The lead up to the holidays can be a stressful time and practising self-care is especially important for our well-being. Join in with our 12 days of self-care!
While some people find gift giving to be fun, others become stressed out over finances or finding the right gift for a friend, family member, or an acquaintance. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the gift-giving stress around this time of the year.
Alternatives to Christmas presents
The holiday season is a time when people give gifts. However, there are times when giving gifts can be difficult. Here are some alternatives to giving out presents.
Make memories with family and friends. Instead of focusing on the gifts you can give loved ones try and focus on the memories you can make with them. Try and plan activities you can do with family and friends. You can visit Christmas light shows, watch Christmas movies or have a Christmas dinner. Take lots of pictures and you can make a scrapbook.
Make a need list. It is easy to get caught up in the things our loved ones want but sometimes it's better to focus on what they need. Ask your loved ones for a list of things they need and then purchase them something from the list. You might be surprised by what they need.
Offer your time Ask your loved ones if they need help with chores. A lot of the times our loved ones have a lot of chores they could use help with and they'd be appreciative of the time you give to help.
Give homemade items. There are plenty of homemade items you can give to loved ones. Try looking these items up online and you might find that they are fun to make and are quite appreciated.
Do secret Santa. Sometimes giving gifts can still be fun but affording gifts for every family member or friend can be difficult. Try and organize a secret Santa with your family and friends. Each person can pull a name and will be able to buy a present for that one person.
Here are a few articles with pieces with further gift ideas:
During this time of year, many people enjoy engaging in entertainment traditions such as watching movies or reading books. Holiday entertainment can serve as a good alternative as well.
Holiday movies to watch
Holiday movies are a great way to unwind, spend time with people in your life, and get into the Christmas spirit. Here are a few different movies you could consider watching this holiday season.
The Santa Clause (1994). The Santa Clause is a movie starring Tim Allen, in which he becomes Santa Clause after accidentally killing a man in a Santa Suit. The depictions of the north pole transport viewers back to their childhoods. People are also able to watch The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and the Santa Clause 3 (2006).
Elf (2003). Will Farrell plays the role of an elf named Buddy who was mistakenly transported to the north pole and raised by Santa's elves. Buddy decides to go to New York to find his real father. Viewers may relate to Buddy's feelings of being unable to fit in.
The Polar Express (2004). On Christmas Eve night, a boy boarded the Polar Express and experienced a journey with other children that he'll likely remember for the rest of his life.
Prancer (1989). Prancer is about an eight year old girl who struggles with the fact that her peers no longer believe in Santa Clause. She stumbles across Prancer, one of Santa's reindeer, and rehabilitates him while bringing the magic of the holiday season to her town. Prancer Returns (2001) is also an option for viewers to watch if they enjoyed the first movie.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a classic film that many people have grown up watching. It shows Rudolph's story and his journey. This film is often sold in combo packs with other classics such as Frosty the Snowman and Kris Kringle.
The history of the holidays and other media are engaging and thought provoking, why not try:
Many people enjoy baking for themselves or others during the holiday season. Try cooking something new like such as, baked holiday treats for your pets, or cook one of your favorite holiday dishes for some familiarity.
How to make caramel apples
The transition from Summer to Fall means leaving the season of popsicles and ice cream, and heading into the season of yummy desserts! A quick and easy dessert you can make are caramel apples.
Prepare some apples by removing the stem, washing them thoroughly, and chilling them in a refrigerator. Avoid using bruised apples.
Insert a wooden stick into the top of the chilled apples, and place them back into the refrigerator until they are required.
Place sugar, water, corn syrup (the amount of ingredients you use depends on the amount of apples you have) into a sauce pan. Boil the ingredients and stir until they have dissolved. Then boil without stirring until golden grown.
Combine half-and-half (or equal parts milk and cream), vanilla, and salt, then slowly stir into the pan. Boil until the thermometer reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (45 minutes), while stirring frequently.
Place a stainless steel mixing bowl into a hot water bath, and pour the caramel into the bowl. Coat the apples in caramel, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Allow the caramel to set a little, and enjoy!
Here are some additional treats to make this holiday season:
During the holiday season, we gather with our family and friends with hot chocolate, tea, and coffee while bringing out those boxes of decorations to spruce up our homes. Gather with your friends and family and deck the halls of your home.
DIY glitter ornaments
The holiday season is a time when a lot of people like to get creative with decorations. This tip will help you learn to make fun and simple holiday ornaments to place on your tree or gift to someone.
Purchase the appropriate materials. You will need clear glass ornaments, glitter, a glitter adhesive, paper towel and some plastic cups. Most of these items can be purchased in a craft store or online.
Pour the glitter adhesive into the glass ornament. Take the ornament hanger off before you do this. Once the hanger is off, add a little glitter adhesive. You should roll the liquid around until the inside of the ornament is completely coated. If you have any left over you can pour the remaining liquid into one of the plastic cups.
Sprinkle a liberal amount of glitter into the ornament. You might want to use a small funnel to do this to prevent the glitter from getting all over the place.
Use a paper towel to cover the ornament's opening so that you can swirl the glitter around without making a mess. Continue to roll the glitter around until the inside of the ornament is completely covered. It is possible that you might have to add a little bit of glitter as you go.
Put the ornaments upside down in a plastic cup to dry. Make sure that the ornament is upside down and that the opening is facing the bottom of the cup. This will prevent any pooling of excess liquid or glitter. Let them dry for at least 24 hours and then you can reattach the hanger.
Here are some additional resources to help you decorate for the holiday season:
Boosting your spirits or coping with preexisting issues around the holiday can be a struggle, especially if you are alone or you have to spend time with unhealthy people. For many, feelings of anxiety about anything from their sexual or gender identity to staying away from home may arise.
Being more present
Often, life can start to feel very routine. When that happens, it's easy to start going through the motions without really focusing on the ins and outs of day to day life. While this doesn't always seem like a bad thing, making an active effort to be more present and take in the world around you can have a huge impact on your relationships, attitude, and overall happiness. Read on to see some different things you can try to help you get started.
Unplug for a while. Technology definitely has its perks, but constantly being on your phone or laptop can detract from your ability to take in the things that are going on around you. Take some time daily to put your phone on silent, close your laptop, and absorb your surroundings. Have genuine conversations with the people that you're with, rather than sitting side by side scrolling through social media. Go for a walk without headphones in and listen to the sounds around you. You'd be surprised what a difference even an hour a day can make.
Listen to what people are saying. Don't just hear them, really listen. Regardless of how mundane the topic might seem, do your best to make the person talking to you feel like you genuinely care about what they have to say, rather than simply taking it in one ear and out the other. Ask questions, make comments beyond the standard responses, and show a genuine interest in their responses. It may seem like something small, but it can help to create a more authentic conversation and will make the other person feel more valued.
Take time to appreciate the little things. The smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of a bird chirping, the sight of the first star at night. Over time, the things that you once were drawn to can start to become so familiar that you stop recognizing them for what they are. While going through your daily routine, try to get back to those roots. If something strikes one of your senses and brings you a positive feeling, such as joy or peace, take a minute to revel in it. It might slow the flow of your day down by a moment or two, but allowing yourself that small window to see the beauty in small things will make any difficult things that pop up in your day a bit more bearable.
Look for inspiration daily. One of the biggest hindrances to being present in day to day life is feeling like there isn't a reason to be, as you know the patterns by heart. Break that mold by looking for things to be inspired by in everything that you do. You could look to another person for a boost of motivation, read blogs or watch videos that give you that can-do attitude, or look for little things that give you the positive vibes needed to finish what you set out to do. Being inspired just might give you the little push that you need to want to really be a part of what's going on around you, rather than simply following the routine to get it all done on time.
Look below for more helpful suggestions and ideas to nurture your mental health around the holiday season: