Unwrapping the Fun: A Playful Guide to Being Merry and Bright When You’re Just Not Feeling It

Dec 6, 2023 | Uncategorized

In the midst of holiday cheer, not everyone's sleigh ride is smooth; from tangoing with tinsel to wrestling with wrapping paper, the season's quirks and challenges can dim the twinkle lights for some. Recognizing this holiday medley of bad Christmas…

Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say!

But, if you are like me, sometimes the season is more of a hassle than tinsel. There is just so much to do, from shopping and parties and baking to just trying to keep up with the every day life of work, housekeeping and kids’ sports (go team!)

It is not unusual to find yourself in a bit of a holiday funk. Really, it is nothing to get your stockings in a pinch. Some reasons why you might be feeling like you’re having that Blue Christmas feeling:

  • Loneliness: Sometimes you are so busy that you don’t feel like you have time to spend with anyone but the elves and your “to-do list.” Or, you may not have friends or family who live close-by to spend the holidays with. Both of these can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Grief and Loss: The holidays, especially, make the heart yearn for anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. Remembering the good times around the tree can be a challenging time as it may intensify feelings of grief and sadness.
  • Financial Stress: We all feel the pressure to buy gifts, travel, and participate in various holiday activities, which can create financial strain, leading to extra stress and anxiety.
  • Family Conflict: No family is perfect. And, we always feel the obligations to gather with our family members throughout the holiday season. The extra stress of the holidays can intensify the already strained relationships or unresolved conflicts, leading to more tension and discomfort.
  • High Expectations: This one is one that we place on ourselves, especially if you are a mom. We place unrealistic expectations about the holidays, fueled by societal and media portrayals or what we remember as kids, all of which can lead to disappointment if reality doesn’t match these ideals.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Some people experience a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is related to changes in seasons, including reduced sunlight during the winter months. Unfortunately, SAD is the highest in December, when it is the darkest and we have the most to do.
  • Work Pressure: Some individuals may face increased work demands or pressure to meet end-of-year deadlines, which can contribute to stress and unhappiness. Add in that we, as most Americans, have a hard time justifying taking time off, from reasons of guilt of not being there, or you don’t get much vacation time.
  • Cultural or Religious Differences: People from different cultural or religious backgrounds may not celebrate the same holidays, leading to a sense of exclusion or being out of sync with the majority.
  • Health Issues: Individuals dealing with health problems may find the holidays physically and emotionally challenging, especially if they are unable to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
  • Unrealized Expectations: And, we all know someone who has specific expectations for the holidays that are not met, whether it be regarding relationships, gifts, or the overall experience, leading to guilt trips and disappointment.

Never fear! There are ways that we can start to feel the glow from our tree lights inside ourselves and be able to shine brighter than the biggest bulb out there! Here are some ways to sprinkle some cheer and help you unwrap the joy, even when your enthusiasm is on vacation.

Acknowledge Your Inner Grinch

Let’s face it; not everyone feels like Buddy the Elf during the holidays. If you’re more of a Grinch this year, embrace it. Acknowledge your inner Grinchiness, give it a nod, and then let’s move on to the merry-making! Really, it is okay to feel a little green every once in a while. Even the Grinch was able to enjoy the roast beast and allow his heart to grow three times as big!

Set Expectations on the Fun-o-Meter

Forget the perfect Hallmark movie scenarios. Set your expectations on the Fun-o-Meter, where ugly sweater parties and hot cocoa spills are not just expected but celebrated. The more ridiculous, the better! Or, embrace the Christmas villains – throw a Grinch or Scrooge or Bad Santa party, let the bad lead to a lot of fun.

Craft Quirky Traditions

Who says traditions have to be serious? Create your own quirky rituals, like wrapping your pet in tinsel or having a dance-off with your reflection in the shiny ornaments. In our house, not that the boys are older, our new tradition has replaced the Elf on the Shelf with Snoop on a Stoop. And, the boys get to hide him for the parents to find. Yep, the weirder, the merrier!

Connect with Loved Ones… and Pets

If human interaction feels like too much, cozy up with your pet. Dress them up in reindeer antlers, share some treats, and voila – instant holiday cheer. Pets make excellent party companions, and they don’t judge your dance moves! (Unless you have a cat; cats always judge. Until I put the antlers on the big orange one….ha ha ha ha!)

Self-Care Shenanigans

Self-care doesn’t have to be all zen and tranquility. Treat yourself to a spa day with a face mask that makes you look like an alien! Or take a bubble bath with a rubber ducky orchestra. Or, create some fun cut-out cookies! Or, make up new lyrics to Christmas carols! Laughter is the best medicine, after all.

Gratitude with a Side of Sarcasm

Reflect on the absurdities of life and find gratitude in the ridiculous. Maybe you’re thankful for that one sock that always disappears in the laundry or the fact that your houseplant is somehow still alive. It’s the small wins!

Mindful Moments, Minus the Seriousness

Incorporate mindfulness into your day with a twist. Try laughter yoga, where you giggle your way to relaxation, or mindful cookie decorating – savoring each sprinkle like it’s the secret to eternal happiness. The more that we can laugh at ourselves, the better we can feel!

Light Up Your Space… Literally

Deck the halls with all things bright and whimsical. Throw in some glow-in-the-dark decorations, tacky holiday sweaters, and a disco ball for good measure. Your space should be a festive reflection of your fabulous self. This is the season where more is better. There is no room for minimalist. Be extra. Be bright. Be silly!

Seek Santa’s Help

If the holiday blues persist, draft a letter to Santa Claus. It’s never too late! Ask for a sprinkle of joy, a dash of silliness, and maybe a unicorn or two. You never know; Santa might be the ultimate holiday cheer influencer. Wish on that bright star in the sky. If there is ever a time to believe, it is now!

Let’s be serious for one moment – if you are having difficulty in finding any joy in the season, acknowledge it. Don’t hide just to fit in. Find someone to talk to, whether it be a family member or a close friend or a professional. We all feel Bah Humbug at times; but if that Scrooge feeling lasts longer than a day or two, it’s okay to reach out. We all have been there.

The holidays can make you feel like you are stuck inside a snow globe that someone keeps shaking continuously. Remember, we all feel it. Make this holiday season a choose-your-own-adventure story. Embrace the chaos, revel in the ridiculousness, and make this holiday season uniquely yours. After all, being merry and bright is a lot more fun when you add a touch of whimsy and a pinch of playful mayhem!