Ideas: How to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

John M. Dabbs

At Christmas time, there are lots of holiday-based activities you can enjoy. If you are sick of the same old games and work luncheons, try this to get your groove on. I've put together a few ideas to help you get into the Christmas spirit this year. Put on your favorite Christmas tunes from when you were growing up and getting into your groove, and maybe some of your most recent favorites too.

Make your spirit bright

There's also nothing wrong with getting together with family and friends and hanging out and watching a good old fashioned Christmas classic, or Hallmark special. Whether you're chillin' with your significant other, or a more traditional approach - change it up a bit and help indulge your spirit! Here are few tips.


Don't just listen to the music in your car and at home, get out there and sing a few songs with some friends. You don't have to sing pretty - just pretty loud! Seriously, the fun part of singing is being together and singing carols. You needed be good or even perfect pitch to enjoy yourselves and help bring some good cheer to others. Sometimes the cheer is singing so others can hear you, and sometimes its when you finish... as in my case.

Personally, I like singing to my wife when we're alone. I also sing to my sons - deliberately off key, just for fun as a dad joke.


No to be confused with rapping, as some modern Christmas songs are sung, wrapping gifts can actually be fun. My wife, mother, and aunts all wrap beautifully. Most of the guys I know wrap gifts so they look as if we've been in a fight for survival inside of a Walmart.

Maybe it'd be good to wrap as a team. You an make a sport of it, going for speed. You could also pick up some wrapping tips from your significant other - or even your mom on wrapping better. Be careful in what you're wrapping, and for whom when wrapping in front of others. We do not want to spoil any surprises.

Christmas brunch

Go for the gold this year! If you don't already have a Christmas morning meal tradition, maybe its time to start one with your family, friend, treat yourself, or that special someone to breakfast or brunch. It would be the perfect start after seeing what Santa may have left those of us overnight, who aren't on the naughty list.

I remember mornigns with my parents with biscuits and gravy. Some year's we'd have french toast, cinnamon rolls, or waffles (sometimes pancakes) topped with fruit pie filling, whipped cream, and syrup! Wouldn't Buddy the Elf like that for breakfast! I'm a more traditional guy now. I enjoy coffee, turkey bacon and eggs - but wouldn't turn down biscuits and gravy too. You know your family and besties - maybe you should whip up something special for them - or suggest you do it together.

Letters to Santa

Have you written a letter to Santa lately, telling him what you'd like for Christmas? What about the children in your life - may you can help them write a letter to Santa if they haven't done so already. The U.S. Postal Service puts overnight delivery straight to the big guy so he'll get it before the Christmas Eve - so no worries there.

You may want to print some nice stationary for them, or use some of your own specially designed paper. Be sure to encourage a polite tone to the letter, and thank him for being good and generous to so many people around the world. I would also suggest they try and be frugal, and not ask for too many items or anything beyond their parents means - as you wouldn't want them to feel badly if it was something way more than they could ever hope to afford themselves. It's only being polite.

Enjoy the fire

There's nothing like a cozy fire to set the scene for the holidays. A nice fireplace with stockings hanging nearby and cozing up in front of it are prime suggestions to make things Christmasy. Being wrapped in a cozy throw or blanket with plenty of snacks is a perfect place to enjoy time with close friends, family, or even just enjoying a holiday movie.

Since I no longer have a fire keeping my house warm, with a heat pump now doing the job - we found Netflix often has a fireplace burning on one of their streaming selections. I've been known to put that on at times while snuggling up with a good book and a cup of tea, coffee, or just my wife.

Bake Holiday treats

There's a reason for baking treats during the holidays - It's always the right time for goodies! You can make it a family affair and get the kids, or boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or other friends to come and help just for fun. I like baking from scratch (it's usually cheaper and more fun). Some people prefer mixes, which is okay too if you have problems getting all the ingredients to come together at times.

I know a few people who buy pre-baked cakes, cookies, or other treats. They just decorate them with their favorite icing, sprinkles, or other goodies and enjoy them. The best part about it - you can enjoy eating them, sharing them, or both! I don't know of a wrong way to share and enjoy treats during the holidays.


Have close friends who always say -no gifts- or please don't buy me anything? Maybe you should suggest a good old fashioned Cookie Swap! Bake your best and decorate anyway you like it. If you a specialty, wear it out and let it shine. Exchange cookies with the neighbors or friends you want to indulge with gift-giving without the unneccessary expense or waste. It's a win-win!

There's also the option of having a "store-bought" cookie exchange if there are allergy or sanitation concerns (as one could logically expect during a pandemic, though I can think of several other reasons).

Don't be afraid to make the box yourself from some cardboard or posterboard, and maybe include a hand-made card. It's a continuation of giving of yourself and your time - so they know you care. It's not supposed to be about money anyway.

See a holiday display

This can be self-indulgent, or shared with friends and/or family. There is no wrong way to enjoy a holiday display. Regardless of where you're located, there's likely a display of some sort not too far away.

It could be as simple as driving through a well decorated and lit neighborhood, thriving in Christmas cheer. There are also displays as in New York City. In my home town of Bristol, Tennessee, there's the Speedway In Lights with a four+ mile drive throught he speedway grounds filled with holiday lights - with a finally in the infield of Bristol Motor Speedway, where a makeshift Christmas Village has carnival rides and vendors with gifts, souvenirs, and food.

Help the less fortunate

If you have the time, volunteering is an excellent way to help spread holiday cheer and help those in need. Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army red-kettle campaign, serving at a soup kitchen, or helping to secure gifts for children who otherwise do without - these are all good causes where volunteers are needed. There is likely more opportunities within your own community. You may find more than one which is suitable to your time and talents, which could make a lasting impression on both you and those who serve.

If you build it - they will come

You can get buy without a general contractor and building permits here. Grab some basic supplies and wiling cohorts and build some gigerbread houses. It doesn't matter if you buy a kit or make it from scratch, it's going to be fun either way.

It's a traditional Christmas activity which has fallen out of favor in some communities. That doesn't mean it can't be fun. Getting kids involved makes it even sweeter - or at least they can enjoy consuming their works afterward.

Have those building and decorating join you in some non-traditional decorating of your masterpeices. Use some color besides white icing! Don't be afraid to add some green, red, blue... or anything that fancies your imagination. Be non-traditional - maybe make a gingerbread tee-pee!

Be creative and think outside the box

You needn't be a superhero to lead others to joy. Live this holiday in the moment and enjoy the time we have together. Think outside the box. Do you have something you do that others may consider non-traditional? Let me know what some of your favorite things are to do during the holiday and get your holiday spirit in gear. #MerryChristmas!

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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