After the presents have been opened, the carols have been sung, and the festivities of Christmas day are over, most of us tuck our Christmas spirit along with Christmas tree. To me the Spirit of Christmas is about spending quality family time doing what you love with who you love. You don’t need a tree and carols to bring good cheer to your family. You can keep that warm family togetherness year round.
During the holiday season our smiles are just a little wider, our handshakes a touch heartier, our purse strings a tad looser, and our creative juices overflow. We expend a lot of energy towards making this festive season memorable and enjoyable. Wouldn’t it be nice to spread some of the cheer throughout the year? It’s possible to keep the Christmas spirit alive long after the tree is dead—and we can encourage our kids to help out in these endeavors, too!
Staying in a Christmas state of mind for twelve months of the year is probably unrealistic. Let’s be honest: we can’t be carol-singing, gift-giving little elves all year long. But there are a few elements of the holiday season that we can keep with us throughout the year, giving every day a chance to have just a bit of the magic that comes along with Christmas Day. Here are some of the best ways to keep the spirit alive every day of the year:
Focus on what you have. The holiday season often reminds of all that we have to be thankful for: our friends, family, and the collective joy many of us experience at this time of year. If we keep that feeling of appreciation with us all year long, we’ll prolong the wonder of Christmas on a daily basis. The trick is to focus on what you have, not what you want. Through the year, whenever you find yourself thinking, “I wish I had…” replace that with, “I’m so thankful I have…”
Know what really matters. At Christmas—at least on Christmas Day!—most of us prioritize matters most: spending time with those we love and celebrating a season that means something to us. During the rest of the year, it can be hard to keep our priorities straight with all of the various aspects of life vying for our attention, but when you bring yourself back to what matters most, you make the most of every day.
Treat strangers with kindness. At Christmastime, people are often a bit kinder, merely based on the fact that it’s Christmas. Treating others with kindness—especially those you don’t know, and especially those who don’t necessarily treat you with kindness—is a wonderful way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive every single day of the year. When someone bothers you, imagine how you would treat him or her if it were Christmas Day.
Look for the good. Christmas is a time for taking note of things we love—the people we care about, the gifts wrapped just for us—and it’s also a time for noticing special things—the little traditions, the pretty, glittery decorations.The season brings out a sense of childlike wonder. Trying to embrace that wonderment all year long, by looking for good bits in every day, is another great way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive.
Charity. Likewise, while we tend to be more charitable during the holidays, our help is needed all year long. Consider serving meals during the long, hot summer or donating much needed items, such as toiletries, household goods, and toys monthly. Financial gifts are always welcome. Your nickels and quarters from bottle deposits can add up to significant assistance to many organizations.
Get involved. Just about everyone in our small town gathers in the Center for the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Festivities kick off with performances and presentations by the high school band, the local school for performing arts, and the Chamber of Commerce. At dusk, fireworks explode overhead to herald the opening of the holiday season. But your involvement in community activities does not have to be limited to festive holiday occasions. Get involved in programs which have a positive impact on your city. Join your neighbors in clean-up and improvement projects, attend municipal meetings and support local initiatives.
Crafting. Christmas crafts are available throughout the year, but even if you prefer to adapt your creativity to each season, homemade decorations and gifts brighten the darkest winter day. And they are a great hobby for every member of the family.
Keep the holiday spirit alive all through the year as you celebrate the joy of being with family, trying new things, giving to others and becoming a little better every day. Let this holiday season be a starting off point for renewed commitment to your loved ones. After all, you get a new Christmas every year, but you only get one family.