Spreading Christmas Cheer
Don’t be a cotton headed ninny muggins. There’s room for everyone on the nice list! Spread Christmas cheer with these ten fun and festive steps from our favorite elf, Buddy.
Finding recipes for baking is so easy during Christmas! You can make cookies or pastries! I love being in the kitchen so I make a lot of Christmas goodies and hand them out to people at church, neighbors, and co-workers. It’s a great way to show a little appreciation for the people around you.
Explore little mom and pop shops around you – they tend to have delicious food and drinks (especially farms)!! I love walking around and finding little places to get yummy hot drinks to warm me up during the chilly season.
Let’s be honest, before Halloween is even over we see Christmas decorations in stores and even in our neighbors’ front yard! I always feel like Christmas over shadows the holidays prior to it but by Black Friday I say BRING IT ON CHRISTMAS! Although it can be a lengthy process, decorating can be a lot of fun! Take the time to go shopping for decorations; it can be pricey but some places like Target and The Christmas Tree Shop has decent prices. Decorate your front lawn with lights and blow up characters! Hang a wreath on your door. This is a great way to spend time with family and friends as well. My mom and I do this every year while my dad just makes hot chocolate – which is much appreciated (thanks for the semi-participation pops)! We listen to Christmas music or put on a Christmas special like Charlie Brown and we decorate the inside of the house with garland and stick-ons for the windows. We get a GINORMOUS tree and decorate that too! Thankfully we don’t fight about who gets to put the star on the tree anymore. It’s really a great bonding experience and now my boyfriend joins us as well!! It just makes me even more grateful to have them in my life.
Try to have fun with everything, everywhere you go! Positivity looks good on anyone. Have fun when you run simple errands like grocery shopping or decorating. When was the last time you actually played in the snow? Not shovel, not dig out your car but play. Go out and frolic in the snow! Look at the winter wonderland around you and forget being an adult for a second. Channel your inner child and make a snow angel or build a snowman! You can have fun even doing something you don’t want to do. You just have to be open to it – I know easier said than done but try. I even make Christmas shopping fun even though it could get super stressful!! Get out your notebook and pen, put of your favorite Christmas playlist, and list who you need to get presents for and what you want to get them. Even set up a price range so you don’t go over budget. Whatever you do have fun and don’t stress the well…stress!
Christmas also means gifts and presents! Gifts from family and friends, people at work, and of course Santa! But unfortunately Santa doesn’t come to everyone. Some families can’t afford all the lavish presents and surprises that others get. Some families can’t afford a Christmas dinner. Some people may not even have family to celebrate with. So let’s spread Christmas cheer by being grateful for the little things in life. Although you may not get what you asked for, you did receive something. Which means someone cared about you enough to spend what they had on you. Be grateful for less traffic one day on your way home. Be grateful that you turn on the TV and your favorite part of Elf just happened to be on. Even be grateful for bagels at work. Appreciate what you have because there are people out there that don’t have what you have….even the things you don’t realize you have.
Personally I love to smile! I smile all the time; I consider them contagious. But during this special time of year they become MEGA contagious. The holidays can be stressful...just ask my mom. Money is extremely tight for people; maybe they want to get something for their family and can’t afford it. Stores are heavily crowded, there’s always traffic. The “most wonderful time of the year” is not that wonderful. But when you flash that smile to a store clerk or just a person that looks like they’re having a rough time it can really brighten up their day. So I take it upon myself to smile at everyone! Whether they look like they need it or not – just one smile can change other’s mood. Then it’s a chain reaction. That person won’t go home with a nasty attitude and will smile with their family who in turn will smile to their friends and so on and so on. Even just wearing fun Christmas sweaters can spread cheer! It's a little thing that you don't really think of but everyone can enjoy it. I have a lot of Christmas sweaters with Elf quotes on it (shoutout to DentzDenim) and I always get at least one comment or compliment. It makes people smile just by looking at what you're wearing! One smile can change the world.
This has to be my favorite line in the entire Elf movie! You know Christmas is here just by the Christmas music – even though it starts waaay too early sometimes. Come December 1st my car only knows Christmas music, I even have a playlist! Sometimes people won’t get into my car during this time because it’s Christmas music 24/7 NO EXCEPTIONS!! I love it – it definitely puts you in the mood for everything Christmas. It just makes me feel like a better person. If I’m in a bad mood I just put on a Christmas song (preferably Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by N’Sync) and I feel ten times better.
At my church, we take the kids Christmas caroling and that’s a lot of fun for the children, adults, and even the people that we’re singing to. Sometimes the people will even sing along and give us treats like candy or cookies.
Here at JAM, we get to listen to music every Friday throughout the office. Clearly during this time we choose Christmas music! Thank you Pandora. Sing with your friends and co-workersand get into the Christmas spirit.
Wherever you decide to sing, sing at the top of your lungs and let everyone hear!!
By the week in November I’m making my list of winter activities that I want to do. Making plans can really get you into the Christmas spirit! This is when you go on websites like Pinterest or your favorite blogs like JAM to get ideas for crafts or baking. I love crafting during this time with friends and peppermint hot chocolate. You can make something for decorations or for the tree or even a little something to put on your desk at work! If you’re a little low on money you can craft lovely Christmas gifts.
This time of year makes me feel a little more giving so I donate and volunteer a lot. We have to remember that even though we may have food and a roof over our heads there are families out there that don’t have that luxury. I often help make care packages or help serve food at a shelter. Again flash that lovely smile of yours and brighten up their day!
Along with gifts comes wrapping!!! Take a day or two to sit down relax and wrap your presents. Don’t be lazy, use festive gift wrapping paper to liven up your gifts for friends and family. I usually set up a nice, clean workspace away from people (no previews for Christmas), put on some Christmas music and start wrapping! If your gifts are oddly shaped you can use delightful gift bag and tissue paper. When you’re all done, use labels or gift tags to write your tos and froms. Don’t forget to dress up your wrapping and gift bags with bows!
My personal favorite part of making plans is going on adventures!! Although there's nothing better then getting cozy by the fireplace and watching Christmas movies with a nice hot chocolate, I absolutely love planning to go see the huge tree in Rockefeller Center! Then you can make a day out of it and explore the city – there’s always new restaurants and something to do! I’ve always wanted to go on a reindeer sleigh ride! One – so I can see a reindeer and two – because it’s a childhood dream of mine! Last year I wasn’t able to do it but this year I am on it! Planning will definitely be my best friend this holiday season!!
Compliments can be tricky. I, myself, tend to get really awkward with compliments. I end up saying things like “thanks! I like your face!” or “thanks! I got it from target for ten bucks!” My favorite is when I state the obvious. If someone says they like my shirt I’ll say “there’s a cat on it!” – obviously Jess, get it together. I just don’t handle it well. But although I get a little weird, it does make me feel good about myself! Compliment your mom, dad, or your friends. You can even compliment a stranger! You don’t have to be an obnoxious complimenter…or if you’re really digging deep to find something nice to say don’t do it! Be genuine. If you’re in a coffee shop and your order came out spectacular tell the barista “this is the best coffee I’ve ever had”. Or if you’re walking around your neighborhood and you see nice decorations, it’s okay to tell the owners of the house “wow! You’re bringing the neighborhood Christmas spirit with these decorations!” It’s nice to let people know that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
The world is filled with so much hate and war. Sometimes it feels like that’s all we have – we can never get away from it. But there are good people in the world too. People filled with love and peace. This particular time of the year brings out the best in everyone. Look at the people in your life. Let’s be honest – some of them you look at and you’re like “why are you here”. You don’t hate that person, you may dislike them but hate…no. Everyone is in your life for a reason. Tell your family and friends that you love them; let them know you appreciate them just being there. Because they may not always be there and you don’t want to miss your chance to let them know you love them dearly.
Think back to when you were a kid. You were good all year long just so you didn’t get coal in your stocking Christmas morning – although that happened to me once…naughty list. Christmas is magical! The gifts that just appear under the tree on Christmas morning - it could have only been Santa! But we grow up – we realize that it was our parents buying all the gifts or that adults could really hear the silver bells ringing. Then it becomes just another stressful holiday. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and I choose not to grow up. I choose to not have adulthood ruin my favorite holiday and you can too! Yeah, we have more responsibilities, more expectations – embrace it! How much cooler is it that we can work on our own time instead of our parents?! Treat every day as if you are a child on Christmas morning! The magic of Christmas is still all around us! It’s in the smiles that you receive, the gleam in someone’s yes when they get a nice hot meal. Magic is in the decorations all around and in the happiness that you share with your friends and family. Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean we have to lose the meaning of Christmas. Enjoy it, just as you would years ago. Sometimes it’s okay to be a kid – don’t let that magic disappear!
Like Buddy, we are humans that appreciate the Elf culture!! Enjoy this time of the year – it goes so fast that Christmas morning will be here and gone before you know it!! Spread Christmas cheer to everyone you come across. It doesn’t only bring happiness to the people you meet but it also brings joy to your own heart. Happy Holidays!!