The holiday season can be hectic, and at times, even stressful. If you want to take some of the stress out of your holiday and replace it with joy, here are 18 simple ideas and tips for gift giving, meaningful traditions, and caring for yourself. [Read more…] about Simple Ways to Bring More Joy to Your Holiday Season
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” ~Oprah Winfrey
You don’t have to wait for birthdays or Christmas to celebrate, you can celebrate daily accomplishments, events, or things you are grateful about. Looking for ways to celebrate things in your daily life is a great way to increase the joy and happiness in your life and in those around you.
“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.”~Mary Manin Morrissey
Start adding more celebration to your life today with these five suggestions:
1. Enjoy Small Celebrations
A celebration doesn’t have to be a big event. It can be as simple as allowing yourself a warm cup of coffee after a task well done, a moment of quiet reflection after a busy day, a manicure or pedicure, using the good china, buying fresh flowers, or just stopping to take a photograph to record a special time.
According to Merriam-Webster, celebration is “marking one’s pleasure at an important event or event by engaging in enjoyable, often (but not necessarily) social activity.” Celebration is just making the time to acknowledge and feel joy over events in your life, both large and small.
2. Celebrate Fun Observances
There is a holiday for almost anything – National Donut Day (First Friday in June), National Hugging Day (January 21), World Poetry Day (March 21). Some observances have significance, others are just silly and fun. They are all opportunities to add a moment of joy and celebration to your life.
Last year, my fiance and I celebrated Pi Day on March 14th by sharing a delicious piece of chocolate pie at a local pie restaurant. We had a great evening out, nice conversation, and a break in our regular routine, all because of a mathematical symbol that has the same name as a very tasty dessert. Neither of us had celebrated Pi Day in the past but there is no doubt this will become an annual ritual for the two of us.
There are many websites with lists of fun observances including Brownielocks.com.
3. Use a Celebration Plate
One early American tradition that you can use in your household to observe special events is to have a special plate. When a friend or family member has a birthday, or a just a reason to celebrate such as passing a test, getting a student-of-the-month award, or anything significant, they get to dine from the family celebration plate. It’s a small gesture but one that can go a long way in making someone’s day special.
The plate doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or it could be, depending on your personal tastes. It could be a special color – bright red or yellow, or a fine piece of china. Several companies also make specific celebration plates that you can buy and use, or you could make your own.
Using a Celebration Plate helps recognize accomplishments but also teaches your children to identify opportunities for celebration in their own lives.
4. Give an Unexpected Gift
Surprise someone you care about with an unexpected gift – maybe a movie they will love and a box of popcorn, a book, flowers, or some handmade chocolates. You can also include a short note expressing your feelings.
5. Plan to Celebrate
For many of us, the month of December has many opportunities for celebration – holiday parties, family dinners, tree lighting ceremonies, and special church services.You can add celebration to the rest of your year as well. To get started, take a few minutes to identify ways to add celebration to your own life by creating your own Celebration List:
- What are some of your interests – favorite foods, celebrities, sports teams? There may already be a holiday for them, if not, consider starting one.
- Who are you grateful for in your life? Is there a way you could honor them? thank them? surprise them?
- What days are important to you? Special friends’ birthdays, historical events?
Check back to your list periodically and mark important dates on the calendar.
Celebrating life’s blessings doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or difficult. It’s just a matter of seizing the opportunities that present themselves to us every day.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ~Mother Theresa
Now that we’ve made it through Thanksgiving, it seems like holiday shopping is on everyone’s mind. We all want to find the perfect gift for those we care about and it can really end up being quite stressful, especially if you wait until the last minute. Here is a list of five things you can do today to help make your gifts more unique and thoughtful.
1. Determine Your Budget – for the holiday season and then for each individual and stick to it. A small budget may require you to be more creative but a great gift is still possible.
There are plenty of great low or no-cost gift options as well such as giving someone your copy of your favorite book, a certificate for some of your time for babysitting, dog-walking, knitting lessons, or making something homemade (see ideas below).
My friend Kathirynne also wrote a great article on Phenomenal Gift Giving on a Less-Than-Phenomenal Budget.
2. Brainstorm and Personalize – take a blank piece of paper and a few minutes to brainstorm the interests of your gift recipient. Once you have a good list, then you can really personalize the gift, a key component for thoughtful gift giving. Some ideas may include:
- Make a CD of podcasts for someone who listens to them
- For a quilter, purchase a great book on quilts or some lessons at the local fabric store
- Get a coffee lover their favorite kind of coffee and a nice travel mug
- Put together a picnic basket with all the ingredients for a great picnic
3. Consider Giving Clutter-Free Gifts – It seems like we all have too much “stuff” in our lives and giving a clutter-free gift is a great way to help simplify your gift recipient’s life. Some great clutter-free gift ideas include:
- Gift certificates for experiences such as classes, museums, dinners, concerts, manicures, pedicures, etc.
- Food items you know they’ll love like Tazo Tea, spices, chocolates, wine, or a pie
- Memberships to clubs, associations, zoos, or to the museum.
- All the ingredients and a recipe for a simple yet elegant meal.
- A paper shredder – we all have personal and financial papers that pile up and could use some help to get organized in the New Year.
4. Consider Homemade – Close friends and family will appreciate a thoughtful homemade gift such as jelly, sauces, salsas, soaps, scarves, candles, or some scented sachets made with herbs from your garden.
5. Include a card with a heartfelt message. This is perhaps the most overlooked way to make a gift thoughtful. Taking the time to write a personal message in your card tells the person they are important and that you cared enough to personalize the card. Consider telling them what you appreciate most about them or thank them for specific contributions they made during the year.
Psychologists have been able to show that the act of gift giving benefits both the giver and the receiver. This year, take the time to make your gifts thoughtful and heartfelt, enjoy the spirit of the season, and help spread feelings of love and caring with each gift. Happy Holidays!