Here is your ultimate guide to new and improvised Christmas traditions, decorating on a budget, gift recommendations, and finding Christmas cheer in the midst of a pandemic:
Lets’s Start with New Traditions:
The 12 days of Christmas:
I just came up with this idea, so bear with me here. Is it just me or do you hate feeling like you have to spend the entire holiday calling and texting family and friends and before you know it, you look up and Christmas is over. So I created this game/tradition so you can dedicate some quality time to all the people that matter.
Basically, you have two days to call/text/FaceTime each designated family member leading up to Christmas. This will allow you to have more time to not only talk to them but also to your immediate family on Christmas Day!
- Day 1 and 2: your cousins
- Day 3 and 4: aunts and uncles
- Day 5 and 6: nieces and nephews
- Day 7 and 8: someone who you haven’t spoke to in a long time (this may be uncomfortable; maybe you guys aren’t close friends anymore but the holidays are about cheer and forgiveness and this may rekindle a friendship or it may not but it’s worth a shot)
- Day 9 and 10: friends
- Christmas Eve: grandparents
- Christmas Day: parents
Then put your phone away and enjoy time with your immediate family on Christmas. 🙂
Ugly Christmas Sweater Party ft. Zoom!
Grab a holiday drink, put on your ugly Christmas Sweater and log onto zoom! It’s not ideal but hey, it’s better than nothing!
White Elephant but Make it Quarantine Edition:
It’s 2020 and if you haven’t survived off of Amazon Prime the last 9 months then we are not the same.
I have personally crafted an Amazon White Elephant Gift List for you to share with your friends and family.
Of course it’d be fun to be sitting in a circle laughing at all the terrible gifts in ugly Christmas sweaters drinking spiced egg nog, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a package sitting on your door step when you get home?
Plus, 2 day free shipping? I’m sold.
For my White Elephant list click HERE!
Write yourself a letter:
One thing I use to do when I was little was I would write myself a letter and tuck it in an ornament that opened. I was always so excited to put my tree up in my room because that meant I got to read my letters and see what was going on in my life a year ago. After a couple years, I had a bunch of letters to read and reminice on.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, so spend some time writing your feelings out, what you’re doing, what you will miss about the holidays this year, and what you are doing to make the most of it.
Make your kids do it, too! They write a letter to Santa saying all the things they want. Have them write a letter to themselves about all the things they’re thankful for. I know they’ll appreciate it when they’re older and get to read their old letters.
For the Adults Only:
Watch a Christmas movie and every time they say a certain word such as “Christmas”, “Holiday”, “Grinch”, everyone drinks 🙂
…as if we need another reason to drink lol
This year has been hard, for everyone. People have been out of work, small businesses have been struggling, things are closed down again, and money is tight. So I’m going to suggest a few things.
- Shop Small!
Here are a few of my favorites that would be perfect stocking stuffers:
Good JuJu Bandanas –the super cute bandanas to wear as headbands, masks or scarves in all the best colors!
Cooper and Quinn– the cutest earrings I’ve ever seen! &super affordable!
Ever Ascending Tribe— adorable headbands and scrunchies! (They even have some with buttons for your mask!)
Thandazani Leggings— amazing quality leggings and athletic wear! &scrunch booty ones to make that booty pop! 🙂
Baking Boiler— delicious cookies and hot chocolate balls made by a dear friend from high school!
2. Remember the true meaning of the holiday and understand that some of your family may not be able to afford gifts or feel comfortable going out in public to the store to get them. Some family members like grandparents– aren’t as tech savvy or feel comfortable buying stuff online.
3. Conversations are free and are more valuable than anything you can buy at Nordstrom.
Quarantine Christmas Activities
Despite covid and quarantine, you can still do these traditions:
- drive around and look at everyones lights
- make Christmas cookies
- have Gingerbread house competitions (loser has to clean up the entire kitchen)
- take Christmas pictures with your quarantine crew
- don’t make mulled wine… no matter how pretty it looks…it’s not good
- jam out to Christmas music in your pj’s and fuzzy socks
- watch all the Hallmark movies
- drink spiced eggnog, hot chocolate, and peppermint mochas
- eat a bunch of delicious treats (…didn’t you hear? calories don’t count this year!)
- be freakin’ thankful
Make it Smell like Christmas:
Last year I took some apples and oranges that were getting bad and used them to make our house smell like Christmas! Here’s how:
In a pan, place your chopped up apples and oranges. Add enough water to cover them then throw in some cinnamon sticks. Place on the stove on low. The whole house will smell amazing! It lasts for a couple days if you place a lid on it when you’re not using it and just add more water.
You could try adding pine too!
Do for others:
- Every since I was little, my grandparents gave us a sacrificial gift. That means that they would give each of us $100 to give to someone in need. When we were younger, we would pick something out of a catalog to donate to families in Africa. Then I began donating it to my local food pantry. Last year I used that money and decided to make Holiday gift bags for the homeless. Here’s how: I spent $10 on 10 Holiday bags found at the TJMaxx or Marshalls checkout. They’re sturdy, reusable bags that offer some holiday cheer. I went to walmart and purchased: a case of water, 10 travel deodorants, first aide kits, combs, chapstick, socks, wipes, Kleenex, nail files, some nonperishable snacks and walmart has $2 fleece blankets. I also spoke to my dentist and he donated 10 toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss! Before I went in to work, I walked around the city and passed them out. This year, our plan is to double their gift. There are so many worthy causes and we want to find the perfect one to give to this year.
- Donate to a cause that is dear to you
- Donate food to the Food Pantry
- Reach out to a nursing home about maybe decorating elders windows or Christmas caroling with your family outside their window. (Remember– “the best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear”)
- Purchase donate toys to children
- This can be as simple as going to the dollar store and spending $5 on 5 toys.
Decorating on a Budget:
Since we are traveling this year, we won’t be sparking up our fireplace, decorating the mantle, and doing some of our usual holiday traditions. We decided that although we aren’t home to make it Christmas-y, we still wanted to make our airbnb cozy. We wanted to keep it as cheap as possible since we will donate everything once the season is over because we can’t travel with a bunch of unnecessary stuff. This is how we did it:
-we found a gorgeous bushy 7ft Christmas tree from a local Christmas tree farm in Seattle
-used some goodwill credit and got: Christmas placemats, a cookie jar, a red vase (added some tree trimmings), a red candle holder, some Christmas themed dish towels, a countdown Santa, and a little wooden tree (all for $30!!!)
-stopped at the dollar store (the dollar store where everything is actually a dollar) and picked up; a “Merry Christmas” door sign, 5 packs of 5 small ornaments, 2 stoles of ribbons, an angel for the tree, 2- 10packs of snowflake ornaments, and 2 stockings! All for $20!!!
-found a cheap tree skirt on amazon for $10! I’ll tag it HERE!
-then we grabbed 5 packs of lights for the stairs, Christmas tree and the kitchen from target.
we made gingerbread cookies from scratch which took a very long time and I’ll be honest, they’re good but they’re not great if ya know what I mean 🙂 lol
and then we made mulled wine in a crockpot, which I also don’t recommend unless you enjoy the taste of medicine.
But one thing I’ve learned during this whole travel journey is that it doesn’t matter where I’m at, my home is wherever Lenn and our pups are. I just feel blessed that I get another year to do these traditions with them. I absolutely miss my family and my home but this year I’m choosing to be thankful for the amazing journey I’m on and lean into this very odd season of our lives.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. Please stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, be kind to others and give yourself and others grace. This year hasn’t been easy but there is still so much to be thankful for.
Love you all and I appreciate you reading 🙂