Decorate the tree! Hell, decorate your whole house!
Get into it! Get the kids to help; make some decorations; string pop corn snow or make paper chains. Once it's all up, you may find you have a heart-warming sense of satisfaction from the task. Here's how my tree decorating went this year!
Watch Christmas movies!
Start watching Christmas movies! There is something contagious about Christmas cheer, even if it is fake movie cheer. Go on. Make some pop-corn and stick on a good old fashioned movie. Home Alone is one of my faves.
Make presents instead of buying them!
If you are a little short of cash and have quite a few small gestures of kindness to rustle up, how about making something? Nobody needs as much chocolate as they get at Christmas. Check out this site for great ideas of things you can make for Christmas. I am very curious to try to make one of these secret hollow books for my son!
Donate to a Charity!
Doing good deeds makes you happy. It has been proven by Harvard students in numerous studies so it has to be true. Apparently giving to others makes us feel better than giving to ourselves. I must admit to getting a kick out of buying things for my kids, but when I buy for myself I tend to feel guilty (why do women do that?) Giving to a charity or donating to a food bank at Christmas is a win-win. You get to help people in need and you also get a big dose of satisfaction that you have helped make someone's life a bit better. I guess if you're grinching out, it is nice to feel like you aren't all bad, huh?
Send cards/make and send cards!
In the UK, Christmas cards are a big deal. If you don't send out Christmas cards you are basically committing social suicide. In New Zealand Christmas cards aren't so big. We usually only get two sent to us. One from a Real Estate agent, and one from someone in England that is actually addressed to some lady who used to live here about 10 years ago. But cards are nice. They are nice to send too. Taking the time to think of all the ones you love and address a card to them, then remembering to post the blighters - that's love right there!
Making cards for people is even cooler. I would so rather get a home made card than a store bought card any day. The cool thing about making cards is that your kids can help. Or not. Also you can personalise them a bit. The other thing is you can make them wildly inappropriate if the recipient is into that kind of thing! It can be so hard to find inappropriate cards these days.
Sing! Go to Carols by candle light! Teach your kids Christmas Songs!
My son Cohen wants to be rich. He has informed me that I am to learn a repertoire of Christmas songs on my guitar so that he may provide the accompanying vocals. Then we are going to busk at the Sunday markets. Then he says, we will be rich. While I am not quite sure about this plan, I do agree that singing Christmas carols actually makes them much more bearable. They play everywhere this time of year. You may as well sing along! Supermarket? Go ahead, belt it out! Do a little dance in the isles too while you're at it!
This year we are going to go to Carols by Candlelight. Will will take a picnic and sing as loud as we can. I am actually looking forward to it.
Replace the things you hate about Christmas with things you love.
I hate fruit cake. Basically if cake doesn't have chocolate associated to it in some way I just don't see any reason to eat it. That's why this year I am going to make a chocolate mud cake! I'm gonna add some delicious fruits to it, like fresh berries and nuts. Yum. Already makes Christmas more appealing.
Make everyone in your family write a Christmas list
It makes shopping so much easier if you know what you are looking for. Don't forget to write one for yourself either. Give it your loved ones! If you want presents these days you have to be pretty blatant about it!
Personally, I find Christmas stressful. There are lots of things to do and not always enough time to do it. We have two kids to buy for and it can be hard thinking up good ideas for gifts that will not be either destroyed in seconds or used as weapons against each other.
It is hard for one person to do it all. If your other half is a bit of a stick in the mud (read: dickbag), you may have to delegate some tasks to him or her. This way you wont get to Christmas day and feel like you hate the world.