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12/01/2014 04:19 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2015

10 Unconventional Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

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The holiday season is a tricky time. For students, it falls in the middle of finals. For families, it can mean annoying encounters with extended family. And for some, Christmas is the time to buy presents for people they don't like all that much. The holiday season can be both stressful and fulfilling at the same time.

It seems that the holiday season comes with its own set of troubles, and if we're not careful, those troubles can detract us from the holiday spirit.

What I've found is, the holiday season is a precious time to spend with family and friends, and the more I pay attention to the frustrating aspects about the holidays, the harder it is to be filled with a vibrant excitement for the holidays.

One year, when I struggled to feel any excitement for the holidays, I resolved to avoid the irritating aspects of the holidays in order to return to the holiday spirit. It worked after I compiled an unconventional list of ways to find the holiday spirit.

Here are some tips I suggest to find your holiday spirit this season:

1. Pace your holiday shopping.

I'm often tempted to get all my holiday shopping done on Black Friday, but when I do this, I miss when all the malls and stores get fully decorated for the holidays. So as a result, I paced my holiday shopping so I could keep my holiday spirit growing.

2. Go shopping with people who don't care so much for shopping.

People who don't care for the holiday commercialism can sometimes be your best shopping partners. Why? Because they have the unique ability to bring you into perspective. They can remind you that it's not about the gifts. There's a better reason for the season.

3. Sing holiday music often, even if you don't sing or like it much.

I love holiday music, so I sing it anytime I get. What happens when I sing it is extraordinary: I get more excited for the holidays. The same phenomenon might happen to you, even if you don't sing or like holiday music all that much.

4. Don't even try parking near the front of the mall.

Just don't do it.

5. Spark a decorating competition with your neighbors.

I'm a competitive person, but in the end, all my competition is just fun and games. I never take it too seriously. I do it for fun, which is why holiday decorating competitions help me feel all the whimsy involved with the holidays. So spark a competition with your neighbors, and dominate them with your over-the-top light up Santa in the front yard.

6. Gather plenty of holiday movies and have many movie marathons.

You get bonus points if you could quote the movies.

7. Start a holiday caroling flash mob in an odd location.

Gather your family, friends, a boombox, and possibly some dance moves. It's time to surprise some unknowing citizens with holiday caroling. To prepare, I suggest you warm up to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You."

8. Have many nights lit up only by the fireplace (digital or real) and your strung up Christmas lights.

Lighting does have a great way of setting the mood. Let it help get you in the right spirit for the holidays.

9. Make up silly holiday games to play with your family and friends.

Ever run from Santa's reindeer? Or play "pin the beard on the Santa"? There are tons of games you could invent for the holidays. And you never know: playing that game might become a tradition for your family and friends.

10. Bake holidays cookies and deliver them to your local coffee shop.

As people are rushing to find gifts and travel, they also want to see the holiday cups from Starbucks. Coffee shops feel the holiday rush. So in middle of this busy time, thank them for their service throughout the year by giving them a holiday cookies (or any treat, really). After all, the best way to have cheer is to spread cheer.

Don't let annoying things detract from your holiday season. Devote yourself to a festive, holiday spirit, even if it takes a little whimsy to find it.

This post was originally published on JesusHacks, a website devoted to productivity and meaningful living tips.