Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind that December comes around and we have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Purchasing gifts, visiting relatives, planning travel, and dealing with bad weather can all add to the stress of the season. Here are a few ways that you can turn things around to help get yourself into the holiday season.

Leverage past memories

Dig through your photo albums or print out pictures from prior holidays and put them on display. This is especially great if you can find a picture that really triggers the holiday spirit for you. A picture of you at eight years old opening presents, your parents kissing under the mistletoe, or your child's first Christmas as they sit in a sea of presents are great options. Take some of these pictures and put them on the fridge or swap them out with the pictures in frames you have on display. Just put them somewhere that you will be guaranteed to see them frequently.

Indulge in Seasonal Foods and Drinks

Try the Winter brew the next time you go out to a local bar for a beer. Order a Peppermint Latte the next time you run out for coffee. Seasonal food and drinks unleash a fury of smells that trigger seasonal memories.

Pick a Theme

Narrowing your focus down to a certain theme can actually help to reduce stress by limiting the number of decisions we have to make. For instance, let's say you pick "Snowman" as your theme for the year. Go out and get snowmen greeting cards, pick up snowman gift wrap, and only purchase snowman decorations (assuming you need to buy any decorations). Change your screensaver to a snowman and bake snowman shaped cookies.

Decorate Early

Getting into the Christmas mood is all about bringing up thoughts of the season and building the anticipation for this year's festivities. One surefire way to do that is to be dilligent with getting your tree and decorations up as soon as possible. Don't feel like you have to spend all day doing this if you don't want to. You can always start small just by getting the tree out of box or bringing it home from the lot. Leave the box of ornaments and decorations in the living room and put them up throughout the week (e.g. when you get up during commercials on TV). Many times we put off decorating because we feel that it's a huge all day task. Breaking the work up into smaller chunks makes it more managable and alleviates the stress of feeling it has to be done right away. As long as you get started early, you will have plenty of time to deck your halls.Get creative in your decorations

Get Creative

Flexing your creative muscles is a great way to have fun while getting into the season. Remember, being creative is all about creating. You will find yourself getting into the spirit when you actively create the season around you. Don't want to purchase a tree? Make one by stacking gift boxes and covering it with garland. Make a wreath out of junk mail. Make ornaments out of a plastic milk jug. There are tons of crafting websites out there that you can get ideas from.

Donate to a Great Cause

Volunteering is also an option, but around this time of year some organizations may actually turn away volunteers due to the high supply of folks looking to help out. Donating will help sustain those organizations throughout the year when the number of volunteers decreases. Not only will you feel good about yourself, but you will be helping others out as well, resulting in a win-win scenario.

Engage Your Community

If you and your partner have regular date nights, plan to spend one at a holiday themed event. Anything can be turned into a nice evening. Go out and watch the tree lighting ceremony in your town followed by a nice dinner. Check out a seasonal concert or play at your local college or high school. Visit a holiday bazaar at a nearby church. Embracing your local community in these types of activities helps to build that sense of Christmas spirit you are seeking. You will be surrounding yourself with folks that are in the spirit at their best as opposed to their worst (e.g. in shopping malls).