Former Today co-host, New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter, songwriter and actress Kathie Lee Gifford has many reasons to sing Joy to the World this Christmas. But throughout her life, the entertainer, wife, and mom has also experienced deep loss, depression, and the loneliness of becoming an empty nester.
Here, her secrets for making spirits bright this holiday — and all year long!
Peace is right at your fingertips.
“When I feel joyless or stressed, I turn to Scripture and recite it,” Kathie Lee says. “I know tons of Scripture by heart, and that is my solace. It’s in my DNA now — it has been for years! The word of the Lord says that even when we know outwardly that we are failing and decaying, inwardly we’re being renewed every day in our hearts and minds. I just try to keep that fire lit in my soul: The joy of the Lord is my strength!”
Learn from the tough times.
“About a year ago, I fell into a tremendous depression,” Kathie Lee admits. “I think creative people are prone to depression when we’re not creating. It creates a vacuum where disappointment and disillusionment can have a foothold. But in that time, I learned that I have to be creating on a daily basis. That and clinging to the word of God brings so much peace now.”
Make the decision to choose joy.
“After I left the Today show, I surprised everyone by moving to Nashville,” Kathie Lee shares. “I just felt joyful there, so now it is my home and I adore it. I’ve fallen in love with its culture of kindness, the people and the creativity! I have friends over for dinner and we listen to music and write. That’s the culture I live in now, and I am thriving in it. And it’s all because I said, ‘I choose joy,’ and made the move I needed to find it!”
Feel true love with furry friends.
“My dogs, Lola and Bambino, bring me such joy!” Kathie Lee says with a smile. “They show me unconditional love. If you lock your wife and dog in your truck and come back hours later, who’s happy to see you? The wife wants to kill you, but your dog licks you! They don’t hold things against you: They’re precious friends!”
Boost your bliss with a new hobby.
“I have a garden here in Nashville that I love,” Kathie Lee reveals. “I’ll put on music and take walks and water things: It’s my favorite hobby! It reminds me of Scripture I love that says, ‘I will be like an olive tree, flourishing in the house of God and trusting His unfailing love forever and ever.’ (Psalm 52:8–9) I pray over my plants. I say, ‘Flourish in the house of God.’ Watching them flourish brings such fulfillment!”
Find purpose in forgotten dreams.
“The dreams we have for our lives aren’t insignificant,” Kathie Lee says. “They’re there to fulfill our purpose for the world! So get back in touch with the dreams you thought you ran out of time for. If you are reading these words — even if you have reading glasses on as I do — you have not run out of time. It’s never too late to live the life you dreamed!”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.