While editing this post I was multitasking and reading lovely Christmas-inspired updates from my blogger friends. Most were overjoyed and excited about Christmas. A few were stressed, exhausted and not at all in the mood to celebrate. You know what, I can understand both sides perfectly and will chat in detail about my take on it in the ‘view full post’ part. Now, let’s take a minute and read again the title of today’s post. Nope, I am not going to try and turn someone from a “grinch” into a “Santa’s helper”. As cheesy as it might sound, I just want to spread a bit of holiday cheer and give genuine, not generic, advice for you this Christmas. As for the second part of the title: if you’re like “huh?!” right now, I promise there’s nothing too cryptic about it. Read on and let’s get festive together!
Every year the whole world is going through the same thing.
It’s either “I’m so excited about the holidays” or “I’m so
stressed out and overwhelmed”. There is actually the third category which is
extremely sensitive. It’s the tragic circumstance when people lose a loved one
around Christmas time. I can’t even start to imagine the pain and the grief
and, as a result, not wanting to take part in any festive activities. My
thoughts and prayers go out to those who are in that position. Just today I read a little article by a fellow blogger how she’s so frustrated about how fake bloggers can be close to the holidays. You can only see cozy mittens, fuzzy socks, Christmas movies, Christmas markets and the similar symbols of Christmas “flooding” Instagram (and their blog). She, on the other hand, is running around like mad trying to get all the Christmas preparations done while juggling her full-time job and other commitments. While I would never want to criticize the “happy-go-lucky” blogger friends, nor those who have too much on their plate now, I would like to say that it all comes down to ourselves. I know for a fact that most bloggers who I follow CANNOT wait for Christmas. They genuinely enjoy “Elf”/”Home Alone”/”Love Actually” on their sofa while sipping their hot chocolate. And I love them! I love their happy personalities and appreciate the positivity they spread. I also can understand people who are insanely busy with anything else (plus blogging) and I can confirm “I hear ya, girl”. Juggling commitments, money issues, seeing how “fake” someone else is – it all can easily bring you down. It’s essential, though, to stop looking at what others do/have/can afford, and appreciate what you can be thankful for. It all comes down to the basics: self-reflection, your positivity/happiness/gratitude, time management, getting your priorities straight and, last but not least, how high is your “Clausometer” – this “Elf” ref is so ‘on point’ 🙂
So, if you are super happy and excited this holiday season or not feeling your best, I’d love to remind us all why Christmas time is so lovely and give tips on how to get into the holiday spirit (without forcing yourself).
1. Visit Christmas markets (and/or get yourself outside for fun reasons!).
This one goes without saying. There are so many lovely Christmas markets around this time of the year! Just take a look at these fab posts by Gabrielle and Kathryn. Twinkly lights, yummy treats, hot drinks and happy faces surely will get you into the holiday mood. Other than that, just go outside! Not to go to work/uni/school but to enjoy the snow (if you have it), a walk in the park or at the beach (beach can be awesome not only when it’s hot outside).
2. Get your tree up and decorate the place where you live.
Captain Obvious, right? 🙂 Nothing makes you feel more “Christmassy” than your Christmas tree – huge or tiny – and all the pretty decorations. Go as small or as big as you personally like. Once it’s trimmed, your place is tidied, you must make time to enjoy the company of the loved ones or relax on your laptop reading blogs. So what if you share the apartment with 5 other people or live together with your husband’s parents. Make your little corner festive, throw some fairy lights in there, light a candle. Small things make a big difference 😉
3. Watch Christmas movies & listen to Christmas music.
So trivial YET so important, and, let’s face it, FUN! No time? Make it if you really REALLY want it! We are all sometimes running around like mad trying to get every item of our to-do list done, get those presents sorted, or conquer the world in under 9 hours. You sure wouldn’t want to live your life like that non-stop. Take a breather, turn off that phone and have a laugh watching your favourite holiday film. Driving to work sleepy & grumpy? Blast that Christmas song and sing out loud 🙂 Just do it. Remember those who you love, let all the cozy Christmas memories fill your mind.
4. Write your Christmas cards and send them.
Yes, it’s 2015 (almost 2016), but who cancelled handwriting and being thoughtful. Exactly, no one. Emails make our lives efficient and robotic at the same time. Please, don’t send a Merry Christmas email. Get a card, pick up a pen. Everyone who gets a little message from you will appreciate the thought so much. Plus, you will get cards in return! Sign and post as many as you would like. Include the elderly, your neighbours and even your favourite hairdresser 😉
5. Plan and organise: Project Christmas.
This is a big one! Once you have all the presents bought and wrapped, you can finally breathe! But hey, what if you still have a tonne to buy and can’t even afford half of them. It’s a struggle, and I understand the stress. That’s where the planning comes in. I’m not saying I did my Christmas shopping 2 months in advance. I did not. But I made sure I got time on my hands and bought items on sale, Black Friday, using coupons or special codes. A bit of creativity and a lot of effort – and you’re golden. The point is don’t leave it to the very last minute. Planning doesn’t come down to shopping only. It’s anything and everything you are doing this season. Take a notebook, write your thoughts down, assign a date/time and get it done, girl 😉
6. Have “me” time.
People tend to get a bit stressed around this time of the year. Either you got annoyed by the crowds at the shopping centre, your boss wants you back at work on Boxing Day or you just simply can’t manage to juggle it all – take a break. It’s OK to pause whatever needs to be done and have some “me” time. Have a bath, read a book, watch a movie, bake or simply take that well-deserved nap. Happy and refreshed you = more holiday cheer.
7. Spend time with family and friends.
Everyone’s circumstances are very different. But if you’re lucky enough to have your family on an easy-to-reach distance, go visit them. Not only you will have an amazing time, but it will mean the world to them. Once again, I don’t know your family situation and I apologize if it’s a sensitive topic. I better give my personal example. My family is 3000 miles away. I have the most amazing mum and dad and I miss them more than anything. Last Christmas I surprised them with a visit (on Christmas Eve). They didn’t expect to see me up until March! So that was incredible. Like you probably remember from my Christmas Decorations & Traditions post, Christmas is in January in Ukraine. Hence, the title – I have 2 Christmases 🙂 We celebrate one, though. The point is, if you can, see your family and/or friends around this time of the year. They will make sure to keep that smile on your face.
8. Give and show kindness.
One of the last tips but an extremely important one. No, Christmas is not just about material gifts. Ask yourself from the bottom of your heart if you helped anyone this month (and every month!). Have you visited someone who needed a visit? Have you donated to a great cause? Have you reach your hand out to the one who fell? Helping is very personal. You can help with a pound/dollar/euro, a kind word or even a hug. Hubby and I make sure to visit the elderly and people from the church not only around Christmas but more or less regularly. There is also a project we are involved in which is aimed to help those in need in Ukraine, especially the refugees who escape the war in the east. There’s always work to be done. To sum up, think what you can do to help someone now.
9. Look back and be thankful.
With the amount of 2016-inspired posts flying around, we forget it’s still 2015. Pause, reflect, look back. Was it a difficult year? Was it exciting? What did you like about this passing year? What did you learn? Finally, did you give thanks? You woke up this morning, you had food, there is a roof over your head. Aren’t we happy, lovelies? Anything and everything we have we must be thankful for. A thankful heart is a happy heart.
When I was growing up we didn’t have much. If I got a bar of chocolate for Christmas, my happiness level was shooting through the roof. My parents simply couldn’t afford gifts. There was even one time I couldn’t get to a school event. Being a kid (well, young teenager) I cried and thought the world was over because I didn’t get to the dance. Later on my dad told me they didn’t have money for petrol and saved every little penny & coupons to afford food. But guess what… I never lacked anything. I felt like I had everything I ever needed. My parents were showering me with so much love and care that I had no interest in the new phone or makeup. I was (and AM) thankful they did everything to give me the most important and essential things, material and not. So many kids, teens and even grown-ups today take things for granted. What if the designer bags, expensive palettes, fancy phones are gone – what is left? Even though I am able to afford more than a bar of chocolate now, I just want to remind myself and us all that we have to concentrate on what MATTERS. It’s not tangible nor physical. It’s the love that lives in your heart.
Hope you enjoyed this post, my loves.
Are you in the holiday spirit?
All the photos are from my phone & Instagram.
All the faces (apart from moi & hubby) are blurred for the privacy purposes.
Collage 1: Christmas markets, twinkly lights & Christmas trees at the shopping centre, our wreath, cozy fireplace & movie time with my hubby.
Collage 2: Our Christmas decor goodies, planning at the laptop with notebooks & to-do lists + a little sneak peek at our Christmas cards.
Collage 3: Time with my amazing hubby, friends, wrapping presents, Christmas table and wrapping selection boxes for kids at the carol service.
Collage 4: Making cake pops with my sweet mother-in-law, coffee for one (because it’s “me” time lol), my furry rascal who I miss so much, flying to Ukraine & visiting the refugee family with a bag of gifts.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!
Have a lovely time this week!
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Leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed this post.
What do you think about my tips on how to get into the holiday spirit?
What kind of Christmas did you have growing up?
What are you thankful for in 2015 or in your life every day?
Any special plans for this week? 😉
I am thankful for you all this holiday season.
Merry Christmas, loves!