If you’re like me this holiday season, you might be wishing your life looked a little more like a Hallmark Christmas movie and a little less like Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. You’re probably wishing you were in a cute little town with Christmas lights everywhere, fresh snow on the ground, cuddled up in front of a fire, with nothing else to do except enjoy the moment, right? Yeah, me too. Sounds magical.

However, if you really are like me, that’s not the way life is looking right about now.

We all want to enjoy the holidays. No one goes into the holiday season wishing to be stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy. Usually, we just want time to slow down, so we can catch our breath.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the way real life works. Instead of time slowed down, fresh fallen snow and hot cocoa by the fire, we get loud honks on the highway, traffic, crowded retail stores, overworked Starbucks baristas, and did I mention traffic? The holidays begin to feel a lot less merry & bright year-to-year.

But I think this Christmas there are a few simple ways to enjoy the holidays. It’s simple knowledge really, but I think it will make a big difference if you try it! Here are three ways I’m learning to have a happier, healthier holiday season this year:

Get outside.

One of the best ways I’ve learned to enjoy the holiday season is to actually experience it! (And I’m not talking about the traffic…) I’m talking about enjoying the great outdoors! One of my favorite holiday traditions is to walk through my neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights. Just seeing the different ways people decorate year-to-year makes me happy! I love getting some fresh air and releasing tension at the end of a long day. It’s a sure-fire way to make sure I’m slowing down, taking time out of my day and enjoying the holiday season. It’s also great exercise – yet another reason you’ll feel happier and healthier this Christmas.

Have a real conversation.

Christmas parties are inevitable this time of year. I’m not sure I’ve ever made it through a holiday season without attending at least a few festive soirees. It’s more than likely going to happen for you this holiday season, too, so rather than avoid it, enjoy it! Take some time at one of these parties to sit down with someone and have a real conversation. Don’t just entertain with the typical, “Hi, how are you? How’s work going?” But really get involved in finding out more about the person. Ask about family members, Christmas traditions, holiday plans, goals for the coming year, etc. I promise if you take the time to have a real conversation, it will add more meaning to your holiday season.

Change your perspective.

Probably most cliche but certainly no less important, changing your perspective this holiday season will undoubtedly make you happier and healthier. Time spent with people, instead of things, will boost your morale, which has many emotional and physical benefits!  Don’t become blind to the message that tells you to “focus on what really matters.” Maybe Christmas would feel a lot different if we actually listened and practiced that message – because at the end of the day, does a new pair of shoes or the latest iPhone really make you that much happier? Maybe for a moment. But then you have to go back to work, pay the bills and get your oil changed, and the magic of that new piece of technology quickly fades. This Christmas season, if you can focus on what truly matters, you’ll find yourself enjoying life and enjoying those around you a whole lot more.

These 3 things are really simple, but they have the potential to make a big difference! Give them a try this holiday season, and you might actually wind up feeling like the main character in your favorite Christmas film!