Nothing about this year has been “normal”! So it’s no wonder if you’ve found yourself saying nothing about this Christmas season is normal either. But just because things aren’t like years past, doesn’t mean that you can’t find joy in this Christmas season. I know for me, I’ll be working nights for the first time since I became a Physician Assistant over Christmas. Am I nervous? Absolutely! My body clock will be all sorts of discombobulated, but in light of our circumstances, we need to rise to the occasion.
We aren’t having large gatherings of friends and family. We aren’t having the usual boujee holiday parties. We aren’t doing same old same old. But that’s okay! We don’t have to have those things to have a Merry Christmas. So I made a list of a few things that can keep the Christmas spirit alive when things aren’t as they should be. Here are my top ways to find joy this Christmas season!
1. Engage your heart and mind with an Advent Study
I do realize that Advent is almost over at this point, but it’s not too late to start! Daily bible reading is truly one of the best rhythms you can get into. Whether it’s in the morning or at night, it’s the best way to center your heart and mind on Christ. Amidst the commercialism of Christmas, it’s important to remember the meaning of this holiday is not about presents, Santa, matching pjs, or traditions. It’s about God’s greatest gift: his son, Jesus, who come down to earth to save us from ourselves so we could live eternity with our creator! Fully man and fully God. By reading passages from Daniel, the gospels, and the Psalms, we are better able to keep the important things important. Right now, I’m reading through She Reads Truth’s Advent Series.
2. Bake festive recipes
I love baking! In different seasons of my life, it’s become a type of therapy. It’s a simple way that I can bring joy to other people, so I do it. It’s a way for me to use my hands and get creative. I love trying new recipes just as much as making family recipes, but baking is an easy way to find the joy in Christmas. Turn on your favorite Christmas playlist and get busy in the kitchen!
3. Take a drive to see Christmas lights
Growing up in Charleston, my family and I had an annual tradition of going to James Island County Park to see the Holiday Festival of Lights. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s an outdoor lights show where you drive around in your car to see all the light displays. We’d roll all the windows down, crank our Christmas music up, and sit in wonder. In Myrtle Beach, the main attraction is Night of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens. Whatever your town offers, be sure to take advantage of it!
4. Participate in Christmas traditions safely
Whatever that looks like for you and your family. So if that means doing a Zoom Christmas or having a reduced number of people at your holiday gathering, then so be it. Just be incredibly mindful of where you travel and what risks you’re taking by traveling.
5. Wrap presents festively
Pick out fun gift wrap, ribbons, and bags, and get creative. Maybe even check out Pinterest for some inspiration! Last time I checked, Target had a great selection this year!
6. Send out Christmas cards
One of my all-time favorite Christmas traditions: Christmas cards! I know it may be old-school to love giving and receiving them, but there is something so special about seeing years pass and families grow. Here are our Christmas cards from the past two years!
7. Watch your favorite Christmas movies
Here are a just a few of my favorite Christmas movies in no particular order: It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, White Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, The Holiday, The Santa Clause, Home Alone 2, Eloise at Christmastime, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Love Actually…the list goes on!
8. Seek ways to give generously
This year has been hard on us all in different ways. Small businesses have suffered. Non-profits have suffered. Our world at large has suffered. Check out my blog post about Charitable Giving if you need help finding a worthy cause to support this Christmas season.