Are your holiday gatherings smaller this year? Staying home instead of traveling elsewhere?
For some people, this year’s change of plans may be a relief from a normally hectic time. For others, it may elicit feelings of sadness and loss of your normal traditions. Whatever your emotions are, validate them and allow yourself to feel them.
Then, focus on making this year’s holidays memorable and special in new creative ways. We’ll share some ideas for how to do this. With over a week until Christmas, there’s still plenty of time to plan one or more of these ideas into your day!
One way to get creative is in the food you eat together.
Here are some ideas for making your mealtime special and different from what you might traditionally do:
- Make a fondue dinner. Prep a pot of cheese fondue for your main event and dip things like little fingerling potatoes, pieces of crusty bread, cornichons, cooked or fresh veggies and sliced meats like sausage, chicken or steak. Follow with dessert by making a pot of chocolate fondue and dipping things like fresh fruit, cheesecake or marshmallows.
- Together with your loved one(s), put together an epic cheese board, then enjoy demolishing it for dinner and dessert. Arranging it is almost as fun as eating it!
- Buy and cook something “luxurious” feeling like lobster tails or crab legs, a prime cut of steak or caviar.
- Make something more time or labor intensive that you might not normally do for your larger family gatherings like beef Wellington, homemade pasta or paella. Last year on Christmas Eve, we made chicken cordon bleu.
- Pick a cuisine you wouldn’t normally eat for your holiday meal and plan your whole meal around it. Go Italian and have everyone make their own pizza. Or maybe try a new Thai recipe, or an Indian dish like our butter chicken.
- Make breakfast for dinner and serve a smorgasbord of your favorite breakfast and brunch foods.
- Turn your dinner or happy hour into a friendly competition. One idea is to set up a “Top Chef” style competition where you gather a small combination of ingredients and then take turns each making a dish using each of the ingredients. Alternatively, you could do something similar with cocktails.
The next way to consider injecting some special fun into your holidays is in the other ways you spend time outside of eating.
Here are some ideas:
- Do a craft or project together. Google craft ideas for creative inspiration.
- Get active! Go for a walk or hike outside, play a sport or outdoor game or something else that everyone can be included in.
- Find a new game to play together. Consider board and card games as well as games that elicit fun conversation like “table topics.” What are some of your tried-and-true favorites that you used to play? We love Scrabble, Yahtzee, Settlers of Katan, What Do You Meme (not appropriate for all ages!) and Heads Up.
- Pick a movie you’re all excited to watch together, get in your comfy clothes or jammies, pop some popcorn and enjoy! Christmas Vacation is always a go-to for us. I know many others who like It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, Elf. Or choose a non-Christmas movie if that suits you.
- Talk about goals you each want to focus on in 2021 and have fun writing them down on a big board or smaller, individual ones. Share them aloud and make a pact to help everyone stick to their goals.
- Have a dance party and take turns playing your favorite songs and laughing together at each other’s choices and awesome moves. You’ll be surprised at how much fun this is and the laughter it brings out as everyone shares their dance moves!
- Hold a gingerbread “structure” making competition. Gather items like graham crackers, frosting and candies. Individually, or in teams, have fun creating your best gingerbread house (or other type of building!) and cast your vote for your favorite.
- Set up an at-home wine tasting. Browse through options for on-demand video-led wine tastings, like the ones listed here: https://www.wine.com/content/landing/virtual-tastings. Buy the wine required and a few food options for pairing. You could also skip the online class and just buy some different bottles to try, learn about their origin and their makers and enjoy sipping on some newfound favorites!
- Engage in thought-provoking discussion. Each person could write down something they appreciate about each person in attendance. Then, everyone can read the responses about themselves out loud. Another ideas is to have everyone share things you’re grateful for during 2020 and what you look forward to in 2021. A third idea is to have each person share their favorite memories from 2020. We find that this is a great way to start every new year on a positive note.
- Coordinate a FaceTime or group Zoom meeting with family you would normally gather with. If you are missing being with certain family members or friends, plan a time to see each other via video. You can even play games virtually together like Pictionary, charades, etc.
What other new and creative things are you doing for the holidays this year? We want to hear and we wish you much love and happiness this holiday season!
Irene & Brianna