Can we make the holiday happiness last all year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Oh the glorious food!
I love Christmas and I am not ashamed to say it. I listen to Christmas tunes in July and have had them playing at my desk since early November.  It calms me. It makes me happy when I am stressed.

This year though it seems everyone (and every shop) is embracing the holiday spirit way early this year. While I am not sure if this is chicken or egg (commercial consumerism inducing the holiday spirit or people just ready for Christmas to come) from what I have seen on social media, people are happy to have their decorations up, meals planned, and Christmas card envelopes addressed.

Which got me thinking.... Why does Christmas make you happy?  And if it makes you happy now, what can you implement the other 11 months out of the year to sustain the joy? Not all of these will suit everyone but as the holiday season rolls on next month, stop and think if you can change something in your life that will help sustain the feeling of happiness all year long.

Your crazy crowns. These are becoming quite popular with
my American nephews and nieces.
If it is.....

Gratitude- Whether giving or receiving, expressions of gratitude are always appreciated. Make it a point to genuinely thank someone who impacts your life in a positive way at least once a week thought the year.  And if someone thanks you, take it.  Don't brush it off but give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.

Weather- I do miss the White Christmases of Upstate New York. But friends from New Zealand think of beach barbecues when they think of Christmas. Book a holiday at some point during the year to help get you back in the holiday spirit with a climate to match your favourite Christmas memories.

Christine from The Workout Life like snowball fights. (Who doesn't?)
Music- There is no shame in listening to Christmas music at any time of year. I am not sure if online radio stations play holiday tunes year round, find a few good albums to download now off Amazon or make a Spotify list to revisit in 2016 once all the decorations are put away and the biscuit tins are empty.

My sister-in-law feeling fancy for the holidays with her mum.
Gift giving- As my mom will tell you, I get so excited when I find the perfect gift, I have trouble waiting until Christmas to give it (this is one of the major things my husband and I disagree with in our Christmas philosophies). Gift that are thoughtful will go farther than lavish spending (for most people).  The effort will shine through on a good match.  If you see an item that you think will bring someone joy, no matter if there is a reason to give a gift or not, go for it. There doesn't need to be a special occasion other than you were thinking of them and thought it would bring them happiness.

Shopping- Retail therapy can create a big buzz in your brain. Getting a good deal, finding the last one of something, checking an item off your to do list can give you a sense of victory.  If you love shopping, many charities have wish lists that need granting so keep one handy in case you see a bargain and then donate it later in the year.

Cooking- Food is linked to emotions which is why many people struggle to change their eating habits (reason doesn't always apply). Perhaps your family always has the same meal for Christmas, so certain smells and tastes trigger pleasant memories.  Or maybe you love the challenge of creating a new menu with cooking-related gifts that were under the tree.  Personally, I think home cooking is becoming a lost part of our culture as we are pressed for time to move faster, be online more, and away from home for football practice and after work drinks. There is nothing wrong with cooking a lavish meal as often as you fancy. Start with once a month & invite people over who make you happy to share it with.  I encourage you to put love into your food and see the love you get out of it.

Georgie of is happy when she "... [makes] food for my family and friends -
I go all out at Christmas with Christmas dinner, Christmas leftovers pie, cupcakes, the lot!
 Everything is made from scratch."

Memories/Family time- The speed of today's world keeps us from physically being present with loved ones. Back in the good old days, my mom would go to her grandma's every Sunday for dinner. Do you know of many families who still do this?  Create new memories and traditions with your family by enduring a digital detox.  Play board games, go for a walk or run, volunteer at the local soup kitchen, or put on a talent show for the whole family.  Then reinstate these traditions at the next big family gathering, whether it is a birthday party, bank holiday get together, or Christmas in July party.

Sarah of Dreaming of Footpaths is making a new family  tradition
with a Christmas Leamington Parkrun.
Religious connection- Maybe Christmas Eve mass is the only one you go to all year long. Does it bring you peace? Do you find a connection with yourself in the still moment after the Lord's Prayer? Although I fall into 'spiritual but not religious' (I choose not to go to church) but pray to the higher being in thanks or to ask for help in my own way.  For some, no matter what religion you identify with, if revisiting your practice (sounds a bit like yoga, doesn't it?) brings you happiness and peace at a crazy time of year, perhaps you can look to incorporate it throughout the year with modern social events at local places of worship.  Or finding a local place of worship will give you community and support no matter where in the world you are.

Time off work- If this is the case, have a look at your work-life balance or even dust off CV for a new gig.  Regularly plan a city break every other month, even if it is just a stay-cation, to get some relief from work place stress.  Talk to your boss about creatively solving some of the stress triggers you are experiencing (work from home 1 day per week, change your start time, delegate a project to someone else on your team).

Lisa from Supermum and Other Disguises enjoys driving around
with her family looking at the lights. OK, this one might be tough
to do all year round but the time with the family can be repeated
with day trips in the car.
I realise there will be some Scrooges out there who will say if we make everyday like Christmas, it won't be special any more. I am not suggesting we take it to that extreme, like having a tree up all year long and carolling every Friday night.  Take some time to reflect on which aspects of the holiday season help you find true happiness (and with it, health) and aim to incorporate it in some small way in 2016.

Tell me in the comments below, what makes you happy at Christmas time?


  1. Lovely post!! Love all these happy photos!!

    1. Thanks so much! What makes you happy at the holidays?


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