With this holiday season being different—and harder—than any year past, we need to find creative ways to feel more joy at home. That’s why we asked you, our meQ Community, how you are finding joy and creating light for yourselves, your family, and your communities this year.

Your responses made us smile, gave us hope, and provided much-needed inspiration.

Here are just some of the many ways that you are sparking joy this season. We hope they inspire you to brighten both your own holiday, and others’, too.

1. Give Back to Others

“We are cleaning out all the closets in the house so that we can donate gently used (or sometimes never used) clothes, toys, etc. to various non-profit organizations. It brings us joy to be able to help others during this holiday season.”

Melody, Legal Counsel, Houston, TX

“I will find joy this season by spending closeup time with my young children. Reaching out to family and friends through social media. And spending time completing projects for Christmas. I want to focus my energies on doing things for others. Spending less time shopping and more time with the ones I love.”

Beth, South Jordan, UT

2. Hone a Craft

“For years I’ve been a doodler. During the lockdown, I’ve allowed (forced?) myself to just sketch. I’ve signed up for a couple of online how-to-sketch courses. With the “fine art” of sketching, they helped a bit. What’s really helped has been that I bought a dozen very inexpensive sketchbooks. Then I just started sketching. Sometimes from pictures (storefronts). Sometimes from imagination (cartoon faces). Sometimes from real props (pens and fruit). It’s calming, exciting, and soothing.”

Tim, Consultant, Austin, TX

3. Treat Yourself 

“I will find joy this holiday season by taking time to honor myself with some R&R. Usually, I host Christmas for my family but after lots of work this year as an essential worker and losing my grandmother a few weeks ago, I need a getaway. I’m starting a new tradition with my children to travel to enjoy a great experience together instead of some toys for one day.”

Tiffany, Relationship Banker, Atlanta, GA

“I live alone and will be alone during the holiday season. My grown children live out of state and will not come home. Once I was over the disappointment, I started planning for myself.

I signed up for a Zoom seminar on self-care. I’ve saved books to read in the evenings under my heated throw blanket. My house will still be decorated for the holidays, which always is joyful, and I’ll cook and bake as I always do, and share the meals and baked goods with ‘Aid for Friends’.”

—Marilyn, Global Data Manager Specialist, Titusville, NJ

4. Start a Book Club

“I belong to a Book Club that has been active for almost 50 years. When the pandemic started, we moved from our traditional monthly meeting to an online format and have continued to meet. This has been great in that it has allowed a few friends who had moved from the area to reconnect with the group. It is fun and stimulating to see each other—and having a book to read and talk about helps us to keep focused on something other than the current situation. We talk, laugh and catch up on what is happening in each other’s lives.”

—Loretta, Administrative Assistant, Brier WA

5. Make Staying in the Main Event

“Make an event of staying in! The Scandanavians are specialists when it comes to home gatherings, with everything from cozy Friday taco nights (called Fredagsmys) to sitting by the fire with a warm beverage and chatting. In my family, we are implementing Fredagsyms along with Christmas movie night, Hallmark cheesy movie night, Christmas craft time, and other fun, stay-at-home times that will help to make the holidays eventful.”

—Karen, Spiritual Care Manager, Billings, MT

6. Rediscover an Old Hobby

“I have sparked joy by re-teaching myself how to play the piano during the pandemic. I used to take lessons as a child and hadn’t played in over 20 years. Nowadays, there are iPad apps and unlimited books/resources you can find on Amazon which has made the learning process much easier. I can feel the positive effects on my brain—I am more relaxed, focused, and thinking more clearly at work.”

Michelle, Vice President, Tax Oriented Investments, Chicago, IL

7. Tour the Neighborhood

“Holidays to me are about all the lights and decorations. So, my husband and I started a tradition when our kids were young to take advantage of all the decorations in our area. We all wear our pajamas, make hot cocoa “to-go”, and jump in the car with Christmas tunes on the radio and take a tour to see the lights!!”

Leslie, Director of Strategic Accounts, Birmingham, MI

8. Start a New Tradition

“This year my family will be doing a virtual popcorn tasting. I’m ordering sampler boxes and shipping them to all my family and we will have a video call to enjoy them together.”

Kimberly, Baby Care Account Executive, Plainville, MA

9. Share an Old Tradition

“To find joy this holiday season, I am directing my focus on family. Since it’s only my son’s second Christmas, I want to create a winter wonderland for him at home. I want to decorate the entire house so that it resembles a winter wonderland, and allow him to decorate his first Christmas tree! I am also looking forward to introducing him to my favorite Christmas movie of all time—‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’.”

Jameka, Lead Associate Operations, Broadview, IL

10. Be the Life of The Party

“As the festive season is around the corner, we can use this opportunity to use technology and videos which help to have a party and reduce the distance. It’s easy and lots of fun! Use festive backgrounds and decorations, holiday costumes like ugly sweaters and glittery makeup or even formal attire! Add a little contest to it by having polls for the best dressed and best decorated. And organize fun games—virtual Bingo is easy to set up and play. Have prizes to add to the entertainment!”

—Shivani, Director, OPERA Sales & Catering, Malaysia