I will be the first to admit...I LOVE CHRISTMAS.
It is far and above my favorite time of year. The twinkly lights. The hot chocolate. The giving spirit that is all around. The family time. And TRADITIONS.
I am a sucker for traditions. And growing up, we had soo many traditions. And each and every single one of them would fill my heart with so much joy. Going to pick out the tree with my Dad. Listening to the Ella Fitzgerald Christmas cd while we decorated the tree. Baking shortbread cookies with my mom. The new matching pjs on Christmas eve. Pancakes for breakfast Christmas morning. Dinner with the whole family on Christmas. Boxing Day shopping (yeahhhh Canada) ... it was the BEST.
And after graduating college, I found those traditions slowly slipping away. I'm from Toronto and while Chicago isn't a bajillion hours away, it's far enough away that going home for a weekend isn't super easy to do. A couple of years ago, I couldn't even make it home for Christmas because I was in a show that ran right through the holidays. And last year, I spent Christmas at my in-laws. So it's safe to say that the traditions I grew up knowing largely went out the window.
At first, I was heartbroken. And honestly, it's only been the past year or so of my life (since I started regularly doing personal development) that I shifted my perspective and found JOY in the holiday again. Because, as I've learned, when you choose to place your energy and thoughts on the positive things of life -- when you CREATE the kind of experience you so crave -- you can have what you feel like you're missing on your own terms! :)
So, here are my top 5 ways to make the Holidays feel special:
1. Make new traditions
When I wasn't able to make it home for Christmas a couple of years back, I moped around for weeks. I was sad. No cookie making, christmas tree decorating, pj opening christmas.
SO instead, I decided to make the most of it and since it was the first Christmas that Kev and I were spending together as a family, we decided that a great way to make it exciting was to make NEW traditions! And that's when our ornament tradition began.
Every year, we find an ornament to add to our collection. The ornament we pick represents the year we had together -- last year, we got a "Our First Home" ornament since we had just bought our place! This year, I'm sure it will have to be a dog ornament of some kind ;)
So find something new and exciting and build it into your Holiday traditions! :)
2. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon
This one is KEY for me to feel like it's Christmas. So grab a girlfriend or your hubby and park yourselves on the couch, turn the sparkly lights on, grab some homemade hot cocoa and have a snuggly night in.
My personal faves? The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas and Love Actually :)
3. Celebrate the Holiday Locally
There are TONS of festive celebrations that happen all over and I'm sure there are some super fun ones in your city/town!
Chicago is filled with fun little things but our all time favorite thing to do is go to the Christkindlemarket -- there's a giant tree that's all lit up and booths with Christmas treats, ornaments, gifts and all the gluvine (aka mulled wine -- DELICIOUS) you could want! It's a really cute thing to do and we have so much fun going every year.
4. Get your Bake on!
Something about baking really gets me in the Christmas mood :)
5. Surround yourself with people you LOVE
When it comes down to it, the holidays are really a time to spend with those you love most in the world. So make TIME for the people that matter to you. Because that's what the holidays are all about, right?
So spend this month sharing the love.
Make girlfriend dates. Call your Mom. Send homemade cards to your faraway friends.
If that doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will ;)
What are YOUR favorite traditions? I would love to hear! Share in the comments below!