I didn’t grow up with Christmas and I never believed in Santa Claus. I went about the holiday season the same way I went about Thanksgiving; I looked forward to it mainly because I didn’t have to go to school. But recently, as I’ve gotten older, things have started to change. I still don’t believe in Santa Claus, unfortunately, nor do I celebrate Christmas, but I look forward to the holiday season. Not because of what it represents religiously, but because of what it represents culturally. There is a magic in the air during the holidays and everyone who breathes it becomes infected with unadulterated joy -- the holiday season is like a zombie virus, but enjoyable and with fewer cannibalistic tendencies.
I don’t know what it’s like to wake up on Christmas morning to see the presents laid out underneath the tree. I don’t know what it’s like to have a stocking on the fireplace, or to have the whole family together for a Christmas meal. But I know that we can make this time of year special, and here’s how:
BELIEVE IN SOMETHING
It’s not going to be easy to start believing in Santa again, especially if you stopped 20-plus years ago, but take a page out of your childhood and give it a whirl. Prepare your fireplace for his arrival, leave out cookies and milk (not soy milk), sleep on the couch awaiting his arrival. Whatever it is you did as a child to prepare for Santa’s arrival, do it and believe in it. This will do a couple things: 1) it’ll make you immediately happier, and 2) it’ll bring the holiday cheer to life. Give it a shot.
If believing in Santa isn’t your thing, try to believe in the spirit of the holidays. Make a concerted effort to absorb and spread joy. Instead of stewing at the first notes of an incessantly-played Christmas song, let your guard down for a second and let the over-the-top seasonality rear its beautiful self and drape you in holiday goodness. Or maybe just walk through a Christmas market, large crowds and all. Don’t be deterred by the mass of people, feed off of them. Happiness begets happiness, and there is no happier time then the holiday season.
BRING CHEER INTO YOUR LIFE
Last year was the first time I, a Jew, ever had a Christmas tree. I bought a small one for my apartment and we went about decorating it, not because we suddenly started celebrating Christmas but because there is something about taking part in holiday cheer. Say what you will about the holiday season, but everyone loves seeing a well-decorated tree. That’s just a fact of science.
I didn’t celebrate Christmas last year, or any other year for that matter, but having that Christmas tree (complete with Hanukkah decorations, of course) in my living room made the dreadfully cold and dark month of December infinitely more bearable. I came to realize that there is something profoundly enjoyable about spending time beautifying your space and reveling in the spirit of the season.
I know that putting a tree up can be a big step for some, and if you fall into that category, just tune into Freeform’s (formerly ABC Family) 25 Days of Christmas. It’s basically a non-stop loop of your childhood. It’s great.
BE A PART OF SOMETHING
There is something profound about being a part of a like-minded group and this is the perfect opportunity to ingratiate yourself into a nation-sized group. Whether you celebrate or not, take the opportunity to help others celebrate. Is your office holding a Secret Santa or White Elephant Day gift giveaway? Do you have a friend hosting a holiday party? Instead of declining and letting your heart grow cold and dead, say yes and let the joy of your peers lift you up.
There is a lot to love about the holiday season and a lot of ways to do it. Find what works for you and bring some of that holiday spirit into your life.
Until next time – Happy Merry Holidays Christmas