6 tips to keeping the holiday spirit alive all year

You don't have to contain holiday spirit to one month. Read on for tips on how to experience it all year long.

For those who celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas during the December holiday season, it is a magical time of year. After it's over, we don't mind saying goodbye to those extra pounds we gained and extra debt we incurred as a result of eating yummy foods and buying gifts and items to celebrate the Christmas and Hanukkah season. But most of us do miss that extra feeling of connection we often feel during this time of year.

Something about the month of December feels different than any other time of the year - people seem more giving, gentle, thoughtful and appreciative - exemplifying what the holiday spirit is all about.

But why do we have to stuff all those good feelings into one month a year? I say let’s extend it all year long. But how? Here are six simple ways to keep the holiday spirit going year-round:

1. Invite people over. The holidays are always a good excuse to invite people over for good cheer. It never goes out of style to invite friends over for a potluck or hosted dinner. My husband and I recently went over to a friend’s new home and he and his wife served some simple appetizers and a big pot of Indian stew and rice for about 10 of his friends. We had a lovely time!

2. Bake for others. The holiday season is never lacking for sweets, that’s for sure. If you are a baker, why not bake some simple goodies during the year and bring to work for your coworkers (if you are back in the office)or share with your neighbors like we typically do at the holidays? Even better if you can make them a bit healthier than at the holidays. How about a fruit tart for the afternoon or breakfast cookies made with oatmeal and peanut butter for the morning? You can also find a local bakery and let them do the work for you – it is a thoughtful gesture, and don’t we all enjoy that during the holidays.

3. Show gratitude. Throughout the year, look for ways to thank people around you for their good work. You can buy pretty and affordable thank you cards at the dollar store, Hallmark, Target or Walmart, for example. Write a few lines of how much you appreciate them and mail or drop by a card to a neighbor, coworker or friend. Make it a regular practice to thank the people around you who make your life better.

4. Donate to charity. For some, donating to charity during the holiday season can be difficult and the need doesn’t go away just because the holidays are over. Look for opportunities to provide clothing and household items to domestic women’s shelters, organizations that help the homeless or any number of organizations. You can also check with your local church for suggestions.

5. Decorate for the season. I enjoy putting out seasonal décor for the other holidays during the year. Even a few twinkly lights or seasonal color can boost your mood and celebrate that time of year. Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Spring/Easter, and Fourth of July are good holidays to bring out the seasonal décor.

6. Give gifts. Lifestyle Author Alexandra Stoddard keeps a cabinet filled with little nini’s – small gifts she has available to give to people when the opportunity arises. It can be some nice pens, pretty bookmark or magnets, small gift books, pretty stationery and cards, lotions etc. She also stocks pretty gift bags and tissue for easy wrapping and gift giving.

Cher Knebel

Cher Knebel has been a corporate and freelance writer for more than 30 years. In addition to her professional communications work, she is an author, blogger, and researcher on the topic of social connection and its positive impact on health and happiness. She is the founder of Living Happily Connected and author of the book, Withering to Flourishing, 9 Steps to Bloom Again After the Storm, available on Amazon.