Shayne on You: Getting in the holiday spirit

Dear Maggie,

Iím usually the most Christmassy person I know, but the last year has been a difficult one for me and Iím entering the holiday season depressed, tired, and not at all myself. I canít seem to get into the holiday spirit. I donít feel like watching the classic holiday movies Iíve always loved or putting on the CDs I usually have playing non-stop by now. I havenít put up a single decoration. I want to feel that warm holiday feeling, but I just canít seem to find it.

Any advice?

Grinchy and Hating It

Dear Grinchy,

First, donít be angry at yourself for not feeling Christmassy yet this year. Thanksgiving seems to have come awfully early and a lot of people are having trouble catching up. Iím sure youíre dealing with the depression with your doctor, (and if youíre not, do that first and foremost) so letís just talk about more everyday things you can try.

Iím a big believer in the ďfake it till you make itĒ approach. Try putting on those holiday CDs and watching the movies even if you donít think you feel like it. You might be surprised at the result. There are other things you can do, too, that might nudge that spirit along. Try some holiday aromatherapy. Our sense of smell has the most powerful memory of any of our senses. Filling your home with scents that say ďChristmasĒ to you, scents like pine and peppermint, might work wonders. You can get candles, scented oils for the bath, incense, essential oils, and so on.

The number one instigator of the holiday spirit for me, is waking up to a fresh snowfall, especially if it coats the pine trees outside. Thatís a little bit beyond our control, of course, but if you can take a drive to someplace snowy, it might help.

My final bit of advice is to get out of the house and go to where there are people doing holiday things. The malls, the stores, a sleigh ride, a Christmas tree farm, those sorts of places. Watch the kids standing in line to see Santa, eavesdrop on their wishes to him if you can. Itís sure to do the trick. Buy something for the Toys For Tots drive, or find some other way to do something for those who could use it.

Then move on and fake it till you make it. Buy a few giftsóyou have to anyway, so why not? Get some special wrap and bows, and go home and wrap them up. Get a headstart on sending out greeting cards, another job that has to be done anyway. Go get your tree and put it up and decorate it. Itís got to be done anyway, right? While youíre decorating, put in one of your favorite holiday CDs.

I can almost guarantee you by the time you put the star on the top of the tree, youíll be starting to feel that warm, tingly, holiday feeling suffusing you from your toes to your nose.

Most of all, be easy on yourself. No guilt, no pressure. Relax about this, and itíll be fine.

Happy Holidays!


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