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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

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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