The holidays are looking a bit different this year and I’ll be honest, it has been hard for me to get in the spirit. Everything has changed because of Covid. Our work, travel, and general lifestyle has been affected, and that includes the way we celebrate events and holidays. Based on the conversations I’ve had with family, friends and many of you, a lot of people are spending the holidays at home this year. If you happen to be in that boat, you’re not alone, especially if you’re feeling worried, sad or even anxious about what the holidays at home will feel like this year.
The holidays can already be a stressful time of year for many. Throw in a global pandemic and it is bound to take a toll on mental health. It’s totally understandable if the holidays don’t feel as festive this year. Honestly, it’s not how I imagined my first holiday season with a baby. If you’re having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit, you’re not alone.
I’m sure many of you were looking forward to spending time with family and friends. I know I was. There’s so many family members Marin still hasn’t even met. If your plan now is to stay home instead, then today’s post is for you. Things may be different this year, but there are still so many ways to enjoy the holidays at home. The celebration may not be the same as years past, but there’s no reason we can’t make it unique and special. Today I’m sharing tons of ideas for how to spend the holidays at home. Honestly writing this post helped get me in the holiday spirit. Now we need a tree!
How to Spend Your Holidays at Home
Below are a ton of fun, cute and memorable ways to make your holidays at home special. Hopefully these ideas will help you feel the spirit of the holidays, spend quality time with family (whether in person or virtually), and end up really enjoying this very different 2020 holiday experience.
Decorate Your Home For The Holidays (Go Ahead and Be Extra)
Bust out the lights, throw blankets, and decorations. If you celebrate Christmas, put the tree up early or get started with some wreaths. If you celebrate Hanukkah, make a beautiful Menorah display. Build a little mini winter wonderland with trees and figurines (I love the ones from Farmhouse Pottery). Adorn your staircase or mantel with ribbons and greenery. Decorate your table even if you’re not hosting a huge dinner party this year. Pull out all the stops so you really feel like you’re in a holiday wonderland. I love using wreaths with fresh foraged greenery, holiday lights, cozy throw pillows, and little holiday knick knacks to make home feel like the spirit of the holidays. If you’re local, Greenlion is doing a limited run of handmade wreaths selling on IG.
Here are some of the holiday decorations I’m currently loving:
Set The Mood
This goes hand in hand with decor, but has more to do with the overall feeling in your home. I like to incorporate scents and sounds to enhance the holiday vibe at home. Turn on the holidays tunes. Make a holiday playlist and keep it on repeat. My new favorite is Leslie Odom Jr’s Christmas album. You can also light up some holiday candles throughout your living room, dining room, bedroom, etc. The bathroom is also a great place for candles or you can use incense (this smoker is so fun), soaps, & even potpourri. If you’re into essential oils, try more holiday type scents like peppermint, cedarwood, and spruce. For candles, I love anything warm and woodsy like evergreen and balsam.
Make Festive, Cozy Alcoholic Beverages or Mocktails
There’s just something super festive about warm drinks during the holidays. Whip up a hot toddy, spiked cider, hot buttered rum, or anything with eggnog. One of my favorite holiday mocktails is a pomegranate mojito. I mix seltzer with pomegranate juice (and seeds to make it pretty), fresh lemon juice, fresh muddled mint (and a sprig for garnish), and lime. Another great one Christmas morning is a Virgin or Bloody Mary. If you need recipes, there are some seriously delicious and festive cocktail ideas on my happy hour Pinterest board HERE.
Go All Out For Movie Nights
I love a good movie night. They’ve been a regular activity for us during quarantine. Why not make a special holiday might night as well? Make a snack, dinner, or dessert spread, open a bottle of wine or make some tea, turn on the holiday lights, and get festive. Or take it to the next level for movie night by choosing a theme. Then choose the movie, snacks, pajamas, etc. all in line with that theme. This can be really fun if you have little ones at home. You can even go all out and create home tickets or make “movie theater popcorn” so your family feels like they’re getting the full movie theater experience.
Plan A Game Night
There are tons of holiday themed puzzles if you want to be super festive or a simple game night in is a great way to spend an evening. Try card games or board games you can do at home with the family or do a virtual game night (my brother organized Zoom trivia a lot during lockdown last spring and they were actually really fun). Watching The Queen’s Gambit inspired me to order a chess set. I personally love the conversation starter cards, or even games like Cards Against Humanity (big Apples to Apples fan too). Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly are also great classics. We also LOVE a good puzzle too (this one was so hard). Below are a few of my favorite games, cards and puzzles for a fun holiday night in:
Drive To See Christmas Lights
This isn’t technically in your home but driving around to see Christmas lights and decorations are still a safe Covid free activity. Hopefully your neighbors are still decorating for the holidays this year. Hop in the car, turn on the holiday music, and go on a festive decoration adventure. Bring along some hot chocolate and snacks for fun too.
Wrapping presents is one of my favorite holiday activities. Bust out the bows, ribbon, fun wrapping paper, and go all out. Go ahead and get super fancy and creative with your gift wrapping. Rather than rushing through your gift wrapping take your time and enjoy making gifts look extra special.
Have a Virtual Call With Santa
This one is especially fun for the little ones. Since many places aren’t allowing in person visits with Santa, this is a great option. You can schedule a virtual call with Santa using a service like Santa’s Club. Such a cute idea and totally safe!
If you’ve ever wanted to create some thoughtful, DIY, or crafty gifts, this is a great opportunity (love this list of holiday DIYs). Especially since you might not be able to see your friends and family in person this year. Put something thoughtful together and ship or drop off gifts. You can put together photo albums for grandparents, make your own candles or create a beautiful gift basket filled with some of your favorite things. I’ve seen DIY hot chocolate kits that are super cute too. Who wouldn’t appreciate something thoughtful and handmade this year?
Engage In Some Self Care
Self care is so important, and during the holiday season especially. Take time for yourself (honestly the one thing I think I want most is a day off to be by myself and just RELAX). Spend a day or a night treating yourself. Check out my self care gift ideas and give yourself an evening of relaxation at home. I just bought this facial steamer to do at home facials. An at home mani or pedi is fun too. Olive and June has great mani sets.
Bake and Cook with the Family
Of course, let’s not forget the food. The holidays wouldn’t be the same without our favorite meals, snacks, & treats. Make cookies from scratch, host a cookie decorating night, or try baking your own pies or holiday desserts. Try a new recipe. If you’re not much of a cook, that’s fine too. Tons of restaurants are making delicious holiday meals for takeout and it’s a great way to support local business. Even if it’s just your immediate family at home and you’re not seeing extended family and friends, a festive holiday meal is still a great idea. Light the candles, set the holiday mood, and have an intimate holiday dinner. If you need recipes I have tons of recipes saved to my Pinterest board HERE.
Have Fun With Your Ugly Sweaters
Bring out all your ugly sweaters or check sites like Etsy and ebay if you don’t have any. Have an ugly sweater party night at home with just your household. You can also organize a virtual ugly sweater party with friends. Or tell all of your friends to hop on a group text and send selfies of their ugly sweaters. You can even make a competition out of it and have a prize for the winner(s).
Host A Virtual Secret Santa
Use a service like Secret Santa Organizer or Elfster. Have friends and family join and plan a time to virtually get together to open the gifts. You can also just do a regular gift exchange virtually. Send the gifts ahead of time so you can still open presents with your family and friends that you don’t get to see in person this year.
Take Holiday Photos
A lot of photographers have been offering socially distant photo sessions or even driving by to snap a family photo in front of your home. You can of course get creative and set up a tripod too. Get dressed up, gather the family together (fur babies too), and take a couple photos to remember the holiday and season. Not gonna lie I may have purchased matching pajamas for the dogs and Marin.
Create a Holiday Tradition
No doubt this year is different from previous holidays. If you’ve always done the same thing, maybe it’s an opportunity to create new traditions. I’ll be honest I’ve been kind of meh about tradition the last few years, especially with some family members passing away that were the center of many of our bigger family traditions. But with Marin, I’m excited to create new traditions and memories. It could be something as simple as choosing a special meal to eat on Christmas morning. I love the idea of getting a special ornament each year to represent important moments and achievements. It could also be giving back through a local food pantry or adopting a family in need for the holidays to buy their gifts or holiday meals (Craig and I have done this the last few years locally and it’s amazing). If you have kids, an advent calendar, elf on shelf, or letters to Santa are fun activities. There are so many special things you can do to create traditions that will help enhance the holidays year after year.
What are your holiday plans this year?
The holiday season is going to be different this year. There is no getting around that. But different doesn’t mean bad. This may be an opportunity to discover what a truly intimate holiday really feels like. An opportunity we might not have again. Make this year festive and filled with holiday spirit. What are your holiday plans this year? I’d love to know, and please share any special traditions or fun activities for the holidays at home.
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