Do you ever wonder how to feel more festive at Christmas? What happens if Christmas doesn’t feel the same as it used to? Or maybe it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.
What happens when the “most wonderful time of the year” rolls around and you’re just not feeling it?
We’re constantly told that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but honestly? It’s sometimes hard to feel that way.
In our family this year, my daughter had to move schools. It was an incredibly hard situation. Our summer was basically an expensive, stressful disaster. I’m in the midst of trying to buy/sell a house, with all the stress and worry that brings.
And it’s December! There’s rotten weather and damp patches in the hallway and the sure and certain knowledge that half my clients won’t pay their bills before they disappear for Christmas.
Is it surprising if you look at Instagram and wonder, “Am I the only one not feeling excited about Christmas?”
Why We Don’t Feel Festive
I suspect a lot of people have similar feelings, sometimes.
One of the reasons Christmas is magical as a child is because you don’t have bills, you don’t have to prepare or shop or decorate. You don’t have to do your job. Or remember to send cards and attend events and generally be an all-seeing Santa.
Maybe you lost someone, and this time of year is a painful reminder of someone who isn’t with you. Maybe you’re newly separated, or you’re struggling with family drama, or money worries, or health problems.
Traditions Change as Kids Get Older
As kids get older, the Christmas spirit is not quite so obvious. They no longer have nativity plays or home-made Christmas cards to share. They’re not excited to see Santa or make reindeer food. They shrug when you ask about presents, because basically, they don’t trust you to buy the right thing.
They might not even want to get out of bed to help you decorate the house!
In case you’re feeling similar, I thought today I’d share the things that are helping to boost my Christmas spirit this week. If you’ve got more, then I’d love to hear them.
How to Feel More Festive at Christmas
What I’ve realised is that I need to take care of me, before I can be ready to celebrate the season with others. It’s hard to feel festive when you’re tired, frustrated or stressed.
For you, self-care might be taking a bath with a great book.For me, it’s booking a spa day with a relaxation treatment. And a good book. I’m about to dive into this new novel by fabulous fellow blogger Jo Middleton – doesn’t it look fab?
Take Christmas Pet Photos
If you want to feel those festive warm and fuzzies, get a dog. Or a cat. Basically, you need a pet, that you can dress up in a Christmas jumper and force to pose for photos.
Teddy’s Christmas jumper has a Christmas tree with little lights – that ACTUALLY light up. I cannot tell you how much joy this gives me. It would be fair to ask how much joy it brings HER.
Feel Festive Looking at Christmas Lights
This weekend, I took Flea to see the Christmas Lights at Dunham Massey. This is a National Trust property about an hour from where we live, but there are similar events nationwide.
We arrived and had a bit to eat at the on-site restaurant, before spending a lovely couple of hours touring the outdoor lights. There are tunnels of fairy lights, fields of giant baubles that flash in time with the music, 20 foot tall stags and, oh, lots more.
It was a really lovely evening and definitely made me feel very festive! Check out your local National Trust sites if you want to be inspired!
Go see a Christmas Movie at the Cinema
Want to know how to feel more festive in less than 2 hours? Escape reality and go see a festive Christmas film at your local cinema.
Our second festive activity of this week was seeing Elf at our local cinema. Over the Christmas season, lots of cinemas show classic Christmas films. Often the tickets are cheap as anything – our tickets cost just £5 each. Seeing a movie at the cinema is perfect because a) popcorn and b) it’s all dark when you come out of the movie and the twinkly lights help prolong that festive feel!
10/10 would recommend.
Play Christmas Music and Trim the Tree
We tend to not put up our Christmas tree until the weekend before Christmas but this year Flea’s going to be away with her Dad that week, so we’ve done it a little earlier.
Our tree decor doesn’t have a colour scheme or a smart theme. But what it does have are ornaments that tell the story of our adventures. Each time we visit a new place, we try and find a new ornament. They’re rarely expensive, and often quite weird. But as we decorate the tree, it’s fun to remember the places we’ve been.
Like the Christmas lobster. From Martha’s Vineyard.
This year, I loved reminiscing about our Christmas trip to New York, and the year before that we were in Chicago. We chat about the ornaments we got at the German Christmas markets, and the Disney ornaments from LA, Florida and Paris.
If you’re wondering how to feel more festive, this is a great activity to do with older kids. You might need to bribe/bully them but DO NOT let them off the hook. Once you start, and the Christmas playlist kicks in on Spotify, they will be caught up in the memories, and another annual tradition is preserved.
It would take a monster to watch Hallmark Movies and not feel festive. They’re shmaltzy and some might say cheesy, but they provide perfect escapism. Many are set in gorgeous decorated small town America. Think twinkly lights, snowy cottages and small town charm.
I’ve provided my own round-up of the best Hallmark movies on UK television this Christmas but honestly? It’s hard to find a Hallmark movie that won’t give you the festive warm and fuzzies.
Especially if consumed with a cup of tea and a box of Quality Street.
Feel Festive by Doing Good Deeds
Taking the time to do something for others is the best way to remember what Christmas is all about, and feel more festive.
This week we’ve been pulling together the last items in our reverse advent calendar, which will be donated to a food bank. We also donated our old sofa and armchair to local families, after our new ones were delivered.
One of our local charities is also collecting socks for the homeless.
I bought a pair of thermal socks and put one sock inside the other. I added some basic essentials like soap, deodorant and a toothbrush, with some thermal gloves. Then you just tie up the sock before donating. It’s a lovely, practical way to help someone else, especially in this horrible weather.
There are only a couple of times in the year when it’s accessible to cook a whole camembert, stick some garlic and rosemary inside, and then dunk bread until it’s all gone. One is in the summer, at a garden dinner party with friends. The other is Christmas, when you’re pretending that you’re on a ski holiday.
Friends, I urge you to make the most of this short, seasonal window.
Eat the cheese.
Go to a Carol Service
I know that not everyone reading this will be a churchgoer, but even if you’re not a person of faith, there’s something very special about a carol service at Christmas. If you ARE a person of faith, I recommend midnight mass if your children are older, it’s a beautiful service and I always love the walk home in the chilly night air.
This week was the service for our local Scout Association. As Beaver leader, I get to escort my pack to the service and listen to a hundred or so local kids murder a series of carols. It’s very festive, and lots of fun. True story: our local church always has a live donkey and ALL the kids join the nativity performance for a special carol. It’s the most festive thing I see all year.
See Family & Friends
Sometimes when you’re feeling low, it’s tempting to hibernate at home. But making the effort to spend time with the people you love is almost always a mood booster.
This week, I’m off on an annual shopping day with my Mum. We’ll drive to Liverpool and explore the department stores and pick out gifts together. It’s as much about the tradition as the shopping – it’s just a vital part of our family Christmas!
It may be that you aren’t close to your family. I can relate to that. But it doesn’t mean you need to sit home feeling unloved. Spend time with friends. Make new connections. You are worthy of a special Christmas even if some of your family don’t agree.
Light those Festive Candles
When we were in Bath & Body Works this summer, I picked up a stash of seasonal candles. Yes, they were ridiculously heavy. Yes, I was paranoid they would break on the way home. But I’m ridiculously happy with my decision now that I have a “Let It Snow” candle burning on my fireplace.
If you don’t have Bath & Body Works then Yankee Candle Christmas Cookie or Red Apple make for gorgeous winter mood-lifters. I don’t know why the scent of winter marshmallow makes me feel more festive, but it does.
So there you have it. I might not be feeling 100 percent festive yet (maybe I need to wait until my Christmas Eve glass of Baileys?) but I’m definitely feeling a lot closer. And if you’re wondering how to feel more festive, or you’re just not feeling that Christmas spirit right now, I think it’s important you know that it’s TOTALLY okay and normal.