12 Most Get-Rid-of-the-Grinch Ways to Give and Grin at Christmas
The holidays are hard for many folks. Stress, loss, loneliness, tensions within families and a raft of other pressures and problems can make the yuletide season not so bright. This post is not intended to make light of, or gloss over, those very real issues.
However, sometimes the grumbling that comes at this “most wonderful time of the year” (as the song says) can get pretty petty. One way to reclaim some of the joy, wonder and benevolence of Christmas is to cast out those Grinch-like thoughts that creep into our heads and do some of these, instead:
1. Give to a cause that’s close to your heart
At our house, our children help us decide which groups we donate to as a family. We have a discussion and then choose together.
2. Regift to a cause
If you receive a gift you don’t want, give it to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or another charity that would use the item and be grateful to have received it.
3. Be thankful
Take note of the ways you are blessed. Appreciate the people in your life. And the talents you have, and that you’re alive to reflect on that. Be grateful.
4. Play outside
Lace up your skates, get out the toboggan — or, if you’re living in a warmer clime, shimmy into your swimsuit — and get outside. Get your blood pumping, move your body and have fun!
5. Offer your time or effort to someone who needs it
Shovel your neighbor’s walkway, smile at a frazzled store clerk, hold the door for someone laden with parcels or clear the steps for the postal carrier. None of those ideas will show up on your credit card bill in January, but they are all priceless in their own way.
6. Breathe and smile
You can get through that visit with your Uncle Fred. You can survive the Christmas lunch with your annoying brother-on-law. You can — and you will — be able to deal (briefly, anyway) with the relatives that grate on your nerves. Breathe, smile and remind yourself that this, too, shall pass.
7. Be gentle on yourself
But don’t try to be a holiday superhero, either. If a week-long stay with your Mom is going to be more than you can bear, don’t do it. Listen to the voice inside. Being gracious is one thing. Being a masochist is another.
8. Alter expectations
Sometimes disappointment sets in because our hopes climbed higher than the circumstances realistically allowed. Part of getting through the holidays might mean you take your expectations down a notch or two. That’s okay. And it won’t set you up for a fall if things don’t pan out perfectly.
9. Be child-like (not childish)
Children have the right idea about Christmas: be excited, believe in the magic of Santa and find joy in sparkling snow or twinkling lights.
Oh, and thank all who give you gifts for thinking of you (even if you don’t like it. Only Grinches — and rude people — show disappointment or unhappiness to someone who just gave them a gift.)
10. Recreate traditions — or redo them
Relive the traditions that made you happy when you were little. And if you don’t have many (or any) of those, forge some now. It’s never too late to make your own special and personalized holiday celebrations or moments.
11. Keep routines that matter to you
If you get lethargic or grumpy when you miss your workout, make the space and time to fit that into your holiday schedule. If you need downtime to read or be by yourself, follow through with this routine over your Christmas break. It will help you recharge and stay balanced.
12. Look for joy in unexpected places
Joy can hide in the shadows of the moonlight on snow. Joy can peek out from the branches of an ice-coated tree. Joy can leap out as a fire crackles in a fireplace. If you frequently look for joy, you might be surprised how frequently you find it.
Giving and grinning through Christmas can take concerted effort. But I hope that keeping some of these ideas in mind might make it easier to banish the Grinch-like gripes that can strike at this time of year.
I’d be thrilled to hear some of your secrets, too.
Featured image courtesy of Kyra The Mod Dog licensed via Creative Commons.