25 Ways to Make Merry Your Days

The holidays can test our patience and our cheer. Stay humbug-free with more joy, more peace, and more magic this season!

1. Let people cut in front of you in traffic- There's a reason this is #1 on the list! One of the biggest holiday boo-hoo's is the amount of traffic everywhere. Instead of getting defensive and angry, let people in your lane. Smile, wave, and know you are contributing not only to the safety of the road, but your own sense of peace! When you don't sweat the small stuff, you gain a little perspective and can enjoy the ride!

2. Smile at strangers- With the hustle of the holiday season, sometimes people just need to know they are seen. A friendly smile is an act of love that acknowledges the soul of another in genuine appreciation. It's a way of saying "I see you, and I celebrate you!"

3. Re-invent the holiday card- Take the mundane out of holiday card-writing and amp it up with a personal touch! What about making a funny Christmas video and emailing it your loved ones? Or maybe it's a simple but special message: "I am grateful for you because...". I guarantee it will be something they will remember for years to come!

4. Be a Secret Santa to a child or family- This is what the spirit of the season is all about! Research some organizations or churches in your area and think outside the box! Instead of a Barbie or Gi-Joe, you could give an inspirational book that will help spark a child's imagination. Adults will appreciate a gift card for gas or their local grocery store, and maybe a Christmas decoration that adds some holiday cheer. Take time to think about what would really serve them and be part of their miracle!

5. Do something nice- just because! What could you do to make someone's day a little brighter? A few ideas: shovel a neighbor's driveway, throw some coins into close-to-expiring parking meters, leave a cheerful note or flower on someone's car. (Be anonymous and spread some magic!)

6. Get crafty- Holiday Crafts People! It can be a super fun time, or at the very least ignite some nostalgia from earlier days. Make a snow globe, decorate an ornament, or create a holiday center piece. Your inner child will thank you!

7. Donate your time- This could be anything from driving an elderly neighbor to get groceries, getting a group together to sing at a nursing home, or work at a soup kitchen. An hour of your day can mean the world to someone else!

8. Bring back the caroling- Caroling is seriously under-rated!  So what if you have a few bah-humbug neighbors that don't appreciate your pipes! Most people will love it, and it adds a festive magic to the air! Wear those ugly sweaters, put on some antlers and make the neighborhood proud!

9. Share your favorite holiday treats- There's three reasons why this tip will undoubtedly spark some cheer: 1.) It's Fun- decorate those sugar cookies, try out some new treats, and get messy with your food! 2.) Taste-testing- No explanation needed. 3.) Sharing is caring- your friends, family, and co-workers will all thank you for your special recipes!

10. Support small businesses- Most small businesses depend on big sales this time of year to meet their financial goals. It's a win-win for you to shop here! Not only are you getting a unique gift for someone you love, you are supporting the shop-owners in fulfilling their dream!

11. Don't underestimate the magic of a good cup of cocoa!- Chocolatey, melted goodness + toppings galore = childhood happiness.  If cocoa isn't your thing, try a spiced tea or cider to get festive! Either way... it's warm, it's soothing, and it's joy to the tastebuds!

13. Sing loudly for all to hear (or just sing really loudly in your car)- I will tell you, that I have made traffic so much more enjoyable for myself and fellow commuters by embracing this tip whole-heartedly! It's not meant to sound perfect- it's meant to be fun! Bust out that inner Mariah or Nat King Cole and go to town! If nothing else... you've entertained yourself for the drive home!

14. Make a homemade gift- If you have the time, skill, or ambition, this is a great way to add that thoughtful and personal touch to your gift giving. Don't know where to start? Pinterest will hook you up with all sorts of ideas! Three questions to ask before you get started: 1.) Do they need this? 2.) Will they use this? 3.) Can I make this? (and not stress myself out!)

15. Honor the old traditions and create new ones- When you stick too tightly to old traditions, you set yourself up for panic and anxiety because, let's face it, change is part of life and no moment will ever be the same as the one before it. How you roll with the change is what determines your level of peace. So, make a list of the traditions that are REALLY important to you, and find ways to incorporate and adapt them to the changing times. The memories to be made are not in the past... they are right now! A simple shift in perspective allows you to create something NEW and find joy in its possibility!

16. Give more hugs- Whether you're a hugger like me or not, hugging is super important to our health and well-being, especially around the holidays. Therapist Virginia Satir says, "We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." When you consider those numbers... are you getting enough hugs? Go on, put yourself out there! No humans around? Hug your pet, hug a tree, hug yourself! But wrap those arms around something and let the love flow!

17. What Would Santa Do?- Feel like you might loose your cool? Too many people pressing your buttons or testing your patience? Take a breath, pause, and ask... "What Would Santa Do?" (Yes, I'm serious!) This question takes you out of the heat of the moment and allows you to respond differently. Life is easier when you think in terms of possibility, miracles, and extending gratitude to those that probably need it most! (aka- Be extra nice to your customer service and retail professionals, as well as your servers! They are overwhelmed, over-worked, and only there to help you!)

18. Embrace the glitter!- Say okay to all things sparkly! This is the time of year for glitter! Yes it's a mess to clean, yes it goes everywhere, but ya know what? It's pretty, it's festive, and it makes the ordinary a little more glorious! So take pause for a little glam and celebrate it! 

19. Update you gift wrapping- I may be weird, but I love gift wrapping! Put on a Christmas movie marathon and boom- instant happiness! But since this isn't everyone's cup of cocoa, why not change it up a bit and get creative with it?! Get out the paper, the burlap, the bows, the stickers, the glitter (oh yes), maybe even some pictures to glue on there and you have yourself a work of art! 

20. Check out the Christmas lights- For an adventure, hop in the car with a hot beverage, turn on some festive music, and drive around your neighborhood looking at all the Christmas decorations! It's free, it's fun, and it will bring you back to a simpler time when the littlest things were the most enchanting.

21. Tell Stories of Old- Some of the best stories your family members have are the ones involving the holidays! Inviting them to share their memories will bring you all closer and give you new insights and perspective on their childhood! 

22. Make it 'ole fashioned- Nothing gets more traditional then lighting some candles and reading a classic holiday story. Remember... those books came before the movies, and they have a charm all their own! Set some ambiance and let your imagination take you back in time!

23. Holiday Game Time- Games are a great way to interact and unplug from our devices! Make it festive with holiday-themed charades! (Appropriateness levels may vary)

24. Let your loved ones be who they are- This might be one of the more challenging on this list, but it certainly is the one that will give you the most peace! Instead of worrying about what off-color or offensive remark a relative might make, choose to let these people be who they are. To hold the vision of their potential is one thing. To hold them to it is another. You are all on this journey, in different stages of growing and learning. Practice patience with your loved ones and don't let those old wounds get re-activated. Remind yourself that family brings out habitual roles and behaviors, and you can always choose to rise above it. 

25. Celebrate the year with a toast!- It's time to honor all you have learned, grown from, and accomplished this year! Write a list of celebrations and delight in all this year has brought you! Good or bad, your experiences add new layers to your growth and new dimensions to life. There is ALWAYS something to celebrate. Even if that is simply the miracle that is you!