Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is all around us. In a country like the Philippines, it – in fact – started as early as September (when what is called the -ber months started, covering September-December) and won’t end until mid-January, when Filipinos mark the Feast of the Three Kings. So the holiday spirit is really inescapable, as malls are decked in Christmas-related decors, kids start their door-to-door caroling (for a fee), offices hold once-a-year parties (as bosses hand out annual bonuses to employees), and DJs in radio stations/TV anchors keep counting the days left before we all mark Christmas and the start of the New Year.
This is not to say that everyone is touched by the holiday spirit. Because there are some who feel the stress brought by the season instead of the joys it brings. And so for these people, partaking in the festivities isn’t necessarily easy.
Worry not, though: With the belief that this season should be enjoyed by everyone (not just kids), we have here five ways to help get you in the festive spirit.
1. Play the right music.
There’s a running joke in the Philippines – i.e. that the moment you hear Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas in Our Hearts being played on air, it must already be Christmas. This makes Chan adored… and admittedly hated by some.
But the thing is, you don’t have to just stick to Chan’s songs because there’s more to Christmas music than Chan and, yes, jingle bells and reindeer. And many of the popularly played music for the holidays are chart-toppers.
In the UK, the modern fascination with the race for the festive No. 1 started in 1973, thanks to glam rock bands Slade and Wizzard. Not surprisingly, the Christmas No. 1 has been a feature of the UK Singles Chart since 1952, after the week’s best-selling singles was first published in the New Music Express.
Here are some interesting FYIs:
- 35% of all Christmas No. 1s are cover songs – meaning originality isn’t always the best way to go when it comes to Christmas singles, given that covers account for 23 of the 66 festive number ones
- Four acts have ever had multiple Christmas No. 1s: The Beatles, Queen, Cliff Richard and Spice Girls
- Just 12 out of 66 number ones are actually about Christmas; surprisingly, 33% of Christmas No. 1s are actually about love
But there are numerous holiday-related songs to enjoy.
There’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (released in 1984), which has gone on to sell over three million copies – more than any other Christmas single.
There’s Last Christmas by Wham! (released in 1984), the best-selling UK single that actually never reached number one.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues (recorded in 1987 and released in 1988), which reached the top 20 on 15 separate occasions since losing out to Always On My Mind by the Pet Shop Boys in 1987.
And there’s Cliff Richard’s festive-themed chart-topper Saviour’s Day (released in 1990).
Incidentally, more pop songs (30 chart-toppers) than any other genre scooped Christmas number one. In fact, Ariana Grande (4/9) is the current favorite in the online betting this year. So you may want to consider other genres, too.
Rock songs account for 11 Christmas number ones, including Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, which took the title in 1975 and 1991 and is the UK’s third-best selling single of all time with 2.53 million sales.
Easy listening, with crooners claiming number one seven times between 1952 and 1976, the most recent of which being Johnny Mathis’ When A Child Is Born.
Choral songs, which are also chart-toppers, most recently A Bridge Over You by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir in 2015.
Or you can even consider soul (with two chart-toppers), dance (also with two chart-toppers), instrumental, folk, disco and a cappella.
The point is, if it gets you in the groove, play it/listen to it. This way, you may finally ease into the holiday mode.
2. Deck the halls… no, make that the whole house.
Put up the Christmas tree. If you manage to get a fresh one (by ditching the plastic trees), so much the better. Because once set up, staying near that tree, sniffing that pine aroma, is certainly going to pull some strings in you and make you feel… Christmassy.
But don’t stop there: bring out those flickering lights, hang the parol (Christmas lantern), place that wreath up, ready the poinsettias, hang the stockings…
All these help make you anticipate that something special is bound to – and will – happen.
3. Watch some classics.
Particularly if you’re – say – Netflix- or HOOQ-crazy or is a couch potato, opt to watch some flicks that will remind you why this season is special.
Off the head, must-consider include: Meet Me in St. Louis (1944); It’s a Wonderful Life (1946); Miracle on 34th Street (1947); White Christmas (1954); Home Alone (1990); The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992); The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993); and Love Actually (2003).
If you’re not keen on a movie that is hard-selling Christmas, there are other holiday-linked films worth considering, including: Gremlins (1984); Die Hard (1988); The Family Stone (2005); Edward Scissorhands (1990); and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005).
4. Join the parties.
There’s nothing wrong with flying solo; but the holiday season is really about togetherness. So try to get out of your shell and/or comfort zone and mingle. Consider this as an opportunity to party and not be judged for being overly festive (meaning, yes, you can drink and party all you want).
5. Share the spirit.
There are many who may not be as fortunate as you and be unable to celebrate the holidays – e.g. forgotten seniors in old-age homes, kids in orphanages, sick kids in – say – a cancer ward in some hospital, homeless families, et cetera.
As someone who may be in a better position, give some joy by reaching out to them. Maybe – just maybe – by seeing that you’re actually in a far, far better position than many others, you’d understand that there are actually things to be thankful for this season.
So, yes, it’s that time of the year again when the holiday spirit is all around us. And I say: Why not make the most of it by enjoying it?