I have been in a rut, and I have not been able to fix it. My normal go-to behavior is not working. I fill my mind with positive thoughts. I capture negativity and work to redirect it. Still nothing. I get into the zone, and within 24 hours find myself on the outside of the circle looking in…trying to find my way back.
I am at capacity and harnessing no holiday cheer so I resort to my lowest level of training. Since I cannot find happiness, I will create happiness. Since I cannot find joy, I will create joy. Since I cannot find Christmas cheer, I will create Christmas cheer. I am determined to declutter my holidays for myself and for all those I love.
I am here to create what I cannot find, to pull together the wisdom of those who have been where I am…needed what I need, and fill the holes with my own experience. I am here to inspire others to do the same.
For anyone who needs an extra dose of Christmas cheer, begin to fill your holidays with experiences. Take your money and invest in moments.
Here are 20 Christmas cheer moments that you can make at little to no-cost to you, and a bonus 5 moments for those who live in the New Orleans area.*
1. Christmas movie night (FREE)
Check the Christmas movie schedule. Pull out the popcorn and the leftover Halloween candy. Maybe even make a fort. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
2. Make a gratitude jar. (Less than $5)
Remember why you are grateful. Remember the people, things, and experiences you are grateful for. Remember all that life has given you.
If you need a little help getting started with a gratitude jar, here are some resources:
3. Bake Christmas Cookies (Less than $5)
Purchase some Christmas cookies from the local grocery store. Throw them into the oven. (Or make them from scratch if you prefer.) Enjoy them to the very last bite.
4. Walk/Drive to see Christmas lights (FREE)
To add an extra dimension of fun, here is a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt courtesy of Mique.
5. Decorate the Christmas tree (FREE)
Whether you decide to decorate your tree with your favorite theme or Charlie Brown the tree with homemade non-matching ornaments, nothing says Christmas cheer more than a Christmas tree.
6. Take fun Christmas photos. (FREE)
Who does not love a Pinterest perfect photo?
For a downloadable list of fun Christmas cheer photos to take this holiday season, click here. I retyped the list from a spam spy gear company. I scoured Pinterest and could not find the original owner. If anyone knows who owns the rights to this list, please let me know so that I can give him/her credit.
7. DIY Christmas Gift
Nothing restores Christmas cheer quite as much as the feeling you get when you give someone something no one else can give them but you. Take note, though, DIY does not always come out cheaper, and it certainly takes time. Christmas cheer comes at a cost, and the cost is not always monetary. You will invest yourself, but the return is priceless.
8. Christmas flavored coffee date
Because who does not like Christmas flavored coffee?
9. Advent Calendar (FREE)
10. Read a Christmas Book
Read one to yourself. Read one to your children. Enough said.
11. Give something away (FREE)
The best word introduced into my minimalist vocabulary over the past few years is DECLUTTER. You have closets full of stuff that others can use, toys kids can play with, clothes families can wear. What better time to find a home for all your extra?
12. Listen to Christmas music (FREE)
The day after Thanksgiving, the radio plays all Christmas all the time. Start listening. You can listen in small doses or large chunks. There is just something about a mood that shifts when music is in the air.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” (Buddy from Elf, 2003).
13. Watch The Grinch movie
I mean, think about it, the man’s heart grows three sizes. ALL OF THEM embrace the spirit of Christmas. This includes the original, the Jim Carrey version, and the newest version currently at theaters. If you want to read the book with the kids, then read the book. I know I already spoke about watching Christmas movies, but Mr. Grinch deserves a space all his own.
14. Setup a Nativity Scene
This one will be new for me this year. I may have to settle on finding a nativity scene in a front yard or at a church.
15. Make Christmas cards
Much like DIY gifts, homemade Christmas cards add that little something extra. Last year, my son made them and dropped them off with his Boy Scout troop at the nursing home – 5 star experience!
16. Read the Nativity Story (FREE)
If Mr. Grinch gets his own spotlight outside of “watch a Christmas movie,” then the nativity story certainly gets its own spotlight outside of “read a Christmas book.” I mean the story is THE reason for the season.
17. Support a small business
Someone stepped out in faith to follow their dreams. They could use your support.
18. Decorate the house
For most, a tree is not enough. Put up a wreath. Use candy canes, ornaments, pine cones, stockings, and stars. Decorating an area can transform the entire feel of a room, which in turn can transform the way YOU feel.
19. Do something for someone who can never repay you. (FREE)
There are people to whom I am forever indebted because of who they were to me when I needed them most. Be that person to someone.
20. Make a gingerbread house (under $10)
After doing this for the first time last year, this task is much easier said than done. Be prepared!
I created a free printable of these 20 Christmas Cheer Activities for easy reference.
5 BONUS ACTIVITIES FOR MY LOCALS
My kids know when breaks come, we are doing SOMETHING. New Orleans always comes through with plenty of Christmas fun perfect for Christmas cheer.* Your city may offer similar options.
21. ZOO Lights ($10 or $15 per ticket)
The Audubon Zoo Lights offers life-sized animal lights displays, live entertainment, story time, holiday photo opportunities, crafts to be delivered to patients at the Children’s Hospital, and more.
Dates: November 23-25, 29-30; December 1-2, 6-7, 9, 13-23, 26-30
Time: 5:30PM – 9:30PM
Location: 6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
22. NOLA Christmas Fest ($20 per ticket)
The NOLA Christmas Fest is an indoor Christmas Festival at the Convention Center with an ice skating rink, ice slide, life-size gingerbread house, carousel and elephant rides, snowball flights, winter mazes and more.
Dates: December 20 – 31.
Time: Varies – Usually around 11AM-10PM (See site for details)
Location: 900 Convention Center Boulevard Hall I, New Orleans, LA 70130
23. Celebration in the Oaks ($10 per ticket)
Celebration in the Oaks is located in New Orleans City Park. Trees are covered in hundreds of thousands of lights across 25 acres, including Storyland, the Botanical Garden, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Train rides, amusement park rides, and photos with Santa are also available at an extra cost.
Dates: November 23 – January 1
Time: Sunday – Thursday 6PM-10PM; Fridays and Saturdays 5PM-11PM
Location: 5 Victory Avenue, New Orleans 70124
24. Miracle on Fulton Street (FREE)
Miracle on Fulton Street takes place November 30-December 22 and includes highlights such as daily “snow” on the hour, a gingerbread display at Harrah’s Hotel Lobby, and Santa sightings on Fridays and Saturdays along with live music.
Dates: November 30-December 22
Times: The “snow is available on the hour from 11AM – 10PM daily; gingerbread and other holiday displays are available from 11AM-10PM; live entertainment and Santa are available Fridays and Saturdays from 6PM – 9PM
Location: Fulton Street, New Orleans, LA
25. Christmas in Lafreniere Park ($5 per vehicle)
Christmas in the Park exhibits large LED light displays of some famous Christmas and story book characters. Attractions also highlight writing letters to Santa, decorating ornaments, along with drive through and walk through lights tours.
Dates: November 30-December 30
Times: Sunday thru Thursday Dusk-9:45PM; Friday & Saturday Dusk-11:45 PM
Location: Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Boulevard, Metairie, LA 70003
For a day by day break down of Christmas activities here in the city including Holiday Movies at the Mississippi, the Roosevelt Hotel tree lighting and more, click here for more Christmas Cheer activities.
As we enter into this season of giving, not all of us are full of the Christmas spirit. I challenge each of you to use what I have as a start, do some soul searching, and find your own sources of Christmas cheer.
If you want to join me in finding joy or share my joy with someone else, I still have a few spots available on my luxury Mommy and Me at Disney: Ultimate Mommy-Daughter Getaway.
What are you doing this season to find your own Christmas cheer?
Leave your email so that I can send Christmas cheer strategies straight to your inbox.
If you liked what you read, please share with your friends, family, and followers.