How Traditions Boost My Christmas Spirit

As I’ve gotten older, the excitement of Christmas morning no longer wakes me up before sunrise. To get in the Christmas Spirit, the past few years I’ve tried to establish traditions to look forward to each year.  

Holiday Entertainment 


Whether it’s seeing the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at a local theater or a performance of The Nutcracker at the ballet, going to a holiday performance gets me in the Christmas Spirit. It’s also the perfect excuse to squeeze in some time with friends and family.   

Would you rather stay home? Watch some classic holiday movies. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not a fan of Lifetime or Hallmark movies – except during the holidays. What is it about sappy romances set during Christmastime that gets to me? I don’t know. But my guilty little pleasure is now out in the open!  

If romances aren’t your thing, watch holiday classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, Die Hard or other favorites. Netflix has an entire channel dedicated to holiday movies. 

My Christmas Tree 


There’s something comforting about the twinkling white lights amid shiny ornaments on my tree that makes it feel like Christmas. Each year a little elf or two (okay… a friend or family member) comes to my place and gets my Christmas tree off the top shelf of the hall closet. The two-foot tall tree is displayed on a cabinet in my living room, saving valuable floor space for maneuvering my chair. The lights on my tree are plugged into a rocker switch so I can easily turn them on and off even with limited hand function. 

Christmas Eve 

I’ve established the tradition of attending Christmas Eve service with my parents. We attend different churches, so we switch it up each year as to whose church we go to. We’ll go out to eat before or after the service to make it a special evening. I enjoy having the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus. What’s that saying? ’Tis the reason for the season. 

Christmas Day 

This year Christmas Day will be very different. Since my brother recently moved, watching the kids open gifts will no longer be the highlight of the day 

Change. That’s the hard part of having traditions. Although I’m not looking forward to the change, I guess it’s time to try something new on Christmas Day.  

I’m grateful I still have my parents to celebrate Christmas with. So I’ll continue the tradition of cooking a side dish for dinner. Whether it is maple-roasted Brussel sprouts or made-from-scratch cranberry sauce, I enjoy contributing what I am able to our afternoon feast.  

If you are looking for me this December, more than likely I’ll be sipping on hot tea and watching Little Women, basking in the glow of the Christmas tree.  

This holiday season, what can you do to boost your Christmas Spirit?  Here are some ideas: 

  • You don’t need to break the bank. Go to a school’s free holiday performance. Enjoy looking at Christmas lights downtown or in a neighborhood that goes all out Christmas Vacation style.  
  • If you don’t have family around, invite others who might also be alone. Several years ago I invited a family who were refugees from Iraq over for dinner. When conversation started to lull once vocabulary words ran out, I had my dad pull out his guitar and play Christmas carols. What an enjoyable evening! 
  • Spend time making Christmas gifts that have sentimental value. I’ve made homemade vanilla extract and lip balm. (And no, I’m not a crafty person!) 
  • Remember those whose loved ones have passed away. They may not feel like celebrating. Invite them. Comfort them. Listen to the sweet memories they have of their loved ones 
  • Christmas can feel anything but merry at times. If you’re struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. If you don’t have someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. 


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