The holiday season may look and feel a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean the jolliness has to be left in the past. Keep the joyful spirit alive with these decor ideas, activities, and more seasonal fun that are as heartwarming as a cup of cocoa.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Make the most of being indoors by embracing what makes this time of year so special: decorating! Whether you’re someone who’s amped and ready the day after Thanksgiving or part of the late-decorating-tradition crowd, these ideas are sure to spark a bit more holiday cheer.
Focus on a minimalist aesthetic
If the thought of zeroing in on one specific look throughout your space seems boring, think again, because it can actually have the opposite effect. A pared-down aesthetic in every room has the ability to bring the beauty of the holidays to the surface without compromising personal taste. For a festive yet minimal feel in your bedroom, for example, add a little greenery and a throw blanket in a cool tone such as blue, gray, or ivory. Don’t forget a seasonal accent piece like a nutcracker, a snow globe, or macramé. The less-is-more approach elicits a sense of peacefulness while keeping alive the joy that comes with decorating.
As previously mentioned, adding plants to your space livens everything up. But did you know just how many mental and physical benefits you can get from doing so? It can support fresher air quality, help you concentrate, and even boost your mood—replicating that feeling you get when you take a walk through a park, a field, or the woods. So, while this isn’t necessarily a typical holiday decor element, it’ll surely help keep the spirit of the season alive simply by making you feel better. Holly, poinsettia, cyclamen, and Norfolk pine are a few seasonal staples to consider. Shop online at any of these websites: The Sill, Bloomscape, and, for flowers, The Bouqs Co.
Make atmosphere a priority
Yes, decoration is a key factor in creating a festive atmosphere, but don’t forget about all the other little details that contribute to an unforgettable season. An essential-oil diffuser—Vitruvi and Objecto are fan favorites—fills your home with peppermint, clove, or pine fragrances all day, every day. Considering that smells are firmly tied to memory, nothing evokes holidays of the past quite like diffusing essential oils in nostalgic scents. You can even blend your own cheerful scent by combining drops of clove, orange, and cinnamon in the diffuser. Flood your other senses as you wrap gifts to your customized playlist and snack on festive confections.
Normally, we could go about baking gingerbread cookies and strolling along on a holiday lights tour around the neighborhood, but the uniqueness of this holiday season means taking a different route. This doesn’t mean you can’t bake or hop in the car to see the best light shows near you; it just means you don’t have to be afraid to switch up or swap out old traditions for new ones.
Have a bouquet-making competition
This will not only give you centerpiece options for days but also provide an activity people of all ages will enjoy doing. Why? Making floral bouquets will spark creativity, inspire you to learn something new, and ignite your adventurous mindset. Grab a few bouquets of varying colors and styles from your local supermarket—and if it sounds expensive, don’t worry: most stores carry arrangements for less than ten dollars. Pick up garland from a home improvement store (or buy online—Etsy and West Elm have great options). Separate and lay everything out on your table. Play around with pine cones, holly, and even greenery you find outside. Make everyone adhere to a theme for a more competitive element: a minimal look might include a frosted rose bouquet with evergreen tied together with twine, whereas a traditional holiday bouquet might include holly, red amaryllis, and plaid or gold ribbon.
Give a little differently
Instead of buying gifts for each other, have each person in the family pick a charity of his or her choosing, and donate or create a gift basket for the organization. GuideStar has a directory of both charities and other nonprofits that you can browse through to find one that speaks to you. If you decide to go this route, another helpful resource is CharityWatch, which ensures that you’re making informed decisions when contributing.
Another gift-giving idea is to only buy presents from small businesses. We all saw and felt the impact this year had on mom-and-pop shops, so this is a great way to support those in your local area while also giving gifts that are a bit more one of a kind. Manta is a search engine specifically for finding small businesses. Whether you’re on the hunt for art, baked goods, jewelry, or anything else specific to someone’s personality or favorite hobby, your thoughtful purchases will inspire joy all around.