There’s no denying that this year has been more difficult than most in lots of ways. Not only have we all had to come to terms with canceled plans in some capacity, but we’ve also faced loneliness and isolation like never before. Unfortunately, the holidays will also be affected this year. More than likely, your Christmas celebrations will look a bit (if not completely) different from previous years’ plans. However, we want to assure you that there are still plenty of amazing, memorable ways to celebrate the holidays, despite the circumstances. This week’s Encounter Church blog discusses some exciting ways to get into the holiday spirit this year.

Encounter Church is a non-denominational church in Denver that offers a wide range of events for people of all backgrounds and ages, including Bible studies, church ministries, both online and in-person services, and more! We know this has been a particularly difficult year for many, but we hope these tips help you and your family get into the holiday spirit and continue to celebrate the reason for the season — Jesus.

Have a Family Decorating Day

While some things may look different when it comes to how we celebrate this holiday season, there are a few things that will remain the same, including decorating, which can really help get you excited. This year, make an effort to coordinate with your whole family and include everyone in the decorating process in some capacity. If you’re going to be alone this Christmas, don’t fret — you can still find ways to make decorating fun!

We recommend going all out with a tree, but if you’re in a smaller space that won’t allow for it, try hanging some string lights here and there or buying a pine air freshener to give your home that familiar Christmas-y smell!

We recommend turning on your favorite Christmas tunes and getting to work!

Read Your Favorite Christmas Bible Verse

There are many valuable Bible verses about Christmas, and reading through them can not only help you get excited for the upcoming holiday, but can help you better understand why we celebrate it. The holidays can be a really hectic time, especially this year, so it’s important to take some time to ensure you feel at peace.

Even if you only spend five minutes a day reading through your favorite verses, it’s a great way to combat the hustle and bustle of the season and take a moment to yourself!

Start a New Tradition

Some of us have holiday traditions that span for generations and generations, so coming to terms with the fact that we may not be able to continue them this year can be really devastating. While it’s okay to be bummed out about the lack of normality this year, we encourage you not to fret for too long. There are still plenty of exciting and fun ways to celebrate, so why not create a brand new tradition that’s your very own?

This can be whatever you want! Host a virtual holiday talent show, create a holiday book club, purchase a new ornament for the tree — the opportunities are endless! Do something that will make you smile and that you’ll want to continue for years to come!

Bake Cookies & Make Cocoa

There’s nothing more delicious than Christmas cookies and a cup of hot cocoa! Even if you’re feeling down in the dumps this season, we recommend throwing some cookies in the oven, turning on your favorite Christmas songs or movie, and whipping yourself up a cup of some good ol’ hot chocolate. You’ll cheer right up!

Give Back

Christmas is not always a happy time. In fact. For those in need, it can be one of the most devastating seasons of the year. That’s why our team here at Encounter Church recommends giving back if you can!

Not only does giving back to those in need make you feel amazing, but it also helps to improve your community! Even if you start out small, there are plenty of ways to give back this holiday. Here is a list of some ideas about how to make the world around you a brighter, better place.

  • Go Christmas caroling
  • Donate old clothing
  • Hand out bags of food or snacks to local homeless shelters
  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter
  • Write a letter to residents of your local nursing home or hospital
  • Make a virtual donation for a child in need
  • Join a gifting program
  • Pay for someone’s coffee

Giving back doesn’t have to include extravagant gestures. There are many things you can do to brighten someone’s holiday season without having to spend a ton of money.

Show Your Gratitude

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that things can change quickly and we should never take for granted what we have. Despite everything going on in the world, there are still endless reasons to be thankful, and showing our gratitude for these things is really important.

There are many ways you can do this, and most of them are very simple. Call your family members and tell them your favorite thing about them or send your friend a handwritten letter thanking them for being in your life — there’s no right or wrong way to do this!

Play Holiday Games or Watch Holiday Movies

Looking for some good old-fashioned family fun? We recommend breaking out the holiday games. If you don’t have any specifically holiday-themed games, feel free to put your own spin on things and tweak the rules a bit!

As far as the Christmas movies go, that’s one thing this year can’t take away from us! Keep an eye out for your favorite Christmas film to be sure you don’t miss it! We recommend trying to really get into it. Make some popcorn, cuddle up with a blanket, and put your phones away to ensure that you’re as present as possible!

Get Excited About the Little Things

2020 has been different than most, and hopefully, it’s taught us to appreciate what we have. This Christmas, let’s all make an effort to get excited about the little things to combat the bigger things that may not go the way we planned.

Find out when your favorite Christmas movie is going to be on TV and mark your calendars or plan a delicious family dinner. While these aren’t necessarily momentous occasions, it’s important we stay positive.

Be Flexible

This year, we’ve all had to adapt in one way or another, and that will continue. While it can be really difficult to come to terms with plans or traditions changing, we recommend preparing yourself for the possibility ahead of time and being flexible if the time comes.

It’s okay to mourn the loss of what could’ve been, but don’t let it ruin your entire holiday. We can’t deny that this year has brought about challenges that none of us saw coming, but instead of dwelling on all the bad things that happened, why not be flexible? If your original plans got canceled, find a way to make do with what you’ve got.

Attend a Christmas Church Service

A lot of things about this Christmas will be different, but there is one thing that will never change — the purpose of this day is to celebrate Jesus. Despite all of the changes, we can still do just that. Encounter Church is now offering both in-person and online services, so no matter how you attend, you can be sure not to miss it.

Happy Holidays From Encounter Church

We know that this year has been a tough one, but we hope that these tips can help brighten your holiday spirit. It’s important to remember that, even through all of the difficult times, we still have so much to be grateful for.

We wish your family a happy holiday and we hope you can find ways to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Merry Christmas, Denver!