Making Spirits Bright

For many, Christmas is a joyous time of year, filled with great laughter, merriment, and even a touch of magic.  Store fronts are adorned with window displays, decorations, and eye-catching sales.  Inside you can find shoppers frantically searching for the perfect gifts to give their loved ones.  Calendars are overbooked with Christmas parties, to-do lists, and reminders of all of the events December has to offer.  While all of the hustle and bustle can be a lot of fun, it can leave even the merriest little elf feeling like a Grinch if they succumb to all of the commercialism of the holiday season.

Conversely, Christmastime for some comes with an overwhelming feeling of grief, loneliness, and heartache.  Financial struggles, loss of a loved one, broken relationships, empty calendars, and unrealistic expectations can prevent you from feeling jolly and bright.

No matter which category you fit into, or if you fall somewhere in between, there are still ways you can spread Christmas cheer during the holidays.  Sharing joy with others may be just the secret to unlocking your own joy this year.  Here are a few merry, and affordable, ways to make spirits bright this Christmas.


Share a Family Tradition

Creating, maintaining, and sharing family traditions with others helps to make celebrations more meaningful.  Family traditions draw loved ones together, year after year, as they strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories.  Building gingerbread houses, baking holiday treats, cuddling up next to a crackling fire while watching Christmas movies, or completing a holiday puzzle together are just a few examples of traditions you may fondly recall throughout the ages.  Consider starting a new tradition, reestablishing an old tradition, or inviting someone new to join along this year.



One of the best gifts you can give is your time and talent.  There are many ways to get involved and give back to your community, especially this time of year.  A few ideas include spending an afternoon serving food at a soup kitchen, wrapping gifts for someone who is overwhelmed or unable, knitting blankets for the homeless, making caps for babies in the NICU, sorting and distributing food at your local food bank, serving as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army, or making cards for the homebound or deployed.


Adopt an Angel

If your budget allows, consider adopting an angel off of the tree.  Bless another senior citizen who may be less fortunate than you are, or help a child receive a bit of joy on Christmas morning.


Go Caroling

Everyone knows that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”  Gather together a group of friends, neighbors, and/or relatives and go door to door, singing carols that you all know and love.  Light candles to lead the way; the voice of an angel is not required to help warm someone’s day… and heart!


Mend a Broken Relationship

Seek or offer forgiveness this holiday season.  The greatest gift is that of love; choose love as you try to heal past wounds.  While there’s no guarantee that your attempt will be successful, there is always the hope of new life.  Try to reconcile your differences this year and offer your sincere apologies or forgiveness with those who are suffering.


Connect with Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Encourage others to come together for a holiday potluck, happy hour, movie night, or caroling (as previously mentioned).  Building community and celebrating the reason for the season is the greatest way to find joy this December.


Give Thanks

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, you’ve practiced the act of giving thanks for the people and things most important to you.  Continuing celebrating, with a grateful heart, throughout the Christmas season and you will experience unbounding joy.  Send notes of thanks to others for enriching your life, keep a journal of the things you’re grateful for, and stop throughout the day to acknowledge all of the blessings bestowed upon you.  Being intentional in showing gratitude allows you to experience and share joy exponentially.


Bake with Love

Spend some time in the kitchen with your grandkids, spouse, friends, or just a festive playlist while you bake up your favorite holiday treats.  Make a batch of your grandma’s fudge, dust some cocoons with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and sample a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven.  Fill a festive tin with your homemade goodies and share the love with your neighbors!


Spend Quality Time with Others

Slow down and enjoy the presence of one another.  With the hustle and bustle of the season, we can forget what is truly important.  Make true human connections with those closest to you, as well as complete strangers.  Visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, smile at a stranger and spark conversation, or drop in on a loved one who may be homebound or hospitalized.  Make people feel seen, important, and loved this holiday season.


Attend a Live Nativity

Focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  Of all of the celebrations this month, there’s no greater reminder than the humbling experience of a live nativity.  May the miracle of Christmas fill your hearts with joy.