Holiday HappinessHolidays are meant to be a time of hope and happiness, a time of laughter and cheer, a time of togetherness where love fills our hearts and homes. The truth is that the picture perfect happy holiday doesn't always exist for everyone. Many elements can alter our holiday disposition. The season brings with it many stresses and emotions which can often make any chance of holiday happiness and joy seem out of reach.
Many factors, including the common time consumption and stress that come along with this time of year, can play a huge part in one's overall outlook on the season. In addition to the expected stresses the holiday's typically brings, there are many other personal factors that can alter and prevent holiday happiness. Maybe someone you love is away at war, or ill and not doing very well, maybe you have suffered great loss this year and are just not ready to face the season. One very common factor that decreases joy during the holidays is financial stress. With the current economy the way that it is and so many people out of work, many wonder how they will afford to make it through the day let alone the entire holiday season. Those with children may wonder how they will put gifts under theChristmas tree and a nice dinner on the table. Many will even spend the holidays alone. It could simply be that your heart is just not in it and you're not quite sure why.
Whatever the reason is for the lack of enthusiasm you may feel, know that you are not alone, it is quite common to have feelings of sadness around this time of year. The holidays tend to magnify our emotions greatly. In fact, a recent study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research revealed that more than 36% of people feel greater sadness during the holiday season, not to mention the 61% who feel greater stress during this time. The truth is that many face the holiday season with hesitance, high emotions and a heavy heart.
However, facing the holiday season is inevitable. The season will come weather we want it to or not. It is in finding the strength to open our hearts and let go of our stresses that may be the greatest challenge. Here are a few simple ways to regain the holiday happiness that you may currently be without.

Remember What You're Thankful ForThankful
It is very easy for us to soak in our sorrows and be consumed by the negative things in our lives. Take the time to remember the things that you are thankful for, the positive things, the things in your life that you have been blessed with. Your parents, your children, your friends, your job, that you have food in the fridge, a bed to sleep in at night, whatever it may be, little or big, there are always things to put on your thankful list.
Maybe you lost a loved one this year and cant think of anything to be thankful for now that there gone. The truth is you could still be thankful for what was, for the experience, for the role they got to play in your life, the impact they had, and the memories that were created. Those memories were moments that marked your heart and impacted the person you have become. In fact, memories are one of the greatest gifts because they can not be taken away, that alone is something to be thankful for!
So write a list of what means the most to you. Don't just think about it, actually write it down. Write down each and every thing you can think of that you are truly thankful for and when your feeling down, take it out and read it! The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on the things in our life that mean so much to us.

Do Something Kind For Someone Else
Many times when we experience sadness our emotions can be positively altered by bringing joy to others. Doing something charitable may bring you a happiness that you never knew existed. It may take a great deal of effort on your part to actually get yourself up and out there but it will be well worth it. There are many great things you could do for your community, local hospitals, homeless shelters, etc..
You could try visiting a Children's hospital this holiday season. Bring a book, a craft, or just yourself. These children will be spending their holiday season within four little walls of a Hospital, anything beyond their normal routine would brighten their day, especially around Christmas. Imagine if you brought each child one single flower and stopped by to wish them a happy holiday. What a wonderfully unexpected surprise. Not only will it help your heart but the heart of a child's.
There are so many charitable contributions you could make, even just your time would be greatly appreciated. Help feed the homeless Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, donate your old clothes and household items to a local goodwill or charity. The smallest gesture could likely increase your holiday happiness as well as someone else's. The positive feelings created by these types of contributions is overwhelming and sure to lift your spirits.

Decorating For ChristmasDecorate Like Never Before
Fake it 'til you make it. I'm sure you've heard this phrase many times. The point is, when you surround yourself with something it eventually grows on you. This is true for anything in life so why not the holidays. You may not feel like going all out this year due to your current disposition and that's exactly why you should do the complete opposite. Get out the decorations and fill your home top to bottom. You might be surprised how this alone could help your happiness. There is something about the warmth of holiday decorations; Christmas colors, gleaming lights, dancing reindeer, things that sparkle and shine, they all have a way of brightening up your home and your heart.

Often Simpler is Sweeter
So much of our stress comes from wanting to make things perfect and for some reason our idea of perfection includes being able to give gifts and over do just about everything. While gift giving is part of the holiday season, it should never be the main focus. It's harder now then ever to live up to these huge holiday expectations that we may be use to. We cant afford the gifts we once could and even if we can it's not where the happiness of the holidays should be found. Sometimes simpler is sweeter. Christmas doesn't have to be overflowing with gift's under the tree to make it memorable and special. We put stress where it doesn't need to be by setting these expectations. There are plenty of ways to provide gifts for our families and others without going over our budgets. That will only lead to further stress and unhappiness.

See The Holidays Through The Eyes of A ChildRemembering Christmas Magic
Children often base their happiness on different things than adults do. They don't have the same worry and stress. While it is true that the holidays most often bring happiness to them because of toys and other child like things it doesn't mean we cant share that joy. There was a time when you yourself experienced that same joy. Children are truly, from the depths of their heart, happy about things, everything is magnified and glories as a child. They love baking cookies and seeing Christmas lights. They love the Santa dolls that sing and shake their booties. They love seeing Santa, watching The Grinch, shaking snow globes and decorating the Christmas tree. We too can love these things, we just have to remember how! Children can embrace the magic of Christmas because to them it still is magical. Often Christmas loses it's magic through the years. One of the greatest ways to regain your happiness is to embrace the magic that the Holidays once held for you. In seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child we can regain and strengthen our own happiness. So when they stop 50 times while walking through the mall to see the various holiday decorations, stop with them. When they want to take the route home that has the most Christmas lights, take it. When they want to sing Jingle Bells for the 10th time, sing it!

Do Something You Normally Don't
Do something festive and fun. Go to a Christmas tree lighting or Holiday parade. Drive to a little town that fills their streets with holiday lights, find out the neighborhoods in your area that have the best Christmas lights and drive or walk through them, bake holiday cookies for your neighbor or co-workers, make holiday crafts with your kids, put on a Santa hat, put a wreath on the front of your car, go Christmas caroling, decorate ornaments, break the wish bone in the turkey, visit Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas! These are just a few ways to add a little happiness to your holiday!

Hopefully, you can find your way back to a holiday filled with happiness. The happiness is still there, it just has to be found. Putting meaning back into your holiday season may take some effort but it will be well worth it!