100 Ways To Be Happier This Holiday Season That Don't Involve Any Presents At All

Don't forget to do #86.

There's no doubt that giving and receiving presents makes most of us happy, but there is so much more to the season than gifts. After all, it isn't the most wonderful time of the year simply because of material objects. Rather, it's the atmosphere, the coming together of friends and family, and the little things that really make us feel good.

It's easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping rush, but it's important to stop, curl your feet up by the fire, and appreciate the smaller things that make the festive season so magical, whether that's finding the time to volunteer for a good cause, surprising family with a visit home, or simply drinking more eggnog.

These are the little things that will help make you, and those around you, happier this holiday season: 


1. Donate to a worthwhile cause. Trust us, it will make you feel great.

2. Put your snow pants and boots on, and go play in the snow.

3. Buy the wackiest holiday sweater you can find and rock it.

4. Complete something on your bucket list.

5. Actually write holiday cards instead of emails.

6. Find a festive way to tell someone you love them.

7. Offer to shovel the snow for the elderly people in your neighborhood ... or surprise them by doing it. 

8. Snuggle up by the fire with a good book, and warm mug of hot cocoa. 

9. Appreciate the art of doing nothing.

10. Offer to help someone do a difficult task.

11. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a community organization.

12. Pull out your craft box and make something.

13. Have one day where you don't plan anything.

14. Help a kid write a letter to Santa.

15. Reminisce about past holidays.

16. Grab your old toboggan from your parents' garage and go sledding. 

17. Have a digital detox for a day ... or for at least one afternoon.

18. Actually figure out how to use a pair of snow shoes. Then go and test them out.

19. Learn about another culture's holiday traditions. 

20. Take up a new winter hobby like cross-country skiing. 

21. Remember what the true spirit of the holidays is all about.

22. Grab some friends and sing carols. 

23. Make food baskets for those in need.

24. Stop taking yourself so seriously. 

25. Help make someone's holiday wish come true.

26. Take your pets to visit Santa.

27. Do some festive baking.

28. Put away your phone and alarm clock and sleep in on the weekend until you wake up naturally.

29. Take the little ones to visit Santa ... then join in.

30. Clean your closet out, and donate to Good Will or another charity. 

31. Start a new holiday tradition.

32. Create your own version of Secret Santa by leaving surprises for people.

33. Bundle up and enjoy a frosty walk in the snow.

34. Show up unexpectedly at a loved one's house to show you're thinking of them this holiday season. 

35. List all the great things you've done this year.

36. Stop dwelling on things you regret or feel embarrassed by.  

37. Take your cousins to see a fun holiday play.

38. Attend a holiday parade. 

39. Ban the words "I can't."

40. Embrace all of your family traditions, including the "cheesy" ones.

41. Tell your loved ones how much you mean to them.

42. Have a marathon of all of your favorite holiday movies.

43. Take a family car ride to look at the Christmas lights.

44. See things through a kid's eyes.

45. Take your parents or grandparents to a holiday concert.

46. Offer to help serve a holiday meal at a shelter.

47. Put your gloves on and go build a snowman. 

48. Host a mini holiday celebration for your pets.

49. Invite someone new to spend part of the holidays with you.

50. Reconnect with an old friend.

51. Spend some time at a local animal shelter.

52. Give your spare change to the people accepting donations at the mall.

53. Stop thinking you're "too old" for festive fun.

54. Bring back a long forgotten family tradition.

55. Help kids track Santa on Christmas Eve.

56. Practice some mindful mediation. 

57. Read an old holiday story with your family.

58. Stop sweating the small stuff.

59. Toast marshmallows in front of the fire.

60. Go to stores just to admire their magical window displays.

61. Count your blessings.

62. Have your own snow day.

63. Check out all of the fun festive activities that are in your town.

64. Look at family photo albums.

65. And create an actual hard copy album for this holiday season.

66. Stop hating the holiday music constantly playing. (Or at least try.)

67. Try something you've never done before.

68. Capture the beauty of the season on film. 

69. Order takeout for your holiday party and don't feel ashamed about it.

70. Stop feeling guilty about everything.

71. Remember the importance of forgiveness.

72. Take an unplanned day trip.

73. Help others decorate their trees.

74. Support local organizations and companies in your community.

75. Countdown with an advent calendar. 

76. Write your own letter to Santa. Then mail it! 

77. Take a well-deserved breather. 

78. Decorate your desk at work for the holidays. 

79. Take a goofy family holiday photo.

80. Spend some time at a children's hospital spreading holiday cheer.

81. Be compassionate.

82. Help spread joy at a seniors' center.

83. Let sales associates know how much you appreciate their help during this time of year.

84. Host an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party.

85. Go and make snow angels in the fresh powder.

86. Drink all of the eggnog you want. 

87. Visit a holiday market.

88. Attempt to build a snow fort or an igloo. 

89. Stop worrying about planning the "perfect" New Year's Eve.

90. Wear your holiday pajamas all day long on the weekend.

91. Celebrate "12 Days of Good Deeds" instead of simply the "12 Days of Christmas."

92. Change your phone ringtone to something jolly.

93. Do away with comparing yourself to others.

94. Create a collage from all of your old holiday gatherings then give it out to your relatives.

95. Have a "Friendmas" celebration.

96. Connect with distant cousins you've never met.

97. Stop worrying about achieving perfection.

98. Tell your parents you'll host the dinner this year.

99. Rock that Santa hat.

100. Live in the moment.

Our Simply Happy content is fueled by Simply Happy, a Chicken Soup for the Soul book filled with tips and tricks for embracing the happiness in your life.

Cover image via Andrey Yurlov I Shutterstock


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