Most of the time when I tell someone I am from Buffalo, their reaction is “There is so much snow there.” Which is absolutely true! Not to mention, a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! My favorite scent is when you can smell the first snowfall coming. It’s a particular change in the air that is clean, fresh and has a slight hint of evergreen. It’s literally the smell companies make candles out of and make millions marketing them to people like me.
Growing up, that smell of snow was the first thing to ignite my Christmas spirit and it usually arrived around Thanksgiving. Now that I live in a warm, more tropical climate, I have been struggling to find that Christmas spirit. It’s not just the smell of snow, but this year, I missed out on my favorite family traditions, like my family’s pierogi-making day and going to pick out a live Christmas tree. Things are…different. So I have been paying extra close attention to my surroundings and I am trying to make new Christmas memories based on what’s available in my new city.
Maybe you are a thousand miles away from home, have recently experienced a hardship, work is stressful, or you just can’t find your Christmas spirit for no apparent reason at all. Regardless of why your Christmas spirit is lost, here are a few things you can do to let that snow smell spirit be found!
Pay attention to your surroundings. Even though there isn’t snow in Charleston, there are more Christmas decorations than there are in Buffalo! Maybe it’s because you do not have to stand outside for hours in the freezing cold to hang them. There are decorations on all the lamp posts downtown and wreaths on most doors. Bars and restaurants are filled to the brims with garland and twinkle lights. One bar even converted into a pop-up Christmas-themed joint! Whether the lights are on evergreen trees or palm trees, take a moment to appreciate the beauty.
Listen to Christmas music. Are you done rolling your eyes? I know what you are thinking, Christmas music is SO overplayed from Halloween to New Years. I get it! But I said LISTEN to the music, don’t just hear it. Go to your favorite music streaming app and look up your favorite genre of music and find the correlating holiday songs. Listen to the uplifting, joyful words and just let the joy take over your body until you’re dancing in circles in the kitchen with your pet.
Make holiday recipes. For me, I am really disappointed that I missed out on our family pierogi-making day. We spend a whole day making them because it’s a lot of fucking work. So, I opted to make a less complicated recipe, my grandma’s anise Christmas cookie cut outs. I handmade them from scratch and was quite impressed with the results! If you do not have a family recipe to create, go to your Pinterest board and actually try making one of the thousands of pins you have saved. Try something with peppermint, gingerbread, or cranberry to put you in the holiday mood.
Start a tradition or stick to an old one. For about the past five years, I have spent one night a week before Christmas watching The Holiday and wrapping gifts while drinking an entire bottle of wine. It’s just what I do. I sit next to my Christmas tree, alone, and just drink and wrap. To me, that helps me focus on the spirit of Christmas, rather than the stress of having to wrap an insane amount of gifts people probably don’t want or need. If you don’t have any traditions, start a new one! Make a day to get peppermint lattes and Christmas shop with your best friend, or host an annual party (see below).
Host wine and cookie exchange. Hosting a holiday party always seems like a fun idea, until you’re stressed out from the busy season and realize how much work you have to do. Hosting a party where everyone exchanges gifts takes the work off you! If you host a wine and exchange, other than providing some light snacks (like cheese and crackers) to soak up the booze, everyone else is bringing the drinks and dessert! You can enjoy an evening with your friends or family without running around preparing an enormous meal and entertaining.
Whether you are a Grinch trying to find your Christmas spirit for the first time, or someone who is feeling a little lost, know you’re not alone! I hope these tips help you get into the holiday groove.