These Are a Few of My Favorite (Christmas) Things: A Mega-List of Things to Jumpstart Holiday Cheer

The Christmas spirit is owned by no one. You can’t summon it up. It “comes and goes as it pleases.”

That said, you can do your part to make a home for it. This Christmas, here is my mega-list of all the things you can choose to do to prepare yourself for a wonderful holiday:

  • Giving to others: Obvious, right? “It is in the giving that we receive. . .”
  • Dancing: Swing someone around the Christmas tree, try a square dance, or fake a waltz – but move to the music of the season. It’s enjoyed best that way.
  • Planning surprises: Get competitive about (pleasantly) surprising people.
  • Playing games: Gather round a table and play a card game, a guessing game, or a board game. Be willing to play along and enjoy where it goes.
  • Mulled wine: It’s hard to mess this beverage up. Fruit, spices, sugar, and wine will bring the aroma of Christmas to your home and warm up your guests.
  • Hand-written notes: Write someone a message they can keep and treasure (or read one that has been meaningful to you). (Credit to the FEE article which proposed this).
  • Jingle bells: Add jingle sounds to things. Hang jingle bells on your door, pin them to your jacket, or even hang them on your briefcase.
  • Baked goods: Pies, cakes, bread – as long as its homemade, it’s holiday. Bake things with love, and eat them (or share them) likewise.
  • Greenery: Scrounge up the branches and berries of evergreen Christmas and decorate the nooks and crannies of your home.
  • Making breakfast together: Making breakfast with someone is one of the best possible ways to bond. Serve up great big helpings of bacon and other breakfast foods to folks (preferably to the tune of a great playlist) and you’ll find yourself in the mood for Xmas.
  • Model trains: You’re never too old for trains.
  • Volunteering: Go make someone’s Christmas better. If you can, do it with friends and have fun with it. This year I had a blast sorting out gifts donated to a gift drive alongside my coworkers.
  • Printed photos: Hold in your hands the memories you’ve made over the years. These make great gifts as well.
  • Vintage movies: Watch old films (or new films) that bring about the feeling of old Christmases or old worlds before the tired cynicism of everyday culture.
  • Santa/elf hats: Play the part and dress the part of jollity by wearing those cheap Santa or elf hats at parties, or on holiday mornings. It will make you look silly, but you will put others at ease and into the spirit.
  • Ice skating: Take a girl or guy ice skating with you, or hone your craft solo.
  • Christmas carols: Listen to all of the songs of hope and expectation from the Christian season of Advent. “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, o Israel!”
  • Naps: The holidays are a good time for hibernation and rest. Allow yourself to enjoy time in dreamland.
  • Old photos and videos: Revisit old memories with friends and family. Remember who you used to be and be grateful for where you were and where you’ve come.
  • Taking pictures: Break out the DSLR (or your old polaroid) and capture great faces and moments you love.
  • Revisiting old friends: Have meaningful conversations with people you haven’t seen in ages. Thank people who have had an influence on your life, and swap stories on how you have grown.
  • Sharing prayer: If prayer (of any kind) is a thing for you, hold hands with others and share that prayer.
  • Candles: Turn off the bright lights of modernity and travel back in time – dine and sleep, etc. by candlelight.
  • Dogs: My brother has an annoyingly enthusiastic and feisty Golden Retriever who, nonetheless, adds to the holiday atmosphere. Welcome animals graciously.
  • Brown paper packages tied up with string: You can’t beat the Sound of Music‘s prescribed way of wrapping gifts. These are quite fun challenges.
  • Big band music: Most great popular Christmas songs come from the swing era of American music. Embrace the sound that dominated music from the 20s through the 60s.
  • Fires: Warm yourself with wood heat, and warm your other senses, too: crackling logs for the ears, dancing flames for the eyes, burning wood for the nose.
  • Candlelight church services: Travel back in time and share in age-old Christmas mass traditions. Sing “Silent Night” in the original German. Drip wax on yourself and your neighbor. Try not to burn down the church.
  • Celtic and country Christmas songs: Break out the fiddles and flutes and pipes and banjos. Get in the mood for a country/traditional Christmas by listening to the Celtic and bluegrass renditions of your favorite holiday songs.

Intellectual Influences: Definitely The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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