9 Ways to get the Christmas spirit

Dec 2, 2009 at 12:45 p.m. ET

Just because the calendar says December and you are busily working down the holiday to do list (in addition to everything else you always do, of course) doesn't mean you necessarily "feel" in the holiday spirit. Sometimes making the transition from doing to true enjoyment of the season takes a real leap emotionally - even if you traditionally love this time of year.

Winter woman listening to music

No matter who you are and what your personality, everyone goes through times when the regular feels tougher than usual and the special is tougher than that. Some circumstance in your life may be affecting this feeling, or there's no real reason at all. It just is. Especially at the holiday season - and especially when the economy is still a little uncertain - this may be something you are experiencing. You may or may not be able to change the root causes of what is making you feel a bit less festive - but you can try, however, to jump start some spirit.

Put on some holiday music

Never underestimate the power of some upbeat holiday music! Keep it on regular rotation at home, in the car, and on your MP3 player. Before you know it, you may be dancing and singing right along with the music.

Stay organized - and prioritized

With so much to do, keeping organized is important. When you feel less than festive, it can be easy to let some things slide - but is that appropriate prioritization or will it just mean you'll have more to do later? While in some ways it makes sense to get things off your to do list (so there's more enjoyment time and less busy time#, you also need to prioritize carefully. What is the most important stuff to get done? When you do get parts of your list done, can you reward yourself in some way?

Check out our printable holiday wish list to help keep you organized!

Be social

You don't have to plan a party unless you want to, but meeting girlfriends for coffee or arranging a sitter so you can meet your sweetie out for a glass of wine can take the edge off some of the stress and less than festive feelings. Find time in your schedule for this - even if it's just thirty minutes or an hour away.


That's right, add something to your list! As much as ever, volunteers are needed in every aspect of charitable organizations. Make the time to help someone in need and you may feel the holiday spirit more powerfully than ever.

Get some fresh air and sunshine

Sunlight and fresh air make such a difference in a busy day. Make sure you are getting outside, stretching your legs and feeling the sun's warmth on your face.

Make some gifts

Bought gifts are great, of course, but homemade gifts are the best. If you are anything like me, you have plenty of craft items around the house from which to make some fun gifts. Help the kids make gifts for family and friends, or make something special for someone special yourself. Maybe you can only swing the time to make one gift this year, but that could be the start of a wonderful tradition: a special homemade gift for one person a year will, I bet, have family hoping that they are next in line for some of your skill and love.

Check out these 6 easy and fun homemade Christmas gift ideas.

Keep up with exercise and healthy eating

With all the treats around, it can be easy to fall into less than healthy eating habits. Treats are okay in moderation - and if you've made sure you have the healthy stuff first! It's the same message we give our kids! Similarly, it's important to keep up with your regular exercise routine during the holidays; regular exercise and healthy food have an impact on your mood and your energy level.

Get appropriate rest

More and more research points to the health benefits of appropriate sleep, so make sure you are getting yours! Protect your sleep time like you protect your exercise time and meal time. It should be non-negotiable that you get proper rest!

If none of that works

Sometimes none of that works and you feel like you are still just muddling through. Well, you may have to accept that in the short-term. Occasionally holidays are like that for many people - they just don't "feel" it in a given year. But if your mood doesn't take an upswing in the couple weeks after the holidays, it may be time to see your medical care provider for a talk about your health and your mood. Feeling out of sorts for an extended period may indicate depression, and you care provider can help you sort through the options for not feeling that way. Everyone deserves to have a happy holiday and a happy every day, including you!

For more tips on surviving the holidays:

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