It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But is it really? Are we happier during the holidays? With Christmas music on the radio (Kenny G and Frank Sinatra if you’re in my car), holiday lights wherever you drive, and decorated Christmas trees, December feels like a divine month. It can also feel like a disaster though if we’re not careful. With a tight economy, shopping can become even more stressful. And we can only hear “Jingle Bells” so many times.
That’s why we have to make sure we enjoy this holiday season for the right reasons. Not for the presents, not for the food, and not for those tacky holiday sweaters. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tacky sweater gathering). Instead, this time of year is about celebrating our family and friends. No matter what you believe, we can all agree that the holiday season is the perfect reason to be with those that we love.
Genuine happiness comes from within; it comes from the intangible feelings of gratitude and compassion that a Burberry scarf or a Wii could never offer. Of course, there is great happiness to be had in the smaller joys of this time of year. Decorating the Christmas tree, playing dreidel dreidel (I want to learn!), and baking Christmas cookies are all part of the reason why we’re all a little happier during December. I encourage you to make the most of the holiday season this year—make every day a special one!
Here are a few tips for feeling happier during the holiday season:
1. See the holidays through the eyes of a child: We can all be young at heart still. Do you remember what December was like as a child? This time of year was absolutely magical; you wrote letters to Santa Claus and stayed up until the ripe hour of 10:00 on Christmas Eve because you were so anxious. Now, not that you should go to Macy’s and drop off your letter for the North Pole as an adult (you might get a few odd looks), but be sure to remember the wonder you had as a child.
2. Do as much as you can: Try to say yes to as many opportunities as possible. If a friend invites you to go ice skating, then bruises or not, get on those skates! And if a family friend is hosting a holiday party, go and drink up that apple cider. Surround yourself with the people you love.
3. Be a host yourself: Parties and family gatherings are galore this time of year. Be sure to return the favor by thinking of others. Invite a friend over to bake cookies or to go look at holiday lights. Many people come home for the holidays so be sure to make an effort to see them!
4. Invest more in the gifts you give than get: As we get older, the great fun of gifts is about finding the perfect gift for that special person. Focus more on getting a little something for all of your friends than what’s on your Christmas wish list.
5. Get into the spirit: Be just like Buddy the Elf in all that you do! Minus the syrup on your pasta part.