With the exception of a couple of cold winters spent in Chicago, I’ve lived my entire life in California. Cue reactions now:
“You’ve never shoveled snow before?”
“You’re so lucky!”
“It’s always beautiful there!”
“So much sunshine!”
Well, this California native could do with a little less sunshine and a little more sweater weather, especially during the holiday season. And I know I’m not alone! Regardless of climate or location, here are a few of my simple tips and tricks to help you get into the holiday spirit.
1. Holiday Music
My mom, a self-proclaimed Grinch, is not a fan of holiday music. In fact, she’ll only listen to it December 23rd-25th. Here’s my recommendation: Christmas tunes start blasting in every store and on the radio the moment Halloween ends. Keep it simple and throw on some holiday tracks while cooking—or, even better, while showering. Just a few minutes here and there to ease you in.
2. Gift Shopping
My favorite part about the holiday season is picking out the perfect Christmas/Hanukkah gifts for loved ones. Whether you’re browsing Etsy, crafting an Amazon wish list, or strolling through your local Target, it’s time to make a list and check it twice. Just thinking about how excited my friends and family will be when they unwrap their presents is enough to give me all the warm and fuzzy feelings!
3. Gift Wrapping
So you’ve already picked up the perfect present? Wrap it up—and do it right: bows, ribbons, colorful gift tags, etc. For an added project, try making your own wrapping paper by decorating plain brown paper with stamps, markers, or Washi tape. Just think about it: nobody will have wrapping like that—it’s all yours!
4. Put on a Movie
Raise your hand if you cannot help but love Hallmark Christmas movies. How about old school classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street? There’s nothing like a Christmas flick, old or new to get your holiday senses tingling. Even if you don’t have cable, there’s plenty to find on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu.
The very first thing I do once Thanksgiving is over is pull out my “Christmas bins” packed full of dishes, décor, and knick-knacks I’ve collected over many years. If going all-out is not in the budget (because we know how expensive the holidays get), turn to Pinterest. I’ve spent many hours o’crafting in the past using supplies gathered from my own apartment or the trusty Dollar Tree down the block.
Not everyone is a hostess. Not everyone wants to party. However, everyone loves to eat yummy foods. So pick out a couple recipes, sweet or savory, and take to the kitchen. If you feel like company, invite a couple of friends over to join in on the festivities. If not, throw on that Hallmark movie you’ve been waiting for. Bonus: package up some goodies for your neighbors, office, or friends. Don’t forget to save a few for yourself, though!
7. Shop Local
I love online shopping as much as the next person, but get out there and shop the community. Even better, check out what fun festivals, markets, and activities are available near you. Here in Los Angeles, I’ve attended two artisan craft fairs and one “Faux Snow” day event, just in the last ten days. If you need a starting point, search Facebook for events nearby. It’s a win-win: enjoy a scenic stroll, shop some local vendors, and cross off some people on your Christmas list.
From California to Vermont, Bangkok to Cape Town, Christmas and the holiday season, looks (and feels) different for everyone. Though I wish I could trade in my eighty-degree climate for something a little more snowy, I’m sure some of you would say the opposite.
Regardless of where you are and how many layer you’re sporting, everyone has their own wacky/fun/creative holiday tradition—and, let’s be honest, isn’t that what this time of year is all about? And so I say: to each their own and to all a good night!
Happy holidays, everyone!