Photo Credit: Willie L. Stewart.
The Holiday season is filled with festive parties, family gatherings and holiday good cheer, but not everyone enjoys this time of year. The holidays are particularly difficult for individuals who have experienced the breakup of a relationship or the recent loss of a loved one or job. For a college student who is unable to travel home for the winter break or a person who may be estranged from family members, the holiday period can be challenging as well.
Empower Magazine has prepared a brief list of tips for infusing your own brand of cheer into the holidays.
1. Give the Gift of Your Time. If you have lost a job, are on a budget or just don’t want to get caught up in the commercialism that often takes center stage during the holidays, then use your creativity to create a special gift card that allows you to share your time or talent with others. For instance, instead of traditional gift giving, offer to babysit for a family member or cook a special meal or agree to organize photos into a special scrapbook. Take your unique gift a step further and share the gift of appreciation by writing a personalized note to share what makes that person special to you. Put a shiny bow on your special “Gift of You” gift card to add a special holiday touch.
2. Create a “Thanksgiving” List. Instead of getting caught up in the frenzy of shopping and spending money, pause to create a list of things that you are thankful for. Hang the list on your refrigerator to remind you of the good things in your life that you may often overlook. Or for a good read, pick up Leon Jenkins’ new book, “I Woke Up This Morning,” which shares great insights on how adopting a spirit of gratefulness and thanksgiving can make a difference on your perspective and outlook on life.
3. Watch Your Favorite Movie(s). If spending time with crowds of people makes you want to flee the scene, free yourself from the expectations of others and do something that is enjoyable to you. Taking “ME” time during a season when others are flocking to parties and galas may seem odd, but knowing when to break away and refuel is important. Rent your favorite movie(s) and enjoy the emotional release it gives you. It may be a comedy, sci-fi thriller or perhaps, a DVD series of your favorite television show.
4. Have Lunch with a Good Friend. Call up a good friend and choose a place to eat that you both enjoy. Use the event to catch up on old times and talk about things that can uplift your mood. Bring an old photo album and reflect on shared memories. Use this time to reconnect and create new memories. Or, perhaps try something uniquely different when it come to lunch with a good friend; enjoy a very sociable “Phone Lunch” where you and your friend cook your favorite meal and connect over the phone while eating your “most excellent” creation and sharing an enjoyable experience of good full-hardy conversation – “Try it, you might like it!”
5. Dress Up and Party. Sometimes stepping out and joining in festive times with others can release stress and give you an opportunity to enjoy letting your hair down and having fun. And there is no quicker way to lift your mood than by putting on your best holiday attire and tripping the light fantastic! If you are the life of the party you may not need any encouragement to do what comes natural, but make it a night to remember, not an evening to forget, by not overindulging in the festive mood. If you are a natural introvert, use it as a stretching moment to develop yourself and engage in the holiday mood with others, remember, it is not that serious, so relax and enjoy!
6. Pay Tribute to a Loved One’s Memory. It may seem like the opposite of infusing cheer into the holidays, but if you are mourning a loss, you may feel forced to ignore the emotions in order to fit into the prevailing holiday atmosphere. But taking time to reflect and pay tribute to a family member who has gone on, can provide healing. Find a church that is holding a special candlelight ceremony and acknowledge your loss and honor your loved one’s memory.
7. Show a Gesture of Meaningful Kindness to a Stranger or Needy Family. This might easily take the form of buying someone’s meal sitting near year in a restaurant; volunteering at the local food bank; or, stopping by the nearest Thrift store after getting the sizes of a family in the church or community that will be without this Holiday season, and blessing everyone one in that family with a nice selection of clothing items and shoes. I think you kinda get the idea, so make it your purpose to be a blessing this holiday season to someone else and we here at Empower Magazine promise you that your Holiday season will be so much brighter than if you had kept it to yourself.