Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Just because we're celebrating the holidays a little differently this year doesn't mean we can't keep it festive! Here is a list of 7 things that may brighten the season for any celebratory occasion.
1) Creative Connection You might not be able to see all the usual folks at your holiday this year, but that doesn't mean you can't stay in touch! The tried and true phone calls, zoom calls, and hand written letters are a few ways to reach out to the ones you love during this time. Other ways to connect might include dropping off presents at a friend's doorstep, surprising relatives with caroling, or making handmade gifts for an extra personal touch.
2) New Traditions The annual family cookie bake is cancelled and the white elephant gift exchange with your pals too! You may feel disappointed when you can't partake in these festivities as usual. I also see this as an opportunity to try something new. Creating new, meaningful ways to get into the holiday spirit can bring joy in ways you didn't consider before. Perhaps you've never decorated a gingerbread house before or didn't have time to watch the new holiday movie you saw an ad for. Make a list of new things to try and pencil them in on the calendar leading up to the holidays. You can explore different ways to celebrate and who knows...they may even become cherished memories that turn into new traditions for years to come.
3) Festive Comforts Think of your favorite parts of the holidays that you can continue or recreate at home. If you love decorating, consider buying or making a new piece to adorn the house with. If you enjoy listening to holiday tunes, then do more of it to foster a sense of holiday wellbeing. Maybe you love your aunt's homemade desserts but you're not getting together this holiday. Perhaps she can send you the recipe or drop some off for you. Do more of whatever brings you peace and joy this holiday season to reignite that holiday feeling.
4) A Simple Celebration
Chances are your get togethers this year will be smaller and more laid back than years past. This is a chance to embrace restoration and relaxation compared to the hustle and bustle of the usual holiday activities. We all know 2020 has been a stressful year and the holidays can be a stressful time for some as well. Creating space to take it down a notch for this holiday season may be just what you need. Simplicity can be whatever that means for you. Whether you're making a homemade meal, ordering catering, or ordering a pizza for the holidays - if it speaks to you - go with it!
5) The Gift of Giving
The saying goes "tis better to give than to receive". If you're not feeling that one, consider this instead. Have you ever had a stranger pay for your coffee as you were making your way through the drive thru? What tone does that set as you go on to the rest of your day? Chances are you felt happy by this kind gesture. You don't necessarily need to spend money to give to others either. Donating items you no longer need or simply saying hi to a passerby while on a walk are easy ways to give to others and that feels good for us too.
6) Walking in a Winter Wonderland
We all have been spending more time at home than usual this year. A change of scenery can do wonders when you are feeling blah. I recommend doing outdoor activities regularly like walking, sledding, or ice skating. Physical activity also boosts endorphins in our brains which helps with our sense of wellbeing. If you don't feel like bundling up in the cold, consider dancing to upbeat holiday songs at home to get moving.
7) Just "Okay" Holiday
Feelings of disappointment, frustration, or sadness may arise over the holidays - especially at the end of a year like 2020. If you're just not feeling it this year, giving yourself permission to have a just "okay" holiday can bring some peace about the holidays not being what they usually are. This holiday season doesn't have to be magical - and it's okay to experience the holidays however you do. My hope is that with these suggestions, you will be able to foster some feel good holiday moments in the mix.
If you need a boost to get into the holiday spirit this year, I encourage you to try some of the suggestions listed above. Let me know how the experience was for you. From my family to yours, I'm wish you and your family a wonderful holiday.
Jessica M. Photography is an Arlington Heights, IL photographer who also happens to be a personal development enthusiast. She photographs weddings, events, personal branding, seniors, and families in the Northwest Suburbs including Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Northbrook, Barrington, Schaumburg, Mount Prospect, Glenview, Deerfield, Vernon Hills, Park Ridge and more throughout Lake and Cook County in Illinois.
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