Keep the Merry in Christmas

Christmas is a joyous occasion to be sure, yet for many people the holiday season can be a time of great stress, loneliness and even depression. Keeping the “merry” in Christmas can prove a daunting task for some. Here’s some quick tips on keeping this year’s holiday awesome and peaceful.

1. Keep in mind the “spirit” of the holiday. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of finding the perfect gifts for people, worrying that it’s not enough, stressing over how spectacular the day will be. Christmas is about celebrating God’s greatest gift to us, not getting the perfect gadget for your spouse or child. If we keep in mind the reason for the season, it’s easier to relax and enjoy the more simple aspects of this beautiful holiday.

2. Reach out. Christmas is a great time to go through your phone list and give people a simple “Merry Christmas” text. Ok, it’s not as good as the card you forgot to mail, but the very act of remembering people brings a certain amount of happiness to them and you.

3. Focus on the positive. Of course not everything is perfect, it really never is. But that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful as it is. Regardless of what’s going on, there are always positive things, no matter how small, to be grateful for. These are usually the things that matter the most anyway, but we tend to forget them in all the chaos of life.

4. Do something nice for someone. Resolve to do an act of kindness. It could be someone less fortunate than you or even a random stranger. It doesn’t have to be something spectacular. It could be visiting an elderly neighbor you know is alone on Christmas just to say hello, or making a small donation to a worthy charity.

5. Forgive yourself. Nobody is perfect so stop striving for it. Progress is a much better goal. If you have a tendency to be hard on yourself or negative, try some self love. Affirmative statements, making a list of things that are good about yourself, or even meditating on the positive aspects of you as a person can go a long way toward feeling good.

6. Set boundaries and keep them. Nobody can be all things to all people, so let’s not try. Know your limits. Have you slept enough? Have you overscheduled? Are you trying to make people happy by buying stuff? It’s a good practice and ties into the first tip, to remember the significance of Christmas. It doesn’t have to be a stress filled, expensive, hectic event. Instead, it can be a quiet beautiful spiritual experience where we remember our Lord’s birth and simply enjoy being.

This year, let’s resolve to enjoy the holiday and all the little joys, sorrows, and whatevers that happen to be. Be kind to ourselves and remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all.

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