Try starting with a smile and a cheerful comment. Good moods are contagious.
Instead of huffing or worse snarling at the clerk after waiting in line longer than you had hoped, put on your best smile. Use the time in line to think of something nice to say when you get to the register.
Is there a cranky toddler in line as well? Instead of rolling your eyes and loudly mentioning to the person with you that people should discipline their children, smile and commiserate. Most parents I know have, at some time, wound up in a line with an overtired or cranky child. Sometimes it just canít be avoided.
Feeling short on holiday cheer yourself? Take a time out to find your smile. Put on fuzzy socks; make a cup of hot chocolate and curl up to savor it. Make cookies because you want to, not because you feel you have to. Take half an hour to read a book in front of the fire. Exercise for thirty minutes to clear your mind. Whatever it takes to get the cheer flowing for you; do it. You and those around you will be glad you did.
Want to get the whole family on the cheer wagon with you? Take a few minutes at dinner to have each person share something they are thankful for or have each person tell a funny story. Just make a rule that the story canít be at someone elseís expense.
Feeling like there is no way you are going to get everything done? Call in a friend for help. You can repay the favor in the new year. Or, just decide to cut a few things from your list. Enjoy the things you do accomplish. Simplify. Instead of elaborately wrapped gifts, just do some simple wrapping. Or, skip the wrap. Hide presents or bring them out one by one.
Need a cheap night out? Fill a thermos with hot chocolate or coffee. Then, walk or drive around your neighborhood enjoying the lights and decorations.
Down to the last minute and still need a gift? Offer an experience. Most of us have more clutter in our houses than we need anyway. Time shared can be a gift that gives wonderful memories for years to come. Make up a certificate for an afternoon of fishing, a day at the zoo, a hike in the woods, whatever the recipient would enjoy. Memberships to zoos and museums can also be a great choice and provide enjoyment throughout the year.
No money for a gift or outing left in the budget? Give your time and talents. Offer to babysit while a couple has a night out. If youíre good with technology, offer to help with computer updates or new equipment. If you have big muscles and a strong back, volunteer to move furniture or perform other heavy tasks.
Want to preserve the joy of the season? Donít forget the camera. Put it somewhere handy and remember to use it. Pass it around so everyone gets in the photo and you get lots of perspectives. Take time to write about special moments in a journal or arrange pictures and notes in a scrapbook.
Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, remember to be thankful and share your cheerfulness with others. The two will go far in brightening the world around us.
Published: December 12, 2011