Due to COVID-19 restrictions across the globe, many people will be spending the holidays alone this year. Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Festivus (for the rest of us), or some other wintry holiday, here are some ways you can make it feel festive inside to celebrate the wintertime.
- Warm beverages: I try to make this a daily ritual for myself and myself alone. A nice warm cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cider, chai, or any other deliciousness can make you feel cozied up and festive. It’s cold outside, so warm up inside with something hot. It’s a lovely bit of self care that I think everyone should indulge in daily, but it’s up to you.
- Fire: One of the best ways to feel cozy during winter is to bring fire into your home (safely). A fireplace isn’t practical for everyone, but if you’ve got one, start it up! Otherwise, maybe you can have a bonfire outside with some blankets. Or, the easiest way to get fire (and my favorite way) is to light a candle or seven! Always make sure to monitor your candles and put them in safe places, but a hot cocoa and cream or peppermint bark scented candle makes me feel instantly more holiday.
- Scented things: Soap. Room sprays. Wallflowers. Potpourri. Incense. Anything that smells like those traditional wintertime scents, bring it on! Here are the best ones in my opinion: cinnamon, teakwood, clove, apple, peppermint, and cedar. You can pick what’s right for you (and be careful if you’re sensitive to certain fragrances).
- Lighting: Those harsh white lights that are almost blue? They hurt my eyes. It’s great for focus during the day, but at night, not so much. Switching your bedroom and living room lights to those warm yellow bulbs can make a big difference in the cozy feeling of your home. Adding lamps and a heavy dose of string lights to your space can also change the vibes instantly, along with candles (of course). Something about being surrounded by warm lighting makes me super joyful.
- Music: Just about any kind of music can be holiday-ed up. If you’re trying to get work done, YouTube has some 24/7 live feeds of lo-fi music in any scenario, be it lo-fi christmas, lo-fi coffee shop, lo-fi study… I bet you can find something. Not a lo-fi fan? Warm, festive classical music like cello or piano gives me a classy and cozy vibe. Some people like christmas rap, holiday blues, or even traditional celtic carols (my favorite). I even made a playlist of anti-Christmas songs. If you’d like to see that, follow me on my moodboard Instagram so you don’t miss when that post goes live. I’ve already posted some anti-Christmas* films.
- Movies: What’s the holiday season without holiday films? Maybe you’re super traditional with movies like Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Carol. Or, maybe you go for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and The Grinch. You might even be one of those “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” people — I’ve only just recently been convinced, so I still feel a little resistance to the idea, but knock yourself out. And again, go to my moodboard Instagram for some anti-Christmas films.
- Decorations: Don’t get me wrong, I know this is obvious. But the decoration process can be daunting, especially if you’re used to trimming the tree and the mantelpiece and lighting the candles with your family and friends. Turn on some jams, light a candle or two, or put on a movie, and get decorating! Whatever decorations you like. You could even craft some of your own with a family member or friend on Zoom! My sister and I made some sweet crafts out of socks, glue dots, buttons, ribbons, and all the fun crafty stuff. Try a DIY snowman or decorate a yule log.
- Reminisce: My mom suggested this one — look over old holiday photos! You can use Google Photos to piece together a memory book that you can mail out to loved ones later. Or, you can pull out the old photo books, scan images, and post them on Facebook for a good time in the comments. Even if you can’t have a gathering now, you can remember the old times. Maybe call some family and ask them for their favorite holiday memories… write them all down and share the document.
- Get festive in the kitchen: Who doesn’t love a warm soup and hearty homemade bread? Ask your great aunt if she’d be willing to part with a recipe or two. As with Thanksgiving, you might not be able to enjoy the recipes your relatives always bring, but you can recreate the same flavors at home! Hop on a live and ask for instructions in real time (just make sure you do your shopping beforehand). Maybe try something new. Plus, making some festive dishes and putting them in Tupperware for later is a great way to meal prep without feeling like it’s too much work!
- Cozy up: Invest in nice sweats, thick blankets, a heavy coat and boots for winter walks, knit socks/hats/scarves/gloves, and maybe a rug or some wool sweaters. Flannel is also an excellent choice. You’re going to be home anyway, so why not make yourself as comfortable as possible?
- Try handmade gifts: This year, your gifts might not be so traditional. I read on the news that hand sanitizer and masks are popular presents! If you’re going to order gifts online, try to get them from Etsy shops or your favorite small businesses. Or, pick up tins for homemade candies, wrap handmade ornaments in craft paper and twine, and get painting on cardstock to send to loved ones. Become a subscriber to get a list of 10 gift ideas for a pandemic.
Well, there are 11 holiday hacks for one! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and remember, you’re never alone. ❤
*Note, I don’t have anything against Christmas. I just know that it’s not the only holiday people celebrate this time of year, and it’s nice to include those people in festive posts!
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