As children, we didn't need any help in keeping the spirit of the holidays within us.  Of course back then we only cared about how much of a haul we got.

As adults, it's a lot different.  We have the "burden" of responsibility around the holidays.  Decorating, cooking, shopping, Christmas cards, etc.  I've found it harder and harder to keep my holiday spirit intact over the years.  A lot of that had to do with losing three close family members over a span of just a few years.  The holidays for my family and I went from really special to really lonely in 10 seconds flat.

It took a few years for me to get back into the true meaning of the holidays and to discover again why they were always so important to me.  So if you find yourself in the same situations just take the time to stop and think about these few things.  After all, it's the meaning of the holidays that is the most important thing.

  • Take time to do what you enjoy about the holidays.  If you like the music, then listen to it, if you like to decorate then continue to do so.  You can't feel good about the holidays if you don't participate in the things you enjoy.  In other words, don't feel sorry for yourself.
  • Keep those holiday traditions alive.  My family would always make homemade stuffing from scratch.  This involved using an old fashioned hand-cranked grinder to grind up the meat and stale bread.  We stopped making it after my father and grandmother passed.  The holidays just didn't feel the same.  Now that we include it in our holiday dinners we feel much better about things.
  • Spend the holidays with people you care about.  Even if you don't have family close by and can't get to them you need to spend the holidays with people who you care about.  You don't have to invite yourself to their dinner, but you can ask them if they mind if you stopped by sometime so you could see them.  Nine times out ten they'll ask if you want to join them for dinner.
  • Give.  It's the simplest thing you can do to feel good about the holidays.  After all, this is the true meaning of the holiday season.  Donate your time to a charity or soup kitchen, slip a couple of bucks into a red kettle, or find a family in need and donate a few toys to them.

There is no doubt that the holidays can get rough as you get older.  There will be good years and bad years.  However, it's not an excuse to let the spirit of the holidays slip away from you.  Trust me, having been there, I can tell you there is no point in being a humbug... keep the spirit alive my friends.