This time of the year is always meant to be a warm, happy one, to be shared with those closest to you. And while Christmas can be a wonderful time, it’s also one of the periods of the year with the highest depression rates. Getting into the holidays spirit is not always easy, and while I can’t claim to hold the answer to someone else’s happiness, I can share a few ideas with you that might help get you there:
Bake something. This is one of my favorite things to do year around, but even more so around Christmas. I have fond memories of baking with my mom growing up, and the holidays will forever smell like vanilla, almonds and chocolate to me. And while I know not everybody loves being in the kitchen, I’m sure you have at least one amateur baker among your friends, so turn it into a fun night in! Did anybody say home made eggnog and delicious cookies?
Get crafty. A DIY project can be loads of fun and it can help you focus and unwind if you’re mentally exhausted. Keep it as simple or as complex as you want, and try your hand at making some charming Christmas decorations. You can certainly do this by yourself, but it’s even more fun when you get your friends or family involved too. And if you don’t know where to even get started, I might have some inspiration for you in my latest Youtube video.
Strole around the city. Most places are done up to the nines right now with Christmas lights, wreaths, huge Christmas trees and all sorts of decorations. A walk around town in the fresh air, with a glass of glühwein in one hand and a piece of gingerbread in the other might just do the trick.
Most of the large department stores also have gorgeous Christmas windows that will spark your imagination and festive spirit. If you’re in Amsterdam, don’t miss out on the Bijenkorf’s, and if you’re strolling through London, make sure to get a look at Harrod’s, House of Frasier and Harvey Nichols. For Parisians, I recommend the Galeries Lafayette and pretty much the whole of Champs Elysees.
Be more present. This is something to do anytime actually, but especially around the holidays. Be aware of all the things you have going for you in your life, give gratitude, and take a breather. Give the gift of time to your loved ones and to yourself- it’s the one that means the most in the end.
If you visit your grandparents, have an actual conversation and share some laughs instead of constantly being on your phone. Take the time to get lost in a captivating book, cuddled under a blanket, mug of hot chocolate nearby. Switch off your e-mail notifications or turn you phone off and have a fun game night with your loved ones. It will help you feel more connected and more content, and allow you to enjoy this time of the year more.
Do something nice for someone else. There is never a shortage of ways you can help those around you, so just look around and be perceptive! Is your friend coming down with a bad flu and could use a home cooked meal and some entertainment? Perhaps you have a soup kitchen or an elderly home that could use volunteers around this time. Even just donating some thick clothes that you’re not using anymore could help someone in need. And while these aren’t things we should do only around the holidays, it’s certainly a good time to become more aware of how we can give back.
These are just a handful of things you can do for a more meaningful and truly jolly Christmas. I would love to hear what you get up to around the holidays, and hope my suggestions were helpful. Until next time, have a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!