Happy FIRST OF DECEMBER! What a time to be alive. We’re in the Christmas spirit (slash have been since Halloween, #SorryNotSorry), so bring on the figgy pudding + Hallmark marathons by the fire. (Sidenote: Anyone have a clue what the heck “figgy pudding” actually is? No? Not just me? K cool.) To officially kickoff the countdown to Christmas (!!!) in a more sentimental way, I’m sharing 10 ways to choose joy this Christmas season. So no matter where you are or what your circumstance, you can hopefully connect with the reason for the season and bring true joy into your own life, and in the lives of those around you. #goals.
Start with intention.
Set an intention at the start of every morning for the day ahead. Additionally, start everything you do at all with intention. I firmly believe that intention is one of the biggest dealbreakers when it comes to true, deep joy versus surface-level happiness or momentary bliss. And I was actually just reading this in one of my current reads (which I shared via Instastories this week – and so many of you messaged me wanting to know what book it was, so here it is to pick it up!). In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” the author talks about case studies that prove that people who CHOOSE to do something – even if it’s something otherwise “painful” or unenjoyable – can tolerate much more if they have, in fact, elected it themselves. For example, if you choose to run a marathon, you’ll likely feel much better + happier during those 26.2 miles – as a prepared + willing runner – than you would if someone put a gun to your head and told you to run until your legs gave out. It’s the intention that matters! Connect to the WHY behind everything you’re doing. If you don’t have a good why…don’t do it. Pointblankperiod. It’s your time – choose wisely. Choose joy by choosing to choose!
Let yourself break.
While it’s one of the most fun, fulfilling times of the year, Christmas (and the holidays in general) is unfortunately notorious for being one of the most stressful. Between wrapping up work projects and filling up the family calendar with festive fun, it’s all go-go-go through Christmas Eve. But while you might hear silver bells above all the bustle, you won’t necessarily hear peace + quiet and rest. Choose joy by choosing to break. Let yourself have intentional moments of personal peace sans technology or to-do’s. The difference it makes is so significant!
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I mean…Thanksgiving ain’t over, folks. Science has proven time and time again the importance + impact of gratitude on our overall wellbeing and happiness levels. The short story: Thankfulness breeds contentment. Being thankful for what we have makes us more joyful human beings. And who doesn’t want that?! Choose joy by choosing to be thankful + count every blessing.
Embrace the season.
Sparkly tinsel, sequined pants, ugly sweaters, tartan plaid…’tis the season! Rock the Christmas jammies all December long. Wear red lipstick to work justbecause. Embrace all of the season, through your everyday dress. It’s a limited time offering valid now through the New Year – take advantage of it! 😉 Choose joy by choosing to embrace all that is seasonally appropo.
Check you local newspaper listings (or the internet – ha) for any upcoming local events, from holiday shows to live nativity scenes, to Christmas bazaars and community suppers. Beyond that, drive around to see neighborhood Christmas lights (some have their lights connected to radio frequencies and coordinated to Christmas music, so there’s that). Choose joy by rooting (or re-rooting) in your own surroundings.
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Ya know what’s missing a lot in this day + age? Communication. No, not social media communication…real communication. Good ol’ face-to-face chitchat. Not to face-to-screen…face-to-FACE. Namely, eye contact. I’m always SO SURPRISED by how many folks are so stinking awful at holding a face-to-face conversation with eye contact for longer than three seconds. It’s absurd. Everyone gets awkward or looks away or diverts their eyes to their phones. Challenge yourself this Christmas season to look people in the eye (we’re talkin’ randos in the grocery store, strangers at the mall, etc) + wish them “Happy Holidays!” or “Merry Christmas!” Offer sincere seasons greetings to folks you don’t know, justbecause. In this ever-connected world, we’ve ironically become disconnected. You just never know how/when/why your genuine kind words could completely change someone’s day (or life). Choose joy by sincerely reaching out with a simple act of seasonal kindness.
Write cards + embrace phone calls for everyone on your list this year. There’s an awesome, sentimental feeling that comes with old-school anything nowadays. We’re all so accustomed to texts + emails that they really don’t mean HALF as much as a heartfelt note via snail mail, or the effort in picking up the phone for a full convo. Choose joy by getting back to more meaningful means of connection with those who matter most.
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Try a new cookie recipe.
Meals on Wheels/Toys for Tots.
Giving of your time/talent/treasure is all the rage right about now, and for good reason. My mom had this idea and I looooovelovelove it; contact your local Meals on Wheels office and see if you can get a list of names of folks with the service at the time. Write out Christmas cards to as many of the folks as you can, give them back to the organization, and they deliver the cards to the residents when they get their meals. Such a simple, sweet way to unexpectedly make a stranger’s day!
Similarly, get involved with Toys for Tots – donate a toy to be gifted, or find a Giving Tree program (often done through churches) to help out a family in need and shop for what’s on their Christmas list this year. When I’ve done the latter in the past, it’s SUCH a moving experience – so many kids ask for things that you and I might take for granted, like deodorant or superhero sheets. Choose joy by asking around + getting involved.
Give more (than you receive).
The platinum rule. I’m deeming it that, anyways, since “the golden rule” is already taken. 😉 This season is the best for wholeheartedly embracing all that is charitable + good. Really, any/every season will do…but this one’s a good start. 😉 Be a Secret Santa for the month, doing random acts of kindness for as many people as possible. Collect all of the loose change in your house and keep in your pocket or purse for whenever you pass the Salvation Army Santas on the street. Position your mind to be all about the “give,” and not about the “get.” If you think about it, I’m betting you feel better inside when you give a great gift and truly make someone’s day, rather than receiving yourself. Not at ALL to say we don’t like or shouldn’t like getting gifts…girlfriend loveloveloves a gift. Particularly the gift of Gucci. 😉 BUT, it’s about comparing the two – giving always gives us that true, deeper joy, whereas receiving is more akin to happiness. Choose joy by giving more than you receive this season, on purpose.
How will you choose joy this Christmas season?
Also, I gotta know…what’s your favorite Christmas movie that you’ve found on Netflix, and/or the Hallmark channel??? I would loooovelovelove to do a lil’ roundup here this month with your faves, so let a sistah know. 😉
P.S. Have ya entered to win $950 to Nordstrom yet????
P.P.S. Hi from Arizona. Follow the adventure on my Instastories (@ericaligenza)