Since I graduated high school, it seems like it just gets more and more difficult to get in the holiday spirit. Over the years, I’ve found a couple things I like to do with my friends and family (or even by myself), that reeeally get me in the mood! I think it’s so important to remember the significance of the little things in life and to know that if you want to feel Christmasy, you have got to be intentional about it! Nobody is going to put your Christmas tree up for you!
However, I know Christmas can get expensive!! The gifts, the dinners, the outings to Busch Gardens (or whatever outrageously pricey theme park you have near you). So here’s a list of cheap or even FREE ideas to help you and yours get in the mood for Saint Nick. Because he’s watching you.
1. Drive around local neighborhoods and look at their Christmas lights! Play Christmas music in the car while you do it, bring hot chocolate to sip, and cozy blankets to get comfy! This is totally free, but one of my favorite things to do when people start putting their decorations out. My family likes to do it after dinner. It’s dark and our bellies are full.
2. Bake something that smells like the holidays (maple, cinnamon, apple, cranberry flavors) on house cleaning day! And while you’re at it, put on relaxing holiday or just plain cozy music. Some of my fav cozy pandora stations include Amos Lee, Norah Jones, or anything classical! I like Bach. Even if you don’t think you like classical music, give it a try. When it’s on in the background and the whole house is clean and smells like apple cinnamon muffins… I think you’ll see what I mean. CHRISTMAS=ACTIVATED
3. Find out when your town’s holiday events are happening! There is almost always a Christmas parade or free or inexpensive concert near you!
4. Walk around the mall. It will be decorated and there will be excited kids waiting to see Santa. I’ve found that a lot of holiday festivities we don’t do as young adults because there are no longer any kids in our life, and most events are geared toward children! So think about the things you liked to do as a kid when the holidays came around! It doesn’t mean you have to go sit on Santa’s lap, but being in an environment where there are so many excited kids to see Santa puts you right in the holiday spirit.
5. Wear festive pajamas! Invite a close knit group of friends over for a pajama party and watch old Christmas movies!
6. In addition to your family’s Thanksgiving, have a Friendsgiving with your best friends! Everyone brings a dish, so it’s easy! Play games, make fun cocktails, and ACTUALLY sit around the table so it feels like family!
7. Build a gingerbread house or decorate Christmas cookies! I did both of these last year. It was inexpensive and something I hadn’t done since I was little. Plus when you’re done, you can box up the cookies and deliver them to your neighbors and friends.
8. Watch a school play! Every school usually has a Christmas play, and the theatre program works so hard every year to make it happen. They WANT the locals to come and see their hard work pay off!
9. And for my local readers- go to the Yorktown Beach Boat Parade! It is completely free, they have a bonfire and apple cider available. You can just curl up in your blankets, drink your cider, and watch the decorated boats go by. I try to go every year!
10. Walk around Colonial Williamsburg. This is one of my favorites. The houses on Duke Of Gloucester Street have a wreath contest, and my family and I love walking around comparing all of the wreaths. There is something so wonderful experiencing Christmas in a colonial village. It’s simply magical.
Start a tradition. You can do all of these things every year, but there’s going to be something that sticks out in your family that really resonates with you. Something that warms your heart more than anything else. And make it a priority to do that thing every single year!