a. bucket. of. words.

by Cherszy (@cherszy)

(7) Ways to Celebrate a Meaningful Christmas

Do you see those pine trees draped in their colorful and holiday accessories as they stand tall and proud with lots of beautifully-wrapped presents at their feet when you pass by the rows of houses on your way to work or school?

Do you hear your neighbors’ children practicing to the tunes of “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” for their upcoming Christmas caroling nights?

And do you smell the Christmas air hovering above and about you as you talk of Christmas parties with your colleagues and friends and as you rush through the stores to find the perfect gifts for your favorite nephew, Jimmy, and for your favorite niece, Lily, in your (almost late) Christmas shopping?

Well, the real question is: are you feeling the Christmas spirit already? Are you as excited as I am for the Christmas season that you just can’t stop thinking about what you’re gonna do for the holidays this year? I bet you are! So, tell me, what’s on your mind for this Christmas? Anything special or meaningful?

How about you do something different for Christmas this year, say something you’ve never done before in the past Christmases? At least just this once and see how you like it. Maybe Christmas isn’t always about usual traditions but finding your own meaning of what it really means to celebrate Christmas.

Since it’s 7 days to Santa’s visit, I’ve listed here 7 ways on how you can make this Christmas more meaningful and how you can celebrate it with Christmas fireworks in your hearts. 🙂

1. Go somewhere else in the world for a short vacation and take joy in celebrating Christmas from a different culture’s perspective

Grab a friend, a relative, or whoever you want to tag along and take a short trip together to somewhere outside your home city to share more bonding time. Or, you could go alone if you want in order to have more “me” time. You could go as near as the neighboring city or state or fly as far as the other side of the world, and I’m pretty sure you’d find something beautifully unique in their Christmas traditions.

Enjoy a slice of ‘cognou’/’cougnolle’ for your Christmas breakfast in Belgium or some baked carp for Christmas dinner in Austria. Witness the young girls of the Czech Republic check on their cherry twigs which they have placed in water to see if they’re going to get married within the year (if the cherry twigs blossom on Christmas Eve). Join the Filipinos as they go on their traditional ‘simbang gabi’ until the 24th of December or wake up to the sounds of the Dutch farmers blowing on their long horns after every sunset until Christmas. Or, find the Finnish unusually celebrating their Christmas by paying respects to the dead in the cemeteries.

Whether you’re witnessing a Catalan tradition of seeing people hitting on “the pooping log”  or Caga Tio to force it to “poop out Christmas graces” in Spain or hitting the roads of Caracas, Venezuela on your roller skates on the way to church for mass, enjoy the spirit of Christmas! See the season in a new light by celebrating  a tradition that’s new (and bizarre) to you! It’s going to be a story you’ll never forget and a story you would always want to tell your kids. Appreciate the culture and have fun, you travelers!

2. Be your own Santa

You hop from shop to shop, looking for the most beautiful and appropriate gifts for your best friends and your relatives. A dozen paper bags, rolls and rolls of wrappers, and a handful of goodies, and you’re ready to wrap away those presents for everyone on your “nice” list this Christmas. But, hey Santa, when was the last time you treated yourself something on Christmas? When did you get something you really want while going on your routine Christmas shopping? I bet you remembered everyone except yourself while thinking of what to buy. Am I right? Yeah, I know the feeling. I’m guilty as charged.

So, this Christmas, I want you to go out there and buy yourself something you’ve always wanted. While Christmas is about sharing, it doesn’t mean to say that you have to forget yourself in the process. Go to that shop and grab that thing on your wish list.

Be your own Santa. Treat yourself and smile. You deserve it.

*Just thought you might want to play this song as you read on:

3. Bake Christmas treats and share them with the less fortunate

Christmas may be a season of joy and fun, but it cannot be denied that while many families are feasting on their turkeys, many other families or people are trembling with hunger. So, why not spread the joy and prosperity by sharing the love this Christmas with the less fortunate? Homeless people, orphans, kids on the street, whoever you see around you who needs your help, go and share. You don’t necessarily have to give them expensive gifts; all you have to do is show them how wonderful Christmas can be by sharing with them the Christmas spirit. A simple tray of cookies or cupcakes that you baked is enough to make them smile and see the merry in your greeting of Merry Christmas.

‘Tis a season of sharing. Make Christmas more meaningful. Spread the love. They’ll appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. To you, it’s just cookies. To them, it’s a selfless gift from a stranger.

4. Party, party, party!

It could be your office’s Christmas party, your organization’s Christmas party, a holiday season’s party in your favorite club, or a Christmas party at your friend’s house – whatever it is, go and have the time of your life! It’s a time to mingle and share some laughs over some cakes and cocktails after a year of hard work. Reward yourself with this break. Celebrate the holiday with the people you work and go through your life with. Remember, it’s a season of fun, so enjoy, enjoy, enjoy before another year of stress devours you and your colleagues. But, just to remind you, party hard but not too wild that’ll get you to do something you’ll regret. Have fun but set limits – that’s the way to optimize your party life! And… DJ, let’s get this party started!

5. Create the snowman of your dreams

I guess this is not an option for everyone, but if you are lucky enough to have snow falling outside your window, you better take this opportunity to create that snowman of your dreams or probably that igloo or whatever snow sculpture you have in mind. Many of us may have ceased to believe in Santa Claus, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop living your childhood fantasies. Who did not dream of building his/her own snowman when he/she was a child? Well, what’s stopping you from chasing that dream now?

Go and build that snowman! Make your snowman with your friends, with your kids, or with your neighbors, and create a whole snowman community. Take a picture of it and hang it in your bedroom so that every year, you will be reminded of the magic of Christmas – of how something as simple as a snowman can let you relive your childhood. Be as creative as you can be, and post your pictures! And don’t forget to send me a link! 🙂

6. Take lots and lots of Christmas photos

Christmas is one of those times of the year when people really explore and express their artistic sides by decorating their houses as beautifully as possible. Shops also hang Christmas ornaments to attract buyers, and usually, there are giant Christmas trees here and there for public viewing. Everybody’s got different ways of putting glamor to Christmas, and with the differences in creativity, this is one of those times you should be abusing your cameras by taking lots and lots of beautiful photos. Whether you want yourself to be taken with the beauty of the season or just the scene itself, just grab that camera and click, click, click. Christmas is a great photo opportunity, trust me. Lights, colors, and decors – the Christmas sceneries are just breathtaking.

And since Christmas time is usually a time of family reunions and friends gathering for a time together, take it as an opportunity to pose for family photos or for memorable pictures. It’s not everyday you get to spend time like that with people who are very dear to you, especially in a complete way. There’s always someone who’s busy in ordinary days, but on Christmas, everybody’s usually around, so get that camera and keep on taking pictures. Create a barrel of memories this Christmas and… 1, 2, 3, smile!

7. Host a Christmas party

What better way to celebrate the season of Christmas than with family and friends. Invite them, have a get together, and toast to a special season with smiles on your faces. Feel the warmth of love and of belongingness as you eat a delicious dinner on Christmas Eve while exchanging stories as you pass the plates of food to one another. Let the beautiful Christmas tree in your living room be a witness to your sharing of selves on Christmas day as you share the food that you can all help to prepare. Go either with potluck or have everybody help out in the kitchen. It’ll make you feel closer and more thankful for the gift of one another.

Make your Christmas party more fun by playing a bunch of family-friendly games, such as charades, and having everyone participate in the exchange gift. Put a twist to the usual system of exchange gift. There’s the popular white elephant or you can just make your own fun rules of doing the exchange gift. And while all these are happening, make sure you don’t forget to play some nice Christmas music in the background to set everybody’s moods for the holidays. And lastly, don’t forget that group picture in the end! It’s the most beautiful memory you can keep from Christmas. It’s not the presents but the presence that counts. Enjoy your Christmas party! I’m sure it’s going to be a blast! 🙂

I hope you all have fun celebrating Christmas, no matter how you do so. Just always remember, celebrate it in a way that’s meaningful to you.

7 days to Christmas! Happy holidays everyone!

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