For others, “Bah humbug!” isn’t strong enough to
express the anxiety that is already taking over their lives as the
holiday season is fast approaching.
No matter which response you choose, the holidays will soon be upon
us and it’s up to each one of us to put our own “Happy” in the
We’ve all read the articles with obvious ideas for being happy
during the holidays:
1. Make a budget and stick to it; don’t spend more than you can
afford. Making gifts or sharing experiences can be a positive
alternative to spending money on presents.
2. You can’t do it all so give yourself a break. Is there a holiday
tradition causing you stress year after year? Maybe it’s time to let
it go. Adjust your expectations to avoid disappointment; you can’t
control how others behave, but you can control how you respond to
their behavior. If necessary, take time-out from celebrating with
others by running an errand or going for a walk.
3. Take care of yourself. It’s easy to overindulge, physically and
emotionally during the holidays. Be sure to eat properly, exercise,
and get enough sleep. Schedule quiet time amid the hustle and bustle
of shopping and parties and family activities.
4. Volunteer for an animal shelter, nursing home, orphanage, soup
kitchen, or charitable organization, which are always in need of
extra help over the holidays.
“It is better to give than to receive” is an old saying with ancient
roots from the Bible, Torah, and the Quran, all encouraging
individuals to help others. Helping others has been proven to
relieve stress in the body and allows you to put others first,
creating a feeling of lasting joy.
Maybe, just maybe, there are some simple ways to find happiness in
1. Start preparing early for the holidays. Fill your home with the
scents of the holidays: pumpkin and apple cider for Thanksgiving,
pine and gingerbread or cinnamon rolls for Christmas, and champagne
and chocolate for New Years. Watch movies like Holiday Inn, A
Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Polar Express, or
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; the list is endless.
2. Accomplish something with your family or friends. It can be as
easy as putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Find a safe area to leave
it out so that every time someone walks by they can put a piece or
two in place. In no time the puzzle will be something everyone can
3. Make simple traditions that your family can share: Wearing
pajamas while you survey Christmas lights around the community,
reading a favorite Christmas book like The Polar Express before
opening presents, reading the account of the Nativity before the
Christmas meal, or singing Christmas carols to wake up the kids on
4. Holidays can be stressful, and we often make a habit of blaming
others for our unhappiness. Instead, set an expectation to be happy.
Let go of obligation and guilt, create a gratitude journal, and set
your problems aside for a little bit. Construct a “Fun Things to Do”
advent calendar especially for your loved ones that focuses on
kindness, laughter and love.
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Happiness is a temporary state of mind and many
believe that meaningful activities and relationships are what truly
make us happy.
So, this holiday season, no matter how
you spend the holidays or who you are with, focus on things that
really mean something to you: loved ones, work success, creative
projects, or helping others.
Spending time pursuing meaningful activities can keep you grounded
during the holidays and produce real joy instead of fleeting
Some people believe that “Happy Holidays” is a way to replace “Merry
Christmas” or “Happy Hannukah.” Maybe that’s true for some, but for
others it’s a way to express cheer and goodwill no matter your
religious beliefs or holiday traditions.
“Happy Holidays” is a saying that can be used for any holiday at any
time of the year.
Perhaps Irving Berlin had the best idea. He penned
the words introduced on New Year’s Eve in the film Holiday Inn in
“Happy Holiday, Happy Holiday,
May the calendar keep bringing
Happy holidays to you!”
Whether it’s a time of magic or something a little less exciting to
look forward to, you can take action to make the holidays less
stressful and more rewarding. Choose an old idea that you’ve heard
before and a new one that you’ve never tried, arming yourself with
positive measures, so that you can truly find “happy” in your
holidays this year.