11 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

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“Instead
of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only
time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and
express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and,
perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance
a man has to be himself.” ~ Francis C. Farley

There are
just two more weeks until Christmas. But you know, it still doesn’t
really feel like Christmas to me.

I’m currently
in the holiday spirit wasteland-that time after you leave adolescence
but before the fun of Christmas is reignited by the arrival of Santa
Claus-believing children. Some time during this period, typically
in college, the holiday season starts to feel like any other time
of year. You barely notice it and then suddenly Christmas comes
and goes.

It’s all
part of growing up, of course. But while we advocate striving for
mature manhood here on AoM, we also believe that paradoxically enough,
the mature man is someone who retains a good deal of his boyish
spirit. He simply knows how to harness it-when to reign it in and
when to let it out. The holiday season is an appropriate time for
the latter.

I don’t
know if there’s anything distinctly manly about the holiday
season, but I do know that I’ve always really admired men who
truly get into it. The men who don red vests and cheesy sweaters,
who put up elaborate light displays and put on Santa suits, the
ones who delight in finding just the right gift for people, and
who just seem….jolly. Their eyes have that unmistakable twinkle
of a man who hasn’t given up on the idea of magic.

These men understand
that while you have to grow up, it’s important to maintain
a sense of wonder about the world and its possibilities. That in
a cynical age, it’s okay to let go sometimes and tap into our
less jaded selves.

So if your
holiday spirit-o-meter has been running low, here are 11 steps to
letting in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas and getting
into the holiday spirit.

“Happy,
happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish
days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth!”
~ Charles Dickens

1. Turn
on the holiday tunes.
Nothing gets you in the holiday spirit
faster than music. Once you hear those familiar notes, those same
strains you’ve been singing along with since you were 5, the
warm and fuzzy Christmas feelings come rushing back. But to have
maximum effect, you’ve got to listen to the good stuff, the
classics. And sing along. Because as Buddy the Elf has wisely instructed
us, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud
for all to hear.” Here’s a few of my favorites:

  1. White Christmas
    – Bing Crosby

  2. The Christmas
    Song – Nat King Cole
  3. Holly Jolly
    Christmas – Burl Ives
  4. It’s
    Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Bing Crosby
  5. Sleigh Ride
    – Johnny Mathis
  6. The Most
    Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams

And when it
comes to albums, you can’t go wrong with

  1. Merry
    Christmas
    by Johnny Mathis
  2. White
    Christmas
    by Bing Crosby

  3. The Spirit of Christmas
    by Ray Charles
  4. The
    Best of Christmas Cocktails
    by UltraLounge (has the best rendition
    of “Sleigh Ride” I’ve ever heard)
  5. Christmas
    Portraits
    by The Carpenters

2. Watch
some old school Christmas cartoons.
When I was a kid, a holiday
tradition my family had was watching old Christmas cartoons. We
had a VHS with a bunch of cartoons from the 1930s and 40s that are
in the public domain. We watched it so much, the tape wore out and
we had to chuck the video. It’s been years since I’ve
seen these charming Christmas cartoons, but thanks to the wonders
of YouTube, I’m able to recapture a piece of my childhood.
Here are 2 of my favorites:

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