Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How To Get Yourself Into The Christmas Spirit / Why Holiday Traditions Might Be More Important Than You Think

Wiki: How Webpage

When you grow older, family pressures, work commitments, loneliness, or other things can make you to lose the wondrous spirit of Christmas. When money is tight and time is too, you can end up feeling disappointed, sad or just dreading Christmas altogether. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel special at Christmas. Restoring your Christmas spirit is worth your focus and you'll feel better for it after.

Creating Christmas Spirit in the Home

  1.) Play Christmas music in the background while you prepare for Christmas. Great songs such as "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, "O Holy Night" by Josh Groban and "Believe" by Josh Groban are great examples, and they will help you lift your spirit.

  2.) Make a batch of Christmas cookies. Make sugar cookies, and decorate with frosting, sprinkles, etc. They'll smell wonderful while baking and are sure to help out the Christmas fun.
·         Have the kids decorate their own cookies for something to do.
·         If you can't make cookies, but want your house to smell nice, you can get some scented candles or some christmas-y scented room spray. It makes your house smell like the holiday season, but without the mess!

  3.) Hang up Christmas ornaments. When you focus on the ornaments, and just on getting it done, it's not fun. But when you have fun, dance with the Christmas music, put a garland up, put little trinkets of Santa Claus, angels and whatnot. You will see, you will have fun.
·         Have other family members help with the tree.

  4.) Put up your tree early. It doesn't matter if you put it up after you read this article, or in a few days, just get it up early. That way, you can decorate the tree and have fun with it, expressing your creativity and feeling like you are really into the spirit.

  5.) Learn a Christmas song, one that you've never heard before, or one that is your favorite. Print it off the internet and sing the verses quietly to yourself at work, or at the store. Create your own Christmas song if you like.

Feeling the Christmas Spirit in Company

  1.) Get out of the house. Go to stores like Macy's and Target and shop in the Christmas aisles. Have fun picking out what stuff you could possibly need. When you see other spirit around you, you're more likely to have that special feeling once again.

  2.) Spend time with family and friends. This probably is the most important way to feeling happy. Make some cookies, and invite a few friends over, and watch a Christmas movie such as "White Christmas".
·         See if you can find a party to go to this year instead of organizing it all yourself. It makes for a nice change.

  3.) Give a gift, it doesn't matter to who. But take time with the gift, wrap it, and make your own card, add a special poem or heartfelt Christmas greeting.

Caring for Yourself

  1.) Realize that some of your lack of feeling the Christmas spirit may be related to feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the seasonal festivities and preparations.Take time out. Go and do things for yourself now and then, to relieve the pressure of always preparing and being around frantic activity. You can't please all of the people all of the time, so don't even try; by taking breaks, you will feel refreshed and able to cope with difficult people all the more constructively. 
  2.) Have reasonable expectations of the Christmas season. If you expect too much, you may feel disappointed. Instead, expect things to be low key and easy and you'll feel a lot calmer and happier about the season, being able to enjoy the experience more.
·         Realize that the commercialized version of Christmas is the marketer's dreams, not yours. Don't try to live up to that version and don't fall for thinking you need to buy happiness at Christmas time. Enjoyment does not mean expense.

  3.) Be jolly. Laugh more, see the funny side of things, even more so when things don't go to plan. Be genuine in your mirth; forcing jolly feelings will feel artificial. That might just mean watching something that makes you laugh for real or taking time out to watch a frolicking puppy or your children at play.


Why Holiday Traditions Might Be More Important Than You Think

Michele L. Brennan, Psy.D.
Most families have holiday traditions, regardless of what holiday you are celebrating. Even when we grow up and form our own families, we naturally merge our new traditions with some of the old. It seems that traditions, new or old have a strong place in our hearts. Holiday traditions become an essential aspect of how we celebrate, and there is a reason why we keep them as a part of our lives for so long. Simply put we hold onto holiday traditions because they add meaning to our celebrations, and help bond us to those we love.

Last weekend I was watching Christmas Vacation (one of my guilty pleasures before and during the holiday season) and I started thinking about why this movie was so funny. A seemingly normal family has all the warm and fuzzy holiday traditions and dreams of the perfect family Christmas. Of course, until everything goes wrong. The traditional events end in disaster, the tree catches fire, the turkey is dry (which is an understatement), the uninvited dog wrecks the house chasing the squirrel that got in the house, and the crazy cousin kidnaps the stingy boss. After all this, the family still finds meaning and joy in the season. The tradition that survives is that they always spend the holidays with family, and this bonds them despite all the chaos.
Although holiday traditions are usually the first thing people think of when you mention traditions, they are not the only ones families have. Whether it’s stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade while the turkey cooks, building sand castles every summer or regularly having family movie night they are a family ritual that brings children and parents closer. These moments create positive memories for children and provide positive events for everyone to anticipate! Children crave the comfort and security that comes with traditions and predictability. This takes away the anxiety of the unknown and unpredictable. Traditions are a wonderful way to anchor family members to each other, providing a sense of unity and belonging.
I am a huge fan of traditions year-round but especially around the holidays. My family frequently has movie night, where we rent a movie, make fresh popcorn, and snuggle up on the couches to watch something awesome. It’s really become more about the quality time we spend together, the sarcastic commentary from dad that makes everyone laugh and the imaginative questions from my daughter that inspire a sense of youth. Thanksgiving traditions always involve the first indulgence of eggnog that will continue through to New Years, and we always make green bean casserole.  During Christmas, I have carried on a favorite tradition with my own family where we decorate the tree and add empty miniature drawstring sacks. On Christmas eve Santa fills them with candy so that on Christmas there are sweets to snack on throughout the day. My daughter gets so excited about the sacks of chocolate, that now at the age of 13 she asks if she can help fill them the night before because she wants to be part of the entire process.
Not every family is lucky enough to have traditions, but that’s ok. That just gives you the freedom to start creating your own! With the holidays coming, it is the perfect excuse to start trying new things! It can really be anything you think is fun. Perhaps it could be playing TBS’s 24 hours of the Christmas Story in the background while the family spends time together, cooks dinner, and plays with their new toys. Reading the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve is popular, or perhaps reading A Christmas Carol throughout the season.
Once you get started making traditions during the holidays your can start branching out to make new traditions throughout the year. Start a pizza night, a movie night, or even board game night. Make birthdays a special time for the celebrant to pick the cake and their favorite dinner. If these things aren’t what you had in mind, traditions can be the annual family vacation where you spend time together every year. Growing up we looked forward to the annual Winter Weekend where the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins and spouses) would spend a long weekend in December enjoying the holiday season in a huge rented cabin. We would take turns cooking meals, and spend our free time playing in the snow.
If there is a simple take away message here, it’s that traditions nurture our spirit and are an important part of family bonding. They can be anything fun you and your family already enjoy doing, or you can have fun starting your own. Don’t get caught up in instituting the perfect family tradition, it’s not about being perfect it’s about the experience you share with your family.

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