The Christmas and holiday season can be a rough time for a lot of people. Not everyone is in the mood to be merry and bright. Maybe it’s a tragedy that happened or, like my friend Randy, a breakup during a marriage proposal near the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve. Here are a few ways to break the cycle and have a happier holiday season.

Don’t Dwell

Glen’s mother passed away on Christmas Eve a few years ago, and while it was an incredibly sad event in his life, we have made it a ritual in our lives to keep her memory alive and we do that every time we put a certain ornament on our Christmas tree. If you’re dealing with a loss, especially a fresh one and this is the first holiday without them, one way to heal the wound is by honoring those who have passed. Make their favorite food or favorite drink and have a toast. My family lays a wreath on my grandpa’s resting place. He was a big fan of Christmas and he loved Cardinals, so we make sure the wreath we choose has a cardinal or two on it, or we buy one from a local craft store and stick it in the snow. We also keep his favorite glass out on the bar at family gatherings so he’s never really gone.

Do Something Nice

Doing something nice for someone else always makes you feel good. Whether it’s ringing a bell for the Salvation Army (cold, but so worth it!), volunteering for a shelter or serving at a soup kitchen, knowing you’re putting a smile on someone’s face can really change your attitude.

Don’t Sit Around

If you sit around having a pity party, you’re going to miss all kinds of stuff. I know it’s cold, but winter went a lot faster last year after I learned how to ice skate on my own back yard ice rink. The neighbors banded together and built the rink. It was a huge hit with kids and adults. Keeping warm in the cold outdoors actually burns more calories, and playing some boot hockey is a great way to get out pent up frustrations with work, money and shopping.

Do Something Fun

With all the snow headed our way, one fun thing I like to do is grab the toboggan and head to the local sledding hill. The St. Cloud area has so many parks that are just perfect for sledding. Sledding always made me happy when I was a kid. The sound of the whipping snow pants and clonking boots with the plastic sled dragging always brings me back. Peeling off the wet clothes on the porch and thawing out with a mug of hot chocolate watching TV was the best. So, whether it’s sledding, building a snow fort, skating, skiing or watching a favorite movie, do something you enjoy doing to take your mind off whatever is bothering you.

What’s Your Favorite Way to Have a Holly Jolly Christsmas?