By contributor Caylin Harris
It’s only the beginning of December and we bet your calendar is probably almost full of plans, dinners, parties, and obligations. But don’t prioritize things you have to do solely over the things you want to do—it’s your holiday season too and you should get to enjoy it. The biggest misconception is that spending time with friends has to be so planned out. You don’t need to throw an elaborate cocktail or dinner party or try to coordinate an expensive dinner to see them during the season. Instead, think outside the box and choose something a little lower stress. These ideas feel fun and work when both money and time are in short supply:
host a potluck
Instead of one person shouldering the cost and work involved in a dinner, have everyone bring a dish or appetizer and have a party. It takes a ton of stress off the hostess, just make sure you’re not the lame ass that shows up with a half-eaten box of chocolate and a bag of tortilla chips. Go all out on one solid dish that people want to eat. Worst case, you can get a ton of mileage out of a large cheese platter. For added friend points, take your dirty dish home with you and clean it there.
Go to an exercise class
Sweating it out might not sound like fun but it’s infinitely better with a buddy that encourages you to go. Plus, now is not the time to skimp on your workouts, the stress-busting benefits are sizeable. Having someone there to roll your eyes with or check that you’re still alive makes a class that much better. If you have time afterward grab a coffee!
Have a cookie swap
The work of one cookie recipe with more variety. Have everyone make their favorite holiday cookie recipe and then get together to snack on them. It’s easy, you just have to bring the milk (or milk alternative) and you get to try several different recipes. Have everyone bring enough printed recipes for each person to take one if they’d like. Let everyone take home an assortment for that I’ve-been-baking-all-month look.
Make wreaths together
Have everyone show up with their own grapevine base and then get to work decorating it. It’s very relaxing to lose yourself in a creative project that also happens to double as holiday decor. Don’t feel like you need to buy a bunch of decorations for them either, you can forage a surprising amount of greenery or dried florals from outside that will look great on a wreath. Grab your clippers and get working, you’ll be happy to see how into it people get.
wrap presents together
Many hands lighten a load, right? Turn present wrapping into an enjoyable experience by pooling your wrapping paper and ribbon with a friend and wrapping together. If you add caffeine, it’s just a harder working coffee date. You can chat, laugh, and listen to some great music, all while getting some holiday prep work done. It’s a win-win.