I love the holiday season, but as an adult with a full-time job and responsibilities, I feel unable to naturally unleash my Christmas cheer like I did as a child. I have to try harder to be aware of and fully experience this time of year.
In order words, I have to be intentional about feeling festive, which is unlike Christmastime during childhood. This is probably due to the stress and busyness that can come at this time of year. And so, I think now is one of the best times to practice being present in activities that can bring joy.
Children are experts at being in the moment and exuding merriment. Here are 5 suggestions I have to seize and embrace the holiday spirit with the gusto of a child:
Decorate like Buddy the Elf
It is impossible not to feel a touch of glee when you come home and plug in strands of string lights. If you’re feeling particularly grinchy this year, don’t be afraid to go over the top. I live in a studio apartment and have 7 strands of lights lining the walls, 3 mini Christmas trees, plus lights and a tree on my balcony. When I come home from work, I don’t need any lights on except my Christmas lights. The vibes are warm and cozy. Next step: paper snowflakes.
Watch Your Favorite Holiday Flick
If you haven’t watched any holiday movies yet, it’s time. Turn one on, and turn your phone off. Dedicate your night to the viewing and focus on the film. Suggestions: Elf, Christmas Vacation, Holiday Inn, Meet Me in St. Louis, White Christmas, Love Actually, Christmas in Connecticut, Charlie Brown Christmas. I would say It’s a Wonderful Life, but I save that one for Christmas Eve. Preferably watch your choice with a cup of hot cocoa or cider in hand.
Indulge in a Christmas Activity
If you’re in Nashville, go to Cheekwood Holiday Lights where you can stay warm with a festive cocktail and stroll through their gorgeous display. Or perhaps their Holiday Afternoon Tea suits you, in which you can sip wintertime teas and munch on tasty treats provided by Crumb de la Crumb Bakery.
Go to a Festive Show
My three top picks are the It’s a Wonderful Life viewings at the Belcourt, Home Alone in concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and Nashville’s Nutcracker at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. Get your tickets for these shows now because they are all likely to sell out! Each one is sure to get you in the Christmas mood.
Take a Drive
When I was little, my dad used to drive me around to look at Christmas lights. These days, I forget to do this – I never just “go for a drive,” but am always driving from point A to point B. Go out one night with the simple goal of viewing holiday decorations. It’s an experience that’s sure to stir up some childhood memories and Christmas nostalgia.
How’s your holiday spirit? Hopefully these tips get you feeling a little more like post-Clarence George Bailey. And if you didn’t catch that reference, go watch It’s a Wonderful Life right now.