As a child, Christmas was my favourite time of the year. But the older I get, the more difficult it becomes to conjure up this special feeling. Instead, there are deadlines in the office and it really stresses me to get a suitable present for everyone. But this year, I’m planning to change that.
Sweet old Christmas memories
When I was young, I was counting the days until Santa Claus’ arrival. At the beginning of December, my mom started baking Christmas biscuits. The house smelled of ginger bread and almond, while my siblings and I wrote letters to Santa Claus.
Each Sunday, my mom and dad gathered us in the living room. Sometimes my mom read the Christmas story to us, other times we just remembered happy moments of the past year. And when it turned dark outside, we sang Christmas songs in the candle light.
As the big day drew nearer, my dad bought a Christmas tree and my mom retrieved the decoration from our storage room. Oh how much I loved helping her decorate the house and our tree…
Back to the present
These days, Christmas time has lost most of its glamour for me. Instead of baking biscuits, I’m working overtime in order to complete my annual report for the management board.
When I finally return home after an exhausting day in the office, all I want to do is lie on the couch. I can’t even bring myself to think about presents, let alone bake or decorate our flat.
So, each year, as Christmas draws closer, my stress factor usually doubles due to my workload in the office and not-yet-organized Christmas presents.
Not very romantic – isn’t it?
That’s why I decided to create that special atmosphere again. My plan is to actively bring myself to pause and think, and breathe in the Christmas spirit!
Here is how I plan to do it:
#1 Positive Thoughts – Being a better person
To underline my good intentions, I’ve started researching books with positive messages. Stories about friendship, family and true values that will make me want to be a better person.
I want to be more relaxed. Less judgemental. Helpful. And Forgiving. I want to be a nice person.
My goal is to see the good in the people around me instead of thinking such an idiot. And I’m starting today by writing it down.
#2 Make others happy
Making others happy plays an important role when talking about Christmas. Unfortunately really suck in preparing presents for others. Usually I stall thinking about presents until the week before Christmas day, ending up buying gift cards for everyone.
But this year, I’m planning to get more personal gifts for my loved ones – starting with my best friend’s birthday present. Her birthday is on November 24th and I’m finally preparing a personalized Advent Calendar for her. This particular idea has crossed my mind several times in the past but never made it out of there.
I’ve bought little present bags, one for each day until Christmas, and started filling them with small stuff or positive short stories about friendship.
Even while doing this, I realize that this is more than just a present for my best friend. It’s one for myself too. It feels so good to finally turn up with the present she deserves. When I’m done creating her Advent Calendar, I’ll come trate on organizing Christmas presents for everyone.
#3 Do something good
While listening to the Christmas story, I always ask myself if I’ve done enough for others in the past year. This year I don’t want to come up with the usual answer “probably not.”
I want to say “yes!” – without feeling the nagging of a guilty conscience in the back of my mind.
The coming weeks offer the chance to do something good for others – and I’m going to take it.
Whenever a possibility presents itself, I’m prepared to offer help or act as a good person. Helping an old woman boarding the subway, for example. Plus, I’m planning to donate money to a charity or something similar.
#4 Visiting a Christmas market with my parents
Of course Christmas is also a lot about taking the time to enjoy the atmosphere – for example at a Christmas market. There’s a beautiful and well-known Christmas market in my home town Stuttgart. Most of the years I don’t find the time to go there though.
This time, I’ve already set a date to go there with my parents. We’re going to stroll along the beautifully decorated market stalls, drinking mulled wine, which in itself creates the perfect pre-Christmas atmosphere. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with my parents.
#5 Christmas decoration and culinary pleasures
Furthermore, I’ve started a shopping list to create a proper atmosphere at home:
- CD with Christmas songs
- Mulled wine
- Flavoured winter tea
- Ginger bread (ask my mom for her recipe!)
- Holiday Lights
This year I’m going to see, taste, smell and hear Christmas coming to our home!
#6 Plans for the holidays
Finally, I’m already planning our holidays. I’m prepared to do more than just lying on the couch, supposedly recovering from my stressful job. My coming Christmas holiday is going to be about having breakfast with friends, go swimming with my brother and nephew and cooking together with my husband.
I truly can’t wait!
Do you have any special plans for Christmas time this year? I’d love to learn about your traditions and thoughts on the topic. Just write me an email or leave a comment below.