I’ve finished my Christmas shopping, trimmed my artificial Christmas tree, and watched the Yule Log. I play Christmas music in the car, have Christmas lights burning outside, and I’ve stocked the fridge and pantry with plenty of treats. But for some reason, this year, I can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit.
I’m desperately seeking Christmas, and it appears to have drifted out of reach.
Why can’t I find the Christmas spirit? I don’t know, but I don’t think I’m alone.
I was at my knitting group at church and admitted to the others that “I just don’t feel in the Christmas mood this year.” Low and behold, the entire room chorused in with “Me too!”
Bah Humbug. I’ve done all the obvious Christmas preparation, but I think I’ll have to look harder to find the holiday magic.
But just because I can’t find the Christmas spirit doesn’t mean I’ll stop looking. And while I’d love to go do the Christmas tour of Biltmore House, I don’t want to spend a bunch of extra money. Here’s my 10 point plan for getting my holiday mojo back that don’t add much in the way of extra expense.
1. Wrap the Presents
My guest room runneth over in Amazon boxes and shopping bags, and beige carpet surrounds my Christmas tree.
Wrapping the presents both reduces the clutter and adds a festive touch to our family room. Plus, an evening of present wrapping (with the kid at her grandparents and a glass of wine nearby) is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
If you need paper, tape, gift bags or ribbon, you can easily find them cheaply (and many other Christmas items) at your local dollar store.
2. Treat Your Nose
There’s a bunch of smells to Christmas, and since the ones in my house don’t include real Christmas trees, I’ll have to stick to the ones I can generate in the kitchen. And now that the Christmas countdown is hitting single digits, I think it’s time to kick off the baking. I’m hoping to get in touch with my childhood and the memories of my mom with the scent of cinnamon and vanilla.
On my agenda this year are:
- Oatmeal cookies with coconut, butterscotch and chocolate chips
- Gingerbread cookies
- Chai spiced cookies
- Pecan Pie fudge
- Cheese balls
- fresh bread
I don’t know whether I’ll get to them all, but they should fill the house with the smells of Christmas spirit. Plus, they’ll make terrific gifts for family members and friends.
Even if you don’t bake or even cook, you can fill the house with holiday scents. Throw a cinnamon stick in a mug of cider and heat it in the microwave, or mull some wine in your slow cooker with fruits and spices. Or buy some cinnamon pine cones or some pine scented candles to fill your living room with seasonal aromas.
3. Read a Holiday Story
I’ve been reading a fair amount in the last couple of weeks, but none of it has been holiday-oriented. Much as i love WWII mysteries and comic fantasy, they aren’t reinforcing my Christmas spirit. So I think I’ll put the Ghost Train to New Orleans aside, and immerse myself in a literary Christmas. Yes, there’s classics like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol, but there’s a number of other choices outside of the traditional ones. Here’s three of my favorites:
Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett: If you like satire, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is hard to beat. When a gang of scoundrels tries to do away with the Hogfather before he can give away his toys and treats on Hogswatchnight, only Death can stand in.
The Twelve Spies of Christmas: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen: Lady Georgianna Rannoch escapes her brother’s gloomy Scottish castle to help host a traditional Christmas in the English countryside. And then someone starts murdering their way through the 12 Days of Christmas. Downton Abbey fans will probably love Georgie’s romantic mysteries.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: This story of when the “bad kids” take over the church Christmas pageant is absolutely delightful, and great to share with kids.
There are two others that might be a bit dark for my goal of getting in the holiday spirit but are still fun: Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel and Lamb. I think they are both hilarious and recommend them, but maybe not if you’re struggling with the season this year.
4. Clean the House
Doing a bit more cleaning has been one of my goals this month, and there’s a good reason: It’s hard to feel festive when the house is messy. So spend some time cleaning…scrub the bathrooms and baseboards, dust and above all get rid of some clutter.
If you find unwanted items, go ahead and make some donations to your favorite thrift shop before the holidays so they’ll have a few extra things to sell (and you’ll be able to claim that tax deduction.) You’ll need more room for all those presents anyway. You may even find some things you can regift.
5. Light Show
We love to bundle up into the car and go look at Christmas lights, and we haven’t done that this season. It’s an easy quick activity, and it’s on the agenda for this weekend.
I’ve been listening to Christmas songs for weeks, but it’s been a passive backgroundy sort of thing.
I think I need to do a little caroling. At the very least, I need to sing along with the radio, but actual caroling with a group would be better. Plus, it’s a great excuse to drink hot
toddies chocolate. Whether you sing Jingle Bells, Silent Night, or Santa Baby, the act of singing can get you in the mood far better than just listening to your favorite holiday playlist.
7. Go To Church
Okay, not everyone is religious and not everyone religious is Christian, and if you aren’t Christian, feel free to skip this part and enjoy your holiday.
But if you are Christian, then Christmas is a time to explore your faith.
It’s good to remember the reason for the season. It’s not Santa Claus, although it is a gift. God’s gift to us. And that’s why we give to others, and that love should be the focus, though I often forget it.
So maybe increase your prayers, and reread the Christmas portions of the Bible. Attend a church service or two and focus at least some of your attention on Jesus’s birth and message, and maybe you’ll get a bit more in touch with the hope and love of the season.
8. Get Crafty
One thing I realized when I decorated the tree is that while I have a dozen or so ornaments that I made as a kid, none of Little Bit’s artwork adorns our tree.
We need to fix that.
Doing a Christmas craft can occupy your child, decorate your home and jumpstart your Christmas spirit, all at the same time. So spend a few minutes looking at all the holiday crafts on Pinterest and pick one. There’s tons of options that use things that you should have on hand.
9. Light a Fire
Christmas…light…warmth…hope. Those connections are ingrained in the DNA of the season. So in addition to lighting your Christmas lights, try adding a little fire to your home…without, of course, setting it on fire. Light a fire in the fireplace or burn a few candles and enjoy some safe cheerful winter flames.
Bonus points if enjoy your Christmas fire in fluffy pajamas, curled up under a blanket, and/or with eggnog in hand.
10. Give Something to Folks You Don’t Know
We still have Little Bit’s giveaway jar to count this year. We need to make her charitable donation, and we’ve been remiss on our own this year. It’s time to give a little to our community, probably to the local food bank.
Find a good charity and support it. Whether you give goods or money, there’s a lot of need right now, and you’ll feel better for trying to help fill it.
Your gift doesn’t have to be large to help, and the emotional benefits you get from giving may be just as great.
Find the Christmas Spirit
So if you’ve completed all the regular holiday tasks and still aren’t feeling the Christmas spirit, don’t give up. Try a few of our 10 ways to reconnect with the joy of the season, and see if they help you find your warm holiday fuzzies this year.
Have you struggled with finding your Christmas spirit? What things get you feeling warm holiday fuzzies?
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