VIRGINIA LUCAS HART

10 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

advice, holidays, loveVirginia HartComment

Patrick's wrapping paper Dec 2013

^^^ this is how Patrick wrapped one of my gifts haha! love him.

We had such a fun little Christmas celebration! We took Joanna Goddard's advice and met at the restaurant. Have you ever tried that? If you live with your significant other, you most likely head to any dates together. They see you making your frowny-applying-mascara-face while you don a robe and a towel on your head. They see you hopping up and down to get your jeans zipped, which is probably the 3rd outfit you've tried on. You're almost out the door for your hot date and you're like, Hold on I gotta pee. How romantic! There's something about getting gussied up separately, and seeing them for the first time wherever you're headed. You tell the maitre d' you're meeting someone (He's about this tall with a beard) and greet that special someone at your table with a belly full of butterflies. Sounds so silly, but it works. We're approaching nine (!) years of dates, but somehow this brings things back to when we first met.

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I've noticed that a few people have been venting that they just can't get into the holiday spirit this year. Honestly? I hear you. This holiday season has been busier and more overwhelming than most, and I can't really figure out why. Here are some things I'm gonna work on! Maybe you'll decide to as well.

1. Be around children. Children have all the answers, they really do. Never-ever underestimate or belittle the power of a child's imagination. We can learn a tremendous amount from them.

2. Watch your favorite holiday movie. For me? It's a Wonderful Life works like a charm. And by work, I mean it makes me cry every. single. time. It's not Christmas until I see this.

3. Drink hot chocolate. Fill that mug with as many marshmallows as you can. Add whipped cream. Add a cookie, even!

4. Reacquaint yourself with this article. It hangs in our kitchen year-round.

5. Find a group and go caroling. My family went caroling years ago, and I was at the age where the thought made me roll my eyes in protest. We ended up going to a nursing home and I will never forget the feeling of standing there, singing Silent Night in a Santa hat, knowing we were brightening someone's day. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear.

6. Go to church. And remind yourself why you're celebrating in the first place.

7. Watch old home videos. There's some quote I can't seem to find that says something like, "Christmas makes you nostalgic for home even if you're there." It's a time when you inevitably look back on life and remind yourself where you came from, and how you've become who you have. It's good to reflect. Laugh at that outfit you thought was cool in 4th grade. Know one day you'll look back to now, longing for it. Remind yourself that there is something in your life right now that you will miss one day. Hold onto it tightly this year.

8. Do a random act of kindness. Hold a door. Give someone your seat. Pay for the meal for the car behind you in the drive-thru. Send someone a gift who's not expecting one, even though you expect nothing in return. Write someone a letter, telling them they're pretty special to you. Donate to those in need. Remember that "in need" doesn't necessarily mean in need of money. There are people out there who don't have the family and friends you do, and holidays are harder than "normal" days. Figure out how you can be a little miracle in someone's December.

9. Make your closest loved one feel special. People often approach the holidays with their significant other and say, Oh we're not doing gifts this year - too many other expenses. That's fine. Totally get it. But don't let it stop you from making them feel special. Wake up at 5AM and cook a pancake spread on Christmas. Write them a letter. Buy them something that is $5 that's part of an inside joke, and make them giggle. Set aside some time and make them something. Have a special date.

10. Surprise someone. Is your family noticeably upset you're not coming home for the holidays? If you have the means, then go. You will never regret seeing that look of joyful surprise on their face when you walk in the door. Send something to your best friend's house that they're not expecting. Go buy your kids a puppy, you know they want one. Propose already! And make it a huge surprise. Call someone you haven't talked to in years, and surprise them with a, Merry Christmas! How ARE you?

Tell me! How are you getting into the holiday spirit? xo.