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7 Fun Yet Non-Traditional Ways to Celebrate Christmas This Year

7 Fun Yet Non-Traditional Ways to Celebrate Christmas This Year

As children, we all enjoy the Christmas holidays, but as we grow older, we start feeling that it kind of drags: fascination about presents gets fainter, we no longer believe in Santa Claus, and the entire thing gets a bit repetitive.

If you feel like your Christmas is stuck in a rut, there are always so many different ways to do things! So what about celebrating Christmas differently this year?

1. Skip the gifts

It may sound outrageous, but what if you skip gifting altogether? You may either forego it completely and save a lot of money, or do something instead of giving something. For example, all family members may chip in to go to a restaurant or buy tickets to a show everybody likes. There is another trend getting more popular every year–self-gifting. Instead of going on a spending spree trying to impress your relatives, spend a much smaller sum, but on yourself and things you know you need. Just make sure this new arrangement will not offend your family. They might even want to join in on the idea!

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2. Go cultural

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    There are hundreds of cultures in the world, and many of them celebrate Christmas in their own way. Some traditions are funny, some are weird, but all of them are fascinating. So here’s the idea: choose a country everybody in your family will agree to and spend a culturally-themed Christmas. Decorate your home in the way it is decorated for Christmas and New Year in this culture, imitate their traditions, prepare national dishes–you and your folks will be sure to remember it for years to come!

    3. Choose a different main course

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      Speaking of dishes, what do you usually eat for Christmas dinner? Most people enjoy a main dish that includes turkey, goose or ham…and that about sums it up. So, if you are unwilling to organize an entirely culturally-themed evening, why not get a taste of another country’s traditions, literally? There are so many variants: Czech vánoční rybí polévka (Christmas fish soup), Danish aebleskiver (round pancakes), German christstollen (cake with dried fruit and marzipan), Polish Makowiec (poppy seed roll)–the possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination and culinary pizzazz.

      4. Give a handmade gift

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        These are also called “gifts of thought.” The main idea here is not to give people run-of-the mill presents bought in shops, but cute little things you’ve made with your own hands–gifts with thought put into them. They may not look like much today, but they are precious in their own way and will remain so for years to come, when all the iPads and Xboxes people ever got on Christmas will be a thing of the past. And, of course, they are much easier on your wallet.

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        5. Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas

        Ironically, today we consider the most traditional thing about the holiday–celebrating the 12 days after Christmas–to be non-traditional and quaint. In most Christian cultures Christmas used to be celebrated in a diametrically opposite fashion to what we see today. Instead of pre-holiday hype lasting for most of November and the entire month of December, people quietly waited for the coming of the Christ, with the 12-day period after December 25 as a centerpiece. Why not try to do things the old-fashioned way, for once?

        6. Give Christmas to someone else

        Another beautiful idea is to find someone who certainly cannot afford Christmas and make their life a little bit better. Buy them a Christmas tree, give a present, or offer some other kind of help. After all, by making others feel good we feel good ourselves. There’re plenty of Christmas charity projects you can consider.

        7. Start the new year a week early

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          There is no time like the present! Many people make New Year’s resolutions to forget them the day after–so why not do the same, but the other way around? Start the next year of your life a little bit earlier. Make a list of New Year’s resolutions, decide in which ways you are going to develop for the next 365 days (i.e. start looking for a new job, picking up a new hobby, etc.) Thus you will have several days for the things to kick in and not being able to start new life from January 1 will not have the same damping psychological effect on you.

          Christmas is supposed to be the beginning of something new–and the best way to emphasize this idea for yourself and for the world is to make Christmas itself new, different and unusual. Try it this year and be happy!

          Featured photo credit: christmas front porch/trudi harrison via flickr.com

          More by this author

          Melissa Burns

          Melissa is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She writes about communication, entrepreneurship and success on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

          More to Help You Feel Relaxed

          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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