It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Well…Thanksgiving is officially over and we are just going to pretend like this is the first time I’m talking about the holidays and that I haven’t been prepping for this month since November 1. It’s finally a “socially acceptable” time to talk about it. You know what I’m referencing…Christmas!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year 🙂

I’m one of those people- who puts their decorations out right after Thanksgiving although this year I started a little bit earlier. Germany doesn’t do Thanksgiving really, and we were traveling anyways so it really didn’t play a role in the whole timeline of decorating. While I’m not quite sure where/what we are doing for Christmas I am planning on doing a lot. This is our first Christmas in Germany- a country that goes ALL OUT. The country seems to come alive again several times through the year, Christmas being one of the biggest.

I’ve already been planning and ordering gifts due to the length of shipping time and I think everyone will be pleased with what they get. I always look forward to the giddy excitement and joy on the boys face as they realize that they have presents and a full day of eating and watching movies and hanging out with Mom and Dad. But this doesn’t even come close to what I am looking forward to.

I think December is one of those months that no matter what gets thrown at you, you still manage to find a little cheer. It’s full of excitement for the holidays, for the new year, for the relief of another year ending, and a fresh start for a new year. This is especially heightened this year as we are heading into a new decade. We are about to go to the 2020’s and that just brings a whole new level. Christmas and New Years is very big here in Europe. Celebrations are taken to a whole new level EVERYWHERE, from the big cities to the small farm towns, it seems like everybody wants to celebrate and have a good time. If there is anything Europe does right (and there actually is a lot), celebrations/markets/festivals is what it does the best.

So, where does that put us for the most wonderful time of the year?

To start with, christmas markets!! I mean is there anything better than strolling through an outdoor market with a hot mug of some drink looking at all the craftsman stalls? I mean, it’s quintessentially Christmas and I have very high (Hallmark Movie esque high) expectations for what this will be like. This year I am planning on attending a total of 4 (this is counted by city, a lot of the cities have multiple markets that we may visit) and I think that that is probably a good number to stick with every year. I’ve got quite a list of how many I would actually like to visit, but I’m trying not to overwhelm us…or spend to much money haha. Honestly though, who knows what the month will bring us, I’ve already got the list out and am comparing schedules and dates to see what can be done and when (yes I am being that serious about it).

I’m also looking forward to our next long trip. I’m not totally sure (as of writing this post) as to where we are going to go, but I am looking forward to getting away and really getting the chance to stretch our legs and truly explore somewhere new. I wouldn’t say that we’ve played it safe entirely, but we have stuck with some “safe” options. This trip we will be venturing somewhere completely new to us that we’ve never really learned about or experienced. I’m incredibly excited about it!

I’m also just looking forward to the general cheer that comes with December. December tends to be a cold and dark (and here – damp) month, so it’s nice to see the cheer that everyone brings out with the season.

Real Talk: Winter Blues

Let’s face it- February and March are two of the hardest months of the year. All of the momentum and excitement from the New Year is starting to wear off and winter is usually the worst in these two months. The slump because real when the skies seem to be a never-ending shade of grey, the temperatures are frigid (although we have had a couple good days) and those super cute summery clothes are mocking you from the deep recesses of your closet.

While I personally am a fan of grey, rainy, dreary weather, I too can become a victim of the Winter Blues. When everything becomes stagnant, and there seems to be a general slump of feelings and just sadness. As cheesy as it sounds, the sun plays a vital role in your feelings and well being. It’s always cheery when it’s sunny. Right now though it’s a rough time of year and it is super easy to just let those feelings take over your life and seep into everything you do.

I recently posted about my top 5 tricks to getting out of a bad mood/day, which you can find HERE. This Real Talk is kind of an extension of that, because this is such a time of year for these types of feelings. The Winter Blues are kind of a tough cookie to deal with because it’s not always so simple to break out of those slumps. Sometimes it’s all you can do to just hold on and ride the slump out till better days hit. If you can though, it’s always better to try and pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

So, how do you do that?

Find one positive thing in everyday. This may sound like an over simplification, and in some ways it is, but realistically if you try and focus on the good the bad doesn’t have a chance to take over. The positive thing may only be that you got out of bed and put on real clothes instead of just sweats or it may be that you crossed every item on your to do list off. It doesn’t matter how big or little you think the positive thing is, find it.

By making a choice at the end of everyday to find one positive thing you will not only find that there are more than a few positive things, but you will find yourself a little more energized to do more the next day. By continuing to focus on the little “wins” of everyday, you will slowly turn your mindset around and before you know it, you’ll be out of that Winter Blues slump.

So what do you do when the Winter Blues hit? Do you find that you are able to quickly bounce through those blues and back to a happy mood or does it take you a little while to get back into your happy place?