Everything is different this year. I know that but different does not mean that we give up on the things that we love if we don't need to.
Like many others, I lost a lot this year. So I have decided that I would not lose out on my Christmas, as well. Growing up, we went all out for the holidays. Especially for Eid and Christmas. They are the biggest holidays in my world and I have adored them both since I was a child. For me, Christmas has always been all about family, good food, pretty decorations and of course, presents. So when I moved away from home and didn't have the opportunity to go back every year, I didn't really know what to do with myself in December. Thankfully, my husband and I have built our own traditions with our friends. That said, I always get homesick and emotional during this time of year and of course, this has been amplified this year because I've barely been around my friends and family.
So here are a few things that I have done ( or will do) that have helped me get in the Christmas spirit and avoid spiraling. I hope that they help you, too.
I know that some people feel silly decorating for Christmas so late, especially if they don't plan on entertaining but I promise you, it is worth it! Not only is the final result really nice to look at but also, the process will lift your spirits a little bit. Play some Christmas music while doing it and dance while you do it. Bonus points if you spend hours doing it because you just keep stopping to dance.
2. MAKE A CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST
Tidal, Spotify and Apple music do a good job with their playlists but no one can put all your favorites together like you can. My suggestion is to put all the Christmas songs that you can remember in a playlist and then listen to a bunch of other ones on your streaming platform and add new songs to your playlist. There are so many traditional songs that will take you back to your childhood but also a lot of great remixes that you can enjoy and dance to.
3. MAKE YOUR HOME SMELL LIKE CHRISTMAS
The nose is powerful. Our olfactory system is in the same part of the brain that effects emotions and memory so use it. Get some Christmas candles, soaps and lotions. I personally love diffusing essential oils in my home and during this time of year, I tend to lean towards peppermint oil or a mixture of rosemary and orange.
4. GET DRESSED UP
I'm sure you get the idea. Wear your flannel pajamas, a Christmas sweatshirt or onesie. Just get cozy in some comfortable clothes and enjoy. I don't know about you but I always feel better when I am wearing comfy clothes.
5. TWO WORDS: HOT BEVERAGES
Most coffee shops are closed but whipped cream, candy canes and all the other things that you need can be found at the grocery store or on Amazon prime. I love seating in the living room, in my red pajamas with my gorgeous tree and a nice mug of hot cocoa ( or peppermint mocha, or whatever drink you like- really).
6. ALL THE OTHER FOOD, TOO
I'm talking candy canes, roast beef, eggnog ( for those of you who like it), mikate and all the other good stuff. Decorate a gingerbread house, bake some Christmas cookies and take the time to decorate them. You'll have some tasty food to eat at the end of it and the process is fun.
7. CHRISTMAS ENTERTAINMENT
I usually try to read at least one or two holiday stories but this year, I read a lot of them because I wanted more Christmas in my life. Read more Christmas novels like Christmas Shopaholic or . Watch Christmas movies or movies like Die Hard or Harry Potter ( The setting is Christmas season). It might make you a little nostalgic but it will also put you in the Christmas spirit for sure.
8. USE TECHNOLOGY
We can't be with our loved ones physically but many of us are still lucky enough to have loved ones ALIVE. That means that we can call them and hear their voices, we can video chat with them and connect in some way. Have a Christmas party over Zoom and make sure everyone dresses up. Make a whole spread and eat during the meal. It will be different but it will still mean that you get to be together in some small way.
It's the season of giving! Give to your local foodbank, to your friends, to the homeless. Give your time or your money to worthwhile causes. It will warm your heart and it will do some good around you, as well.
10. BUY YOURSELF A GIFT
I know we tend to focus on giving gifts to our friends and family during the season but you need to remember that you are also a loved one. ( or you should be). So buy something nice for yourself. Even if it's a box of chocolate.
I hope that these things can be implemented in your life and if not, hang in there. You are not alone. Buy yourself a present- even if it's something small. Have a nice meal and do something that you enjoy.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.