4 Tips to Keep The Christmas Cheer...After Christmas

There's just something magical in the air during the Christmas season. Sure, long lines at the shopping mall, terrible traffic, and endless present wrapping can test the nerves of anyone. But aside from the commercialized side of the holidays, the Christmas season brings with it feelings of love, charity, and compassion. We're more patient, more forgiving, more kind, and we even smile and wave to complete strangers and wish them a Merry Christmas. We do service for, or a gift from someone less fortunate than us. Our best selves emerges, and the world is a better place for it.

Christmas comes and goes, and then New Year's eve, and suddenly it's a new year. We have our New Year's resolutions, and our spiritual batteries are recharged, and we're ready to tackle any challenge that comes our way. But then we get back into the hustle and bustle routines of our daily life, our work life, school with the kids, homework, house chores, yard work...work...work...work. And gradually we've lost that Christmas spirit that graced us during the holiday season.

But what if you could hang onto the Christmas spirit after the holidays? Maybe we can! Here are several simple things you can do to hang onto that spirit, which just take a little extra effort, but can make a world of difference in the lives of those around us, and in our own

1. Gifts don't just have to be given at Christmas Have you ever received a gift from a loved one out of the blue? It wasn't your anniversary, it wasn't mother's or father's day, it wasn't your birthday, you didn't do anything out of the ordinary to warrant the gift. Yet someone who cares about you was thinking of you when they saw something which reminded them of you, or simply it would put a smile on your face. If you've ever received a gift like this...I bet it did put a smile on your face, made you feel special, made you feel, well, loved. Why not do this for someone you care about, maybe someone who could use a little extra encouragement. It can even be as simple as a short thinking of you note. The next time you're at the grocery store, or shopping mall, take a few minutes and grab four "thinking of you" cards. to just grab. Imagine the surprise and joy you can bring someone who has had a rough week, a friend, a family member, or your spouse. Make their day, and it turn it will make yours, filling you both with the Christmas spirit.

2. Send someone a "Thinking of You" card Remember the days of sending and receiving letters? Even sending and receiving Christmas cards has largely become, electronic...aka an email or an animated card. Though cute, fun, and still appreciated, there's nothing like receiving a good old fashion hand written card or letter. Why? Because you know it takes a little extra effort...and that's what makes us feel special and loved. So, make it a habbit to pick up a "thinking of you" card once a month when you're out getting groceries or at the mall. Send it to someone you haven't spoken to in a while, or give it to a friend or co-worker you know could use a little encouragement or moral boost, give it to a family member that you just want to let them know how much you love them. And then prepare for warm fuzzy feelings to feel you both.

3. The Platinum Rule We have all heard of the Golden Rule, but are you familiar with the Platinum rule? The version of it that I like goes something like this...do unto others as they would have you do. This simply means to exercise empathy, to think he message comes through loud and clear around the holidays: Help the needy. Look after those less fortunate. Many of us do, volunteering to serve holiday meals at a soup kitchen, or donate money to worthy causes. But why stop after Christmas day? Stay involved in volunteer work year-round! You can do this by just doing something once a month. Donate as generously as you can once a month, this can be in your time, a monetary donation to your favorite charity. There is nothing quite as heart warming as helping make life just a little brighter for someone who has had too many gloomy days.

4. Don't Forget Yourself, One of God's Beautiful Creations Too There is a cute quote that has stuck with me for years with an image of a small child saying, "I know I'm somebody, 'cause God don't make no junk!" It's easy to speak kind words to others, but sometimes we are anything but kind to ourself. When you're feeling down, deprest, shy, or just insecure, look in the mirror, smile at yourself (even if you have to force it,) and repeat this quote, or one of your own like it. This may seem silly and fake at first, but after doing this a number of times the feeling and emotions will follow the actions. Smiles are contagious, so why not start with giving yourself one. Soon you will realize that you are indeed someone special, that you too are a child of God, worthy of being loved, and are just as God made you...perfectly imperfect.