I worked at a mall for years prior to moving to Vancouver, and let me tell you: working in a mall at Christmas time can really suck the holiday cheer right out of you. People are grouchy, malls typically have one Christmas album that they play over and over again (one year they played the same 20 holiday songs well into February), and rushing around helping people pick out gifts is exhausting.
Pair all of that with the fact that I haven’t had a proper Christmas break in 7 years with school and work constantly weighing on my mind and I turned in to a bit of a grinch.
But this year? It’s going to be different. I have a few vacation days around Christmas so that I have a full week (!!) off, I don’t work in a mall and I don’t have to worry about studying for finals and handing in term papers.
This year I’ve been trying my hardest to get into the Christmas spirit. But since the holidays are so inherently expensive with secret santas and Christmas work parties, hosting and gift giving, the extra driving and events, I have been trying to be frugal. Here is how I’ve done it:
Listen to Christmas Music
There’s nothing like getting in the holiday mood with some Christmas music. Around here, there is a station that plays Christmas music 24/7 starting in November, so when I’m waiting in traffic I like to put on a few Christmas songs.
This usually puts me in a festive mood really quickly.
Take a Walk
One of my favorite things to do with a friend in high school around the holidays was walk around the neighborhood and see all of the pretty Christmas lights.
We’d pick our favorite house and rate the decorations as we wandered through the streets.
We loved seeing the windows all lit up with Christmas trees. We would usually reserve this activity for a snowy evening, and we always came back full of holiday cheer.
Decorate Your Own House
I find decorating to be exhausting, most of the time. Other times I’m fine with it.
It’s not something that really puts me in the holiday spirit but I’ve heard some feedback from friends and colleagues that decorating their homes really does it for them.
I guess if I had rum and eggnog, I might be able to tolerate it more!
I usually start off with lots of gusto, get halfway through the decorating and want to jump ship. But you may not.
Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movie
This usually does it for me – watching my favorite Christmas movie (Elf, for the record) never fails to make me excited for the holidays.
There’s something about curling up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate or tea that makes me want to join in on all of the festivities.
Plus, assuming that you already own the movie, this is completely free!
Do Some Christmas Baking
I’m really not big on baking, so when I do bake, it’s usually for a reason.
Pulling out the cookie cutters and making some sugar or shortbread cookies is frugal and is also a great way to spread the holiday cheer, assuming you don’t want to eat the entire batch yourself.
I try to give some away when I bake, because I don’t need the cookies lying around the house calling my name. Baking and giving are both things that help with putting you in the Christmas spirit.
How do you get ready for the holidays?