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7 Ways to Make Christmastime Memorable (Without Tons of Gifts)

7 Ways to Make Christmastime Memorable (Without Tons of Gifts)

Ahhh, Christmastime. There are the glowing Christmas lights, sparkling snowflakes, the festive music, the giving spirit, and the holiday parties. Kids all over the world delight in decorating Christmas trees, baking Christmas goodies, and the excitement of Santa Claus. The buzz of the holiday season is almost magical, yet Christmas is even better than the fun celebrations. On Christmas every year, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.

Traditionally, this celebration has involved consumerism with the buying and exchanging of gifts. In fact, for many countries, the Christmas season is the largest economic stimulus due to the dramatic increase in retail sales. In 2013 alone, the United States’ retail industry generated more than three trillion dollars during the Christmas season.

While giving and receiving gifts is fun, the celebration of Christmas can be special without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas of how to make Christmas memorable without spending a fortune on presents.

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1. Send a meaningful letter 

Sometimes, the best gifts are words. Consider taking time this Christmas season to sit down and write a heartfelt letter to a family member or friend. When you express your gratitude and love, it will brighten their day and also make you feel good. You can also send a letter or card to someone who is deployed in the military.

2. Go Christmas caroling

Gather up your family and friends and go Christmas caroling through your neighborhood or to a local nursing home. There are many people who are shut-ins, and bringing the joy of Christmas to them can brighten their day and make Christmastime memorable for them and for you.

3. Invite a new guest

Although Christmastime is full of joy and hope, it can also be a time of sadness for people. Facing the holidays alone while missing a loved one who has passed away or is very far away can be incredibly difficult. If you know someone who will be spending time alone during the Christmas season, consider inviting him or her to join you as you celebrate.

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4. Get creative in the kitchen

Baking Christmas treats with loved ones can be a memorable event. Multiple generations can be involved as you have fun in the kitchen. Teaching kids to decorate Christmas goodies or make a classic treat (such as lefse here in the midwest United States) makes Christmastime special for all involved.

5. Pack a shoebox

Consider being part of the meaningful mission of Operation Christmas child. When you fill a shoebox with items for a child in need, it can give them hope and help make their Christmas special.

6. Get together with neighbors

Invite your neighbors over a tasty holiday drink. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant party requiring tons of planning and stress. You can mix up a delicious holiday drink for adults, or you can skip the alcohol and serve hot cocoa and candy canes.

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7. Start a fun tradition

When I was a kid, my extended family would get together every year for a unique Christmas party. We all brought five dollars and played games for the money. After a couple hours of playing various games, we all took our winnings (or what we had remaining if we lost), and went to the grocery store. There, we each picked out non-perishable food items. We found the best deals to stretch our dollars as far as we could.

Then, we all went together to the local ‘Santa’s Village’ to see Santa and his reindeer and donate the food, where it would then be distributed in the community by Santa’s Village staff. Those memories were so much fun and made Christmastime very special for me. This is a tradition my husband and I will also do with our kids when they’re old enough to play games.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What are some Christmas traditions you have that don’t involve spending a fortune on presents?

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Featured photo credit: MerryChristmas2014/Antonio Castagna via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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