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15 Ways to Have a More Meaningful Christmas

Are you longing to have a more meaningful Christmas? Perhaps you hope to help your children, grandchildren and the other young people in your life share special family traditions during the holiday season.

You might decide to cut down your own Christmas tree (Christmas Vacation-style!) or serve those less fortunate at a soup kitchen. Check out these ideas, and perhaps you’ll make some new family memories and have a wonderful time, too.

A woman in a blue winter coat carrying a lantern near snowy pine boughs.

Some of our readers have shared how they enjoy meaningful time during the holidays with less emphasis on the commercial aspects. They’re enjoying simple Christmas celebrations and more time with friends and loved ones.

“I’ve been looking for ways to make Christmas exciting and magical for my children without making it chaotic and stressful for me,” wrote our reader Kelly.

Kids Christmas at Happy Simple Living blog
Photo: Tammra McCauley

Annie plans to buy ten $10 gasoline gift cards and pass them out randomly. She’s going to send some money to pay for someone’s heating bill, and she hopes to take a carriage ride in the city or go ice skating with her family.

Di from Copenhagen, Denmark plans to take time to listen to Christmas music, drink hot chocolate and tell her kids what Christmas is all about.

Marie plans to spend more time for family and friends, take a relaxing soak in a hot spring, make homemade Christmas decorations and stop in a tea shop for a hot drink.

Here are some more ideas about how to celebrate Christmas in a more meaningful way.

15 Ways to Have More Meaningful Holidays

1. If you have people on your list who seem to have everything for whom you still feel inclined to give a gift, consider giving to an organization like Heifer International.

You can choose wonderful gifts that will help other people, from a flock of ducks or a goat to an irrigation pump that will provide clean water. If you order early, Heifer will send you a beautiful card that you can give your recipient.

Christmas caroling at Happy Simple Living blog
Photo: Herry Lawford

2. Get together with some of your neighbors and go Christmas caroling. This nostalgic Christmas ritual doesn’t need to be complicated – just print out Christmas carol lyrics, announce a meeting place and go for an hour or two. Don’t forget the hot chocolate!

3. Talk to your nearest assisted living or nursing home facility, and find out if there is a resident who does not have regular visitors who could use a little cheering up. Visit someone who’s feeling lonely at the holidays, and simply give the gift of yourself. If you can bring your kids along, all the better.

4. Say a prayer and ask to be aware of someone’s unspoken need this holiday season. Then be prepared for some fun. As we often discover, when we’re helping others it often blesses and uplifts us at the same time.

5. Make an effort to simply smile as much as possible during the holidays. Spread the joy!

Snow bird at Happy Simple Living blog
Photo: Dendroica Cerulea

6. Give a Christmas present to the animals. Put some birdseed out for the birds, go to your local shelter and pet the older cats for an hour or make a donation to the Humane Society.

7. Put a bill or two in the Salvation Army pot on a chilly day, and thank the bell-ringer for his or her service.

8. Read a Christmas devotional each day during the holiday season, or begin your day with a prayer or meditation.

9. Make a joyful noise! Some families gather around the piano, sing one Christmas carol each night during the holiday season and explore the origin of the carol.

10. Give an anonymous gift to someone in need. My sister and parents have an annual tradition of making a gift basket for a family that has fallen on hard times. They have some hilarious stories of trying to be stealth in delivering the baskets and trying to sneak off without being discovered.

Helping the homeless at Happy Simple Living blog
Photo: Daquella Manera

11. Do something kind for a homeless person. Give a warm pair of socks, a hat, a little cash or something yummy to eat.

12. Have each family member choose one activity during the holidays, so that each person has some personal involvement in your family’s celebration.

13. Read the nativity story from the Bible as you set out your nativity scene. Or watch The Nativity Story movie together as a family.

14. Go hear a performance of Handel’s Messiah. If you’re a singer, join along!

15. Talk to store clerks. Ask them how they’re doing, and engage with them.

Here’s to a simpler Christmas and your most relaxed, peaceful, meaningful and enjoyable holiday ever.

Simple Christmas at Happy Simple Living blog
Photo: Little Blue Hen

Christmas Blessing

I’ll end this series with an old Irish Christmas blessing. Here’s what I hope for you and yours this holiday season:

“The light of the Christmas star,

The warmth of home and hearth,

The cheer and good will of friends,

The hope of a childlike heart,

The joy of a thousand angels,

The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.”

How do you add more meaning to the season? Drop a comment about your traditions and ideas.

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A woman in a blue coat carrying a lantern and walking in a snowy landscape.


About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

4 thoughts on “15 Ways to Have a More Meaningful Christmas”

  1. Pingback: Happy Simple Living Christmas challenge weeks 4&5 – Challenge de noël semaines 4&5 « Ma tanière… My den…
  2. When I saw you mentioned my blog, I squee’d! Thank you!
    I forgot to post last week but I did the challenge – we have our menus done – and I just posted my reply to this week’s too.
    The meaning of Christmas is important to think about I feel.I like knowing why I do what I do, even if it’s because “I’m used to doing it”.
    Christmas is a family tradition for us, that has evolved along with the family.
    I’ve been reflecting on the why’s and how’s since last year. I am on the autism spectrum and feel easily overwhelmed by all the excitement and the running around. I’ve been trying to find ways to lessen the burn-out.
    Your challenge to get ready is definitely helping I feel, thank you!

  3. Best early christmas wishes to you. Hope it turns out to be a meaningful christmas ever. I hoping for the best. Thanks a lot for sharing these.

  4. This year I did what I’ve said I would do for years! I finally sat down and planned out everything and now I feel so at ease with my gift giving, my activities with the kids…right down to what movies I plan to watch. It took about an hour and a half and about $20 bucks in supplies. My goal…for my family and me to truly feel the magic this year and not the stress!



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