How I'm Making the Best Out of the Holidays This Year
Updated: Feb 21
The Christmas holiday season for my family is one of the craziest and fun-filled times of the year. Usually I'd be picking out a party dress for Christmas Eve and helping in the kitchen to cook for 30+ guests, but not this year!
Since October, I've been getting myself into a different kind of mindset for this year's holidays as they are so so different than normal times. With it being a quieter year, it's given me many moments to reflect and appreciate the little things about the holidays that I normally don't think about or cherish. I've realized that there are so many different ways to get into the Christmas spirit without going from party to party. It's all about the build-up and the small things we do with those around us that make the season special, fun, and memorable.
Here is what I've been up to to keep my holiday spirits alive:
My family has traditionally thrown a 30+ person Christmas Eve party at my grandparent's house and then another 30+ Christmas Day party at another family member's home. Lots of cooking, fun, and cleaning. But amongst all of the craziness while preparing for these events are the smaller traditions they encompass.
Some of my family's Christmas traditions include:
Cutting down my grandparent's Christmas tree.
A Christmas Eve brunch with my mama.
Baking the same cookies that my family has made for decades.
Setting up our Christmas village.
Making homemade herring.
Baking cranberry bread & then eating it with cream cheese (yes, this is a thing).
Caroling as a family on Christmas Eve.
Traditions are what make all holidays special. While I check each of these traditions off every year, this year I've put a bit more heart into them. I've grown more of an appreciation for what they are, what they mean, and who I share them with, now more than ever.
*Most* of family hates when I buy them gifts. They go out of their way to tell me about 20 times that I shouldn't spend money on them and they don't want anything. Well GUESS WHAT FAMILY!? I'm buying them anyway.
This year has been shitty. Plain and simple. We all deserve to look forward to a little gift. It doesn't have to be large and expensive, just something meaningful and fun. This year I feel closer to my family more than ever because of how much time we have spent together, so I've learned a lot more about their interests. It's made gift shopping a bit more fun than normal! Who doesn't love looking forward to a good little gift on Christmas morning!?
Holiday movies easily put me in the spirit. Christmas wouldn't be the same if my family and I didn't watch Its A Wonderful Life on Christmas Day or drink wine while watching Trading Places. Over the past few weeks I've been trying to watch at least 2-3 holiday movies per week to get me feeling all of the feels. The classics ones, funny ones, rom-com ones, and even some of the Hallmark ones (I can't take too many of those, ha!).
My top 10 holiday movies:
A Christmas Carol (year 2009)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (year 2000)
The Family Stone
Home Alone 1 & 2
It's A Wonderful Life
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Appreciating the Weather
The snow fall that we just received here in Connecticut was so beautiful! Since moving back to CT from Manhattan earlier this year, this snow was one of the first storms I've been able to appreciate in a while. When living in the city, snow was pretty but also a bit of a pain and turned to gross slush quickly. Now, I currently live in the suburbs with lots of trees and it's absolutely stunning to watch fall and then wake up to. I am so happy that it snowed before Christmas because it has set the tone for a wonderful holiday!
It's been lots of fun this year to decorate my own space for the holidays. I've been able to put up my own little tree and decorations that fit the overall aesthetic that I want for my home. Simple, merry and chic. I am also super grateful to have a working fireplace in my humble abode; a fire is certainly a good way to get into the spirit of things.
Some of my home decorations from Target:
Ultimately, I think we can all agree that the holidays are what you make of them. For me, it's the people that I care most about, traditions, and making my home feel as cozy as possible. This year has certainly been one hell of a ride, but I'm ready to make the most out of these last few weeks and am incredibly grateful to be able to celebrate them...maybe just a bit differently.