night in. Seal the deal with a handwritten note telling your loved ones exactly what you appreciate about them, and what you hope for them in the coming year.

Catch a holiday show.

For many of us, nothing puts us in a festive mood like “A Christmas Story” or “Miracle on 34th Street”, but maybe it’s time to shake things up this year. Think beyond the couch; many local theaters run traditional holiday specials alongside the newest holiday releases. You can also choose to see a holiday performance on a local stage.

Volunteer to spread the holiday spirit.

Boost your holiday spirit by boosting your philanthropic spirit. Sometimes the reason we need a jolt is because we’ve become so disconnected from each other. Helping someone who genuinely needs it restores our faith in people, and ourselves, and reminds us that we really are here for a reason. You can check in with your local shelter to see what help they need, donate blankets, start a coat collection drive at your office—there really is no limit to what you can do during the holidays, or any time of year for that matter.

Unplug everything except your holiday lights.

This does it for me every single year. I never fail to get caught up in the bustle, the bells, and the bills, and suddenly it’s almost over and I didn’t even give myself a moment to appreciate it. I urge you to take that moment. Unplug your phone. Disconnect from the hum of the interwebs. Shut off all the lights in the room where your tree is, and take a long deep breath. Let the Ghost of Christmas Past come to visit (and instruct him to only reveal the good stuff). It doesn’t seem like much, but it ends up being one of the nicest gifts I give to myself each year.

Where are you on the holiday spirit spectrum this year?

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