It’s already been said, but this has been a tough year for everyone. People are ready for a bit of reprieve and some joy to relieve the stress of the uncertainties and restraints that have been weighing us all down in one way or another. Whether or not it’s been said with words, our actions have displayed we need a little Christmas. This year not only are stores marketing for Christmas early, but we’ve seen friends and neighbors start decorating for Christmas earlier than ever before- some people even decorating who never really decorated in the past!
We’re all getting in line for that “cup of cheer” that Burle Ives sang about in “Holly, Jolly Christmas.” So, in response to that, and in the spirit of the season, we wanted to come up with some ideas for handing out cups of cheer and enjoying some warm mugs of your own, as well! Some of these ideas are more geared toward your community, while others are geared towards friends, and still others towards you and your families. But we think that all of these “cups of cheer” will help you to forget your own troubles, at least for a while, and have a hollier, jollier Christmas.
1. Decorate! (If you haven’t already.) Decorating and stringing lights not only brings cheer to you and your family, but everyone who goes by your house will feel their spirits lift when they see a festive display. It doesn’t have to be a huge display, but even something done simply and tastefully can bring great pleasure to look at. Especially if you add a little bit of Christmas lights. There is something about light that draws all of us and fills us with awe and wonder at its beauty.
2. Now that you’ve decorated, go for a driver around town and enjoy other people’s decorations and light displays. But don’t compare your display with theirs. Just take time to enjoy the work and effort each resident has put in making their home more cheerful and festive, including the residents of your own home.
3. Play secret Santa with the elderly who have been sheltered in their homes or in nursing homes since March. Many of these people are terribly lonely and the thought of someone remembering them and giving them a little gift or a Christmas card could be just the cup of cheer they need to make it through the holidays while separated from their loved ones.
4. Go caroling with your family. Choose a handful of your favorite Christmas songs, and carol to your neighbors and at the windows of nursing home residents.
5. Shop local for Christmas gifts and other supplies you need. So many local businesses are struggling to survive. Each of those businesses represent not only an owner and his family, but employees and their families, and the well-being of the community. (If you missed our post about how shopping local helps your local community, check it out here!)
6. Cherish the little things, enjoy the simple things. During the Great Depression, a child was counted lucky to get an orange in his stocking on Christmas day. An orange was an extra-special delicacy back then, and during a time that found many families standing in the soup line, folks were very grateful for the little things they could get. Think of the little things during this season that you get to enjoy. Is it a cup of hot cocoa with peppermint and marshmallows? Savor it gratefully. Are presents going to have to be from the Dollar Store this year because of being out of work? Enjoy the simple things. (As a child, my favorite Christmas happened to be the same year that my dad lost his job in the downturn of the economy. At the time, I loved these iced oatmeal cookies from the Dollar Store, and so my parents got me a pack of those along with some other things they thought I would enjoy. That Christmas is still my favorite with those gifts meaning more to me than any others. I still remember being excited and touched with my parents’ love and creativity- even when money was in short supply.) Don’t take anything for granted- and remember, no matter what the commercials say, things can’t make you happy.
7. Campout under the Christmas tree. This is fun, magical and totally free! Pop some popcorn, grab some cocoa and tell Christmas stories around the tree. If you have a creative family, let each person tell a Christmas story of their own making. If you live alone, still campout under the tree and listen to a Christmas tale as you admire the pretty tree.
8. Show extra love to those you love. Regardless of whether you’re able to celebrate in person with family, or remotely via Skype or Zoom, let your friends and family know that they are loved and not taken for granted. If it means sending them a little treat in the mail, or a homemade card or gift that you know they would appreciate, then do it.
We hope that these ideas are helpful and make your spirits bright! May you and yours have a splendid Christmas season!
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