For almost everyone, Christmas Day is looking different this year. Unable to host family and friends for the big day or gather everyone over for dinner is putting a real damper on things. I think it’s important to make sure that the holiday doesn’t lose it’s magic. With only a handful of days left in the year, we have a fast opportunity to turn things around and end the year with a great memory.
“Turning things around” isn’t about giving your child the perfect gift or the expensive item your husband had his eye on. It’s about putting the strains of the last 8 months (give or take) aside and creating a good time with what you do have. Giving the gift of positivity, a good attitude and laughter.
It’s easy to have Christmas Day center around the idea of finally seeing if someone got you what you have been asking for, but this year let’s center it around acknowledging what survived the year. For my household, we have jobs, a house, our dogs, and a beautiful (well I’m just assuming he’s beautiful,) baby boy on the way. Not everyone is as lucky but I’m hoping you can count up a few things that you have around you and be thankful.
Christmas has it’s own little bit of magic you can tap into if you’re struggling to be positive all on your own. There is something about waking up that morning that just feels a little different that other mornings. For one, you have the day off (or many of us do.) You might have texts when you wake up wishing you a great day, a phone call that will put a smile on your face and just this overall sense that on that day, things are a little brighter.
Your family is probably not lining the halls of your house this year waiting to begin present opening, but there are still plenty of pandemic-friendly ways to make the day special. Whether you have a bunch of people in your immediate household or are going to spend the day in your apartment without your normal visitors, at least one of these ideas will be doable!
1. Pajama Day
This is actually part of my own household’s Christmas Day tradition. We always go “family-free” to give us at least one holiday that truly feels like a day off. Once we started that tradition, pajama day quickly sunk in as a yearly thing. There is something weirdly rewarding about dedicating a day to not even getting ready! To really relax, so much that you don’t even put real clothes on.
Lots of people talk about feeling exhausted after Christmas and I’ve never wanted to feel that way so pajama day is has been my way to counteract that notion. Try it out this year and see if it’s something you can adopt into your yearly tradition.
2. All-Day Mimosas
Aaaand, this is part 2 of our yearly Christmas Day schedule. All-day mimosas! Or well, until-my-husband-gets-heartburn mimosas!
This year I’ll be swapping out the champagne for sparkling grape juice, but the fun is still there and the champagne will return next time around! A day full of this bubbly drink is a great way to get you in a good mood no matter your Christmas situation. Whether you have kids or it’s just you, this is one thing you can plan to do.
3. Puzzle Day
The more mimosas you drink, the more challenging this one becomes! Make your Christmas a day that exercises your brain in a therapeutic way that the whole family can enjoy.
Every year my husband and I treat ourselves to a new puzzle to bust out on Christmas. We spend the day casually putting it together- normally it takes us more than a day because we like to buy ones that are 2000+ pieces. If we are able to finish the puzzle without losing any pieces then we use jigsaw glue to seal it together and then we get it framed and hang it in the house! When you do the big ones, you often can’t tell it’s a puzzle when it’s hanging and we get compliments on the large “art” we have hanging. It gives us a good laugh.
Take your time picking out the puzzle if you do plan to glue it together because you’ll want it to match a room in your house. Pictured above is the one we picked out for this year!
4. Family Bake-Off
Better suited for families, throw a holiday bake-off! Have each person (or get teams together) make a pie, decorate a gingerbread house, cookies, etc. and see who’s turns out the best. If you are really competitive, open up the results for votes on Facebook or Instagram! Invite friends and family to comment which one looks the best.
If you don’t want to encourage the idea of one of your kids “losing” on Christmas Day, come up with a list of categories for each to be placed in. Most delicious, best looking, most unique, and so on.
A household bake-off is a great way to pass the day, perhaps pass down a recipe/teach a skill, and do something constructive with a tasty payout.
Families who choose to participate in a bake-off and open it up for voting, make sure you tag @ALTAZ933 in your post and we will place a vote!
5. Zoom Presents
The family can’t physically BE THERE but that doesn’t mean you can’t include them in the excitement of seeing someone open the thing you got them. I’ve lived away from my family for many years now so video-chat present opening is not new to me. My mom, Aunt and Grandma LOVE that my husband and I pop in via video-chat to let them see our faces when we open what they picked out. Sure it’s not the same and technology might be a little frustrating when you’re a millennial trying to teach Facetime to someone older, but in the end it’s totally worth it.
If there is too big of a time difference or teaching Zoom to the family is too difficult, never fear! I have another alternative. There have been a couple times where we didn’t open the gifts live over video, but instead, filmed a video on our phones and texted it in.
It’s nice the technology has allowed us to do this. Take advantage of the time we are living in and make the best of an imperfect situation. Instead of moping around that present-opening won’t be it’s usual merriment, be thankful for cell phones. Pandemics were a lot hard 100 years ago!
6. Present Hunt
This one is for the kids… or the kid at heart. 😉
Instead of a tradition Santa drop off… maybe the Elf on the Shelf hid all the presents! Think, Easter Egg Hunt. A present hunt is a creative way distract the kiddos from their untraditional Christmas. They might even like it so much that you make it a tradition!
Depending on the size of your home, maybe hiding all the presents isn’t ideal. But here is an opportunity to get even more creative with this. Pick out the “best” gift for each kid, the last one they would open and hide just that one. Then, turn finding that last gift into a small scavenger hunt! Leave maybe three or five clues around the house that end up leading to the one hiding spot.
Sure, it is more work for you… not exactly what you wanted but it will provide an hour of unforgettable fun that your household will never forget.
7. Phone-Free Day (Pioneer Day)
Not for the faint of heart but definitely an exercise we should do more often. I always call it “pioneer day” which in retrospect, is kind of dumb since electricity is still coursing through the house… but it feels a bit like the good ol’ days without a cellphone in front of everyone’s face.
A trend that is starting to happen is what I call “Christmas dissatisfaction.” You might start off feeling so grateful for what you received on Christmas- as you 100% should, but a couple hours later, you’re on social media and are bombarded with images of other people’s Christmas Day. While it shouldn’t affect you at all, because you just had your own wonderful morning, lots of people, especially the younger generation, will begin comparing their lives to everyone else’s.
Well this person got engaged. So-and-so got the new iPhone. My old roommate got a new Louis Vuitton bag. Whatever it is. It happens all year round on social media but is particularly toxic on Christmas.
Avoid it entirely by suspending phone use for the day! Do your phone calls to your family and then collect everyone’s phones/tablets and place them in a basket until after dinner (or whatever you decide.)
Not only can you rid yourself of that toxic thought-cycle but you’ll get to truly enjoy the day with your immediate family- be that blood or your roommates/chosen family. Give your family the tradition of living the holiday in the moment and not in the bluelight.
8. Christmas in the Park
Maybe what you need to lift spirits is a change of scenery. You are used to going somewhere on Christmas day and sitting inside your home is making you feel the holiday blues. There is a fix for that. Enjoy Christmas outside!
Round up the house and move present opening to the outdoors. If you have a park in your neighborhood, utilize it! Bring a trash bag so you don’t end up being a litter bug and get a literal breath of fresh air.
If it’s too cold in the morning or hauling presents down the street isn’t your idea of a good time, there are still ways to change up the scenery. Take a Christmas afternoon walk to work up an appetite for dinner. Play some yard games once the sun is shining outside. Move dinner to the patio. We are so lucky to live in a state that gives us beautiful weather all year long. Christmas is the perfect day to be thankful for something like that.
9. 2021 Vision Boards
Relishing in this past year is not the way to spend Christmas day. So why not spend the afternoon prepping for what is to come. There is nothing wrong with leaning into the idea of “next year will be better.”
After the huge disappoint of 2020, you might find yourself hesitant to have faith in the future but I encourage you to not give up on the possibility of better. Hope is a massive driving force throughout all of history, it’s not time to shed ourselves of that- especially with vaccines on the way.
Get together some magazines, stickers, scissors, glue, even the craft herpes! (Glitter… glitter is craft herpes. It end up everywhere, but I still love it.) Your vision board for 2021 is just a big collage of your hopes for the next year. I really swear by these. I believe that you can manifest a lot of the good things (and conversely, the bad things,) that come to you. It is all about the energy you’re putting into your daily actions.
A vision board is made to help you channel your energy into what you have decided is an important focus for the year. In the past, my vision boards have been extremely helpful. It’s nice to have a creative way to start preparing for the year ahead. To really think about what you want to accomplish and make something aesthetically pleasing to remind yourself of your intentions. I hang mine near the closet so I can get a little daily reminder. Nearly everything I pop on those things ends up coming true. It’s all about manifestation!
Spread a little hope on Christmas day and get excited about what YOU can make happen in the next year despite the challenges that are thrown your way.
Christmas is looking different but different isn’t bad. This is a year to come up with new traditions. A new tradition is a great way to make a great memory out of a sh*t year. When you look back on 2020, you’ll end up remembering the 20 mimosas and stupid PJ’s you wore instead of 8 months of quarantine madness. Or both, but it won’t weigh so heavy with a little sprinkle of Christmas day cheer ingrained in your long-term memory.
Happy holidays to all and good luck!