“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” We’ve heard that said or sung, so many times every year going into the holidays. And I have to admit, I truly love Christmas! Remembering Christmas excitement as a child, watching my kids open their gifts when they were little, and enjoying all of the holiday traditions I grew up with makes me get almost giddy this time of year.
But sometimes, Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. There are many different reasons why someone doesn’t find joy during the holiday season. With our “new normal” Christmas might not be as exciting and fun as usual for anyone. Realizing Christmas might be hard for many people, I’ve been thinking of how to get through Christmas this year. Even though it might be a difficult season, I’ve pulled together a list of 7 simple tips to help anyone get through the holiday season!
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What are Some of the Challenges People Face at Christmas?
When making a list of how to get through Christmas, it’s important to think of the common challenges people face during the holidays. There are many different ways Christmas might be difficult for someone. But most of them can be broken down into three different categories: busyness, financial stress, and missing someone special.
Christmas Busyness Is a Struggle
When thinking of how to get through Christmas every year, the busyness of the season is one of the first stressors that come to mind. With all the special events, beautiful displays, and family gatherings come fun and excitement.
But these special events, as fun as they are, can make our schedules jam-packed. Most American households are already super busy. According to sloww.co, many families see empty boxes on their schedule as the time to fill in with other stuff to do.
Families also wear their busyness as a badge of honor. Being the most involved parent, the hardest-working employee, and the over-scheduled teenager are badges that are now honored as much as having the best toys.
So, when you add in more stuff to do over the holidays, it can suck the joy out of the celebrations! And when the joy is sucked out of this magical season, it becomes hard to even get through Christmas.
Christmas Expenses Can Cause Major Stress
The financial stress of the holidays can also affect how to get through Christmas. Many American families go into each holiday season still paying for last year’s celebrations. Wow! That’s just crazy!
This overspending on Christmas comes from the same thoughts as our busyness does. A lot of people think that they have to outdo their spending from last year. And many people, no matter their income, feel the need to keep up with other people and their holiday spending. This ramped-up spending pattern can make it extremely difficult to get through Christmas with joy in our hearts.
Missing People at Christmas
One of the biggest reasons people struggle through the Christmas holidays is because they are missing someone special. Even when you’re excited about the upcoming festivities, missing a special person can make it very difficult to have a lot of joy during the holiday season.
Many people who have recently lost a loved one might struggle with getting through Christmas. Holidays that used to bring joy can bring on sadness now. Even if you have some great memories, thinking of them might bring up too much pain. This pain can often make us struggle with how to get through Christmas.
7 Tips for Finding Joy This Christmas Season
If you’re one of the many people who are struggling, thinking of how to get through Christmas this year, know that you’re not alone. Most of us deal with something during the holidays that makes it difficult and stressful.
But there is hope. You CAN regain your joy this Christmas season! Here are 7 simple tips on how to get through Christmas this year.
Think about Your Blessings
One of the quickest and easiest ways to learn hours to get through Christmas struggles is to think about your blessings. Being grateful is a sure-fire way to brighten any mood. It can also have long term effects on your mental well-being too!
We all struggle at some time during the Christmas festivities. Whenever I struggle with the stress of the holidays, making a list of all my blessings quickly takes my focus off of the negative.
My list would include big things like my family or having good health. But I would also include small blessings, like a smile from a stranger or having a smooth commute to work. Focusing on the positives in my life, no matter how large or small gives my spirits a much-needed lift!
Remember the Joy of Past Christmases
One of my favorite tips for how to get through Christmas is remembering the joy from past celebrations! Remembering all the fun times you’ve had with friends and family can give you a huge mental health boost this Christmas!
This tip is especially true when your family is missing someone special this Christmas. Losing a loved one in any way is hard. If you’re able, try to think of some of the fun memories you had in the past with that person.
Three years ago my family lost 3 very important people: My husband’s grandmother, an aunt, and an elderly lady who we had grown close to at church. Let me just say, that next Christmas was HARD! In fact, we all cried a lot that year, remembering these 3 sweet ladies.
But along with the tears, we were able to mingle in some laughter remembering past Christmases with these special people. I can almost see Big Mamaw (her great-grandkids picked the name), Aunt Rena, and Myrtle getting excited to open gifts and visit with our kids. These special memories always put me in the Christmas mood!
See Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child
Sometimes we need to change our perspective in order to find joy this time of year. Seeing Christmas from a kid’s perspective is another great tip for how to get through (and enjoy) the holiday season.
Just yesterday I was thinking about how much my kids LOVED Christmas when they were little! My youngest daughter believed in Santa for several years. She was so determined to catch him in the act that she gave us strict orders to sneak a picture. Even though she’s now an adult, she still loves Christmas.
My kids were still jazzed about Christmas when they got a little older. My oldest figured out the truth about Santa early on. Some kids would spill the beans (me) and tell other kids he wasn’t real. But she loved the spirit of Christmas so much that she begged to help set out presents for her siblings after they went to bed. It was a truly magical time sharing the giving of Christmas with her!
My kids are all grown, so I have to borrow other kids to see Christmas from a kids’ point of view. Thankfully, I have nieces and nephews and a class full of students that always help me get through Christmas and have a blast!
Think About What You Can Give This Christmas
Have you ever noticed that negative people tend to focus on themselves more than the average person? When I’m down in the dumps, for any reason, my focus becomes very self-centered. If you’re struggling with how to get through Christmas, focusing on yourself probably isn’t helping lift your spirits.
One guaranteed way to improve your Christmas spirit is to focus on GIVING instead of GETTING! Think about what you can do for other people this time of year. Can you give an extra special gift to someone this year? Or maybe you know a family that could use a Christmas angel to help with childcare or gifts. Even a simple act of kindness can make you feel more in the Christmas spirit than you did before!
I’m of course proud of my kids in many ways. But one of the ways they’ve made me most proud is through their giving spirits. They all 3 take the time to really think about what to give their siblings and other people close to them. The example they show helps me remember that giving is a great way to get through Christmas with joy in my heart!
Keep Christmas Simple This Year
Financial struggles can make anything challenging. And the added Christmas shopping can make anyone stress over how to get through Christmas. Having a holiday spending budget can help a lot. But even when you budget it can still be hard.
One easy way to combat the buying and spending and being overwhelmed with Christmas is this: keep it simple. Scale it down. Stop buying so much stuff for everyone. Stop planning activity on top of activity over the holidays. Scale it down and slow down this year.
Many people feel like they have to one-up their Christmas spending from last year. But that’s crazy! Just because you gave 8 presents to each kid last year doesn’t mean you need to give 9 this year. Big kid toys get more and more expensive each year. I’m drained and stress just typing this paragraph!
Keeping Christmas simple can help you get back some of the joy that’s missing this year. Instead of stressing over the perfect gift, think about ways to slow down and enjoy time spent with the ones you love. You could also buy one nice gift that each person really wants, instead of 10 little gifts they won’t remember in a week. Whatever you can do to simplify your holiday can help with how to get through Christmas this year.
Make Some New Christmas Traditions
As time goes on, people get older. New babies are born. Kids grow up and move away. Situations and family dynamics change. These changes are often hard to deal with. Changes in our lives can make us all struggle with how to get through Christmas.
This year, my husband’s sister and her family are not flying across the country to visit for Christmas. We will be missing several Christmas traditions with them this year. With this new normal of 2020, I’m sure many families are making adjustments and giving up many traditions this Christmas season.
When things change, we can get sad and wallow in our misery. Or, we can do the best we can with what we’ve got to work with. Creating new Christmas traditions can be one way to make the best out of a tough situation.
Most years, my nieces and nephews come to the house one day and bake Christmas cookies with me. It’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions! My favorite part, aside from spending time with the kiddos, is talking about the Christmas story while making our nativity scene cookies!
This year’s cooking baking will look a lot different. Two of my nieces will be on the other side of the country. So this year, I’m sending a set of nativity cookie cutters to my nieces in Seattle. Even though we can’t all be together, I hope they enjoy this new take on our traditional cookie baking party. Knowing they are starting a new holiday tradition will help me get through Christmas this year.
Focus on the True Meaning of Christmas
The most effective way to find how to get through Christmas is so simple. But unfortunately, many people miss it. That is focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
The true meaning of Christmas isn’t about the decorating, food, or presents. It’s not even about (gasp) family. 2000 years ago, Jesus came to this earth as the greatest Christmas gift of all. His birth, and eventual death, gave us all a path to heaven.
When my Christmas is focused on Jesus, and the true meaning of the holiday, I never have to “get through” Christmas. Knowing what God did for me so many years ago keeps the Christmas spirit alive all year!