Presents and decorations and planning, oh my! Some years it's easier than others to get yourself in the holiday mood. Whether you've been busy with work or home life, or the season just snuck up on you this time, we've got some tips to add cheer and excitement to the end of your year. We guarantee they'll leave you smiling and singing throughout the season.
Getting your gift shopping done early takes all the pressure off, so you can actually enjoy the holidays without stressing over last-minute presents. Shopping for, and giving, Christmas gifts helps you to remember how grateful you are for the ones you love and will instantly spark that holiday spirit in you. Look for easy stocking stuffers first, and decide who else outside your home you'll be gifting to this year.
Keep it simple by organizing your thoughts before going shopping, whether you're doing it in-store or online. If you're having trouble deciding what to buy that certain someone, check out holiday gift guides. Still at a loss? No one will turn down a luxurious pair of slippers.
There's no easier way to get into the holiday mood than by setting the mood yourself. Start decorating early so that it feels like a fun activity rather than a chore. Invite the kids to join you and let their excitement bubble over and inspire you. Start by clearing some space for your holiday accents, and pull out your Christmas box. You'll get a quick reminder of past Christmases and the sweet memories you created, and you're sure to start feeling that little twinkle of hope and holiday joy.
Light some holiday-scented candles throughout the house to fill you with memories of warm apple pie, hot cider with cinnamon, and roasted chestnuts. Swap out our regular throws with Christmas throws and find the perfect tree or wreaths to display. If you want to take it up a notch, have a family ornament-making night one weekend this season to really invest in that feeling of togetherness. Should crafting not be on your wish list, you can find personalized Christmas ornaments for the whole family instead.
While some people might groan over Christmas music, it really is the best way to sprinkle a little spirit over any gloomy winter day. Turn up the volume while you're decorating the house with the kids, or play some tunes while you're doing chores to keep things light. Seeing the family bounce around to holiday jingles is a surefire way to settle back into the cheerful and hopeful nature of the holiday.
You can even set up playlists depending on the occasion or time of day. Perhaps you blast the Santa songs kids love in the morning to get everyone ready for school, while you and your partner can sway to Bing Crosby's crooning after bedtime. Save some time this season so you and your bestie can dance around to all of Mariah Carey's Christmas albums, even if it's over Zoom.
For December, plan out Friday movie nights with the kids. Give them a few options each time, all with Christmas or holiday themes. Try to find a few options they've never seen before. There's nothing cuter than seeing kids wide-eyed with wonder as they watch a new movie that fills them with delight. Get everyone a pair of matching family Christmas pajamas to really set the mood for a cheery evening.
For the adults in the house, consider having a weekday grown-up movie night with films you know the kids won't have the patience for, like Love, Actually and Scrooged. Grab your comfiest women's robe and soak in the quiet time. If you want to get competitive, try instituting a bingo game for every movie you watch together — include mall elves, hot chocolate, grumpy shoppers, and anything else that could show up. You might even want to get a bit creative and watch a couple of movies that aren't traditionally Christmas-y but have found their way into the holiday Rolodex, like Die Hard.
If you really want to get into the spirit of the holiday, give to those in need. You can ask the family to create their own giveaway boxes of clothes, toys, or other items in good condition, and go together to donate to your nearest shelter or nonprofit organization that supports the community. Offering your time volunteering at soup kitchens or local senior centers are other thoughtful ways to connect with those you can help.
Another option is to reach out to your neighbors. You never know who might be struggling this holiday season, and it's worth getting to know your community in a deeper and more meaningful way this year. Reminding yourself and your family that the true meaning of Christmas is about togetherness, counting your blessings, and giving to others offers up boundless perspective and feelings of gratitude and love.
The holidays are a time for love, laughter, and lighting the tree each night. Get in the groove effortlessly this year by diving into the true spirit of the season and enjoy a very jolly holiday this — and every — year.