What Does Holiday Spirit Feel Like?

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Posted on December 23, 2019

What Does Holiday Spirit Feel Like?

Since we are in the midst of the holiday season, I was compelled to write about the Holiday Spirit. I was really contemplating what we actually mean when we talk about the Holiday Spirit and when googling the first search that came up said “What does holiday spirit smell like?”

So, what is Holiday Spirit? I say the words and all of you just sort of know what it means, but I actually think that it likely looks quite different for each of us. Some of you might be replaying a certain fond memory right now; some of you are visualizing Christmas trees and Christmas lights dusted with snow; others might be smelling the combination of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg and oh, can you taste the freshly baked gingerbread?

The official definition of Holiday Spirit is a “positive feeling people experience during holiday periods.” This sounds nice and acceptable but rather generic, right? Is it really just a positive feeling? Would we define Spirit itself as only a positive feeling? Spirit is something far more complex, it is seen and unseen and is experienced through all of our senses. And I believe the same is true for Holiday Spirit. I mean, why should one definition of “Spirit” be different than another?

The unfortunate reality is that not everyone has positive feelings about the holiday season. This time of year can be a tremendous source of stress. I don’t just mean the stress of holiday parties and buying gifts, but emotional stress. Many of us are reminded during this time of year that many of our loved ones are no longer with us in the flesh; This can bring about sadness and grief. Some of us feel isolated and alone, and others are dreading going home for the holidays – let’s just say family drama, childhood trauma, and looming spiritual lessons.

Regardless of how we feel about this time of year, it is a great time to expand spiritually. The key is to be keenly aware of our emotions, have tools at the ready to manage them, while at the same time allowing ourselves to connect with others (when it feels safe). The true meaning of the holiday spirit is to really BE in the holiday spirit. Deepak Chopra mentions three ways in which we can do this - giving, gratitude and grace.


Too often we think about this to mean the giving of gifts and material things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving or receiving gifts and it is often a thoughtful gesture of someone’s affection. It is however easy to forget how meaningful it is to give of yourself. This means being intentional and generous when we interact with people to make them feel that we care about them, that we are here for them, and that we appreciate them. It is important that we tell and show them that we care and appreciate them because too often we take the people that are closest to us for granted.


Gratitude is also something we tend to gloss over in our regular interactions and it usually sounds something like this: “Thanks.” We all know gratitude to be a powerful spiritual value so let’s try to be more intentional and more sincere in our gratitude towards others. We can do this by combining the act of giving of ourselves with gratitude. When we do this, a simple “thanks” can turn into something more intentional such as “I am really grateful for you and that you are always here for me.” The ability to express gratitude from the heart is a powerful and healing act for the recipient and for yourself.


And lastly, we should try to do all this with grace, the grace of being in spirit. Especially, when we feel triggered by the season. Exhibit grace by opening ourselves to everyone in a non-judgmental, accepting way. That also means extending grace to ourselves. Don’t judge yourself, be patient with yourself when you feel triggered or sad, and remember that there is lots to be grateful for.

Be Present.

In conclusion, the most important thing we can do for others and ourselves this time of year, is being present; Present to our feelings and needs, present to our triggers and boundaries, and aware of how we choose to interact with others.

Hopefully, this is a good reminder to focus on the true meaning of Holiday Spirit. Happy Holidays!