As a child, Christmas was without a doubt the most magical time of year. You could actually feel the excitement in the air. During the holidays, everything felt special. I remember the Christmas season feeling like it lasted so long but loving every moment of it. Christmas always felt so far away, even throughout the month of December.
Fast forward to adulthood, and Christmas has a very different feel to it now. It is still one of my favorite times of year, don’t get me wrong. But there is so much more to it than before. When you’re a child you don’t realize how stressful the holidays are for adults. We spend the last months of the year running around from holiday party to family function, while also Christmas shopping and decorating our homes. It’s a lot. Its hard to stop and appreciate the holidays when there’s so many obligations and tasks to check off our list. In fact, so many of us look forward to the holiday being over!
The holidays can still be a magical time of year for adults. This year has been a rough one for a lot of us, so all the more reason to try to genuinely enjoy the holidays! Here’s a few ideas as to how you can keep the magic alive as an adult during the Christmas season:
1. Decorate your home. This seems obvious, but decorating my home always makes it feel like Christmas is officially here. Growing up, my family decorated virtually every inch of our house. My mother is extremely artistic, so our tree and Christmas decorations always looked so beautifully put together. My first Christmas out of my parent’s house, I was so excited to decorate my little apartment for the holiday. My roommate and I didn’t have much money, but we used what we got from our parents and the dollar store to bring the festive spirit home.
Over the years, my Christmas decoration collection has expanded and now that I have a home of my own. I usually start decorating the day after Thanksgiving (not any sooner, I like to enjoy Turkey Day), and typically make an evening out of it. Throw on some Christmas music or a Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas (here’s the schedule) and deck your halls!
2. Have an actual Christmas party. And yes, that means be corny AF. I love a themed party, and Christmas is the perfect time to pull out all the stops! I’m talking ugly Christmas sweaters, spiked eggnog, festive games, delicious food, you name it!
My fiancé and I threw an incredibly successful Christmas party last year for our friends. The true crowd pleaser was our take on the Naughty or Nice game. The object of the game is to find out if you were “naughty or nice” that year by choosing a plastic cup at random. Each cup has a slip of paper in it detailing why you were either naughty or nice, and a prize. We shook this game up, by making “adult versions” of the reasons for being naughty or nice and including booze! Yep! We put a mini bottle of booze in each of the “nice” cups, which was a huge hit! There are so many great Christmas party games on Pinterest, so start planning your party!
3. Have a Christmas movie marathon. One of my favorite Christmas traditions was kept silently to myself. Every year, I would turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree, curl up under a blanket, and watch a holiday special on television. Sometimes I did this alone, sometimes my family was there, but no matter what this always got me feeling festive.
As an adult, this is still something I love to do! There is something really comforting about the glow of Christmas lights and a classic holiday movie. This little tradition means even more now because its a treat to get a quiet moment as an adult during the holiday season. This is a great thing to do if you really just want to sit back and enjoy the holiday.
4. Speaking of Christmas lights, go around your neighborhood and check out your neighbors lights! Let’s be real, people who put up extravagant Christmas light displays want you to stop and appreciate them. So do it! Does your neighborhood lack in Christmas creativity? Go to another neighborhood. I love driving around and visiting the houses that go all out each year, and discovering new houses that pulled out all the stops. This is a simple (and more importantly free) way to get into the holiday spirit.
5. Wake up and open presents. Hear me out on this one. The first Christmas I lived on my own, I woke up and thought “now what?” I was so used to waking up with my family and opening presents and having breakfast and doing the whole “Christmas morning” thing. My roommate was with her family, so I didn’t even have anyone to wish “Merry Christmas” to when I woke up! It was a very weird feeling and kind of depressing to be honest.
The following Christmas, my fiance (then boyfriend) and I lived together and I was determined to have an actual Christmas morning. We woke up early and went into our living room to open the presents we had bought for each other. Santa even brought us a few gifts! It felt more like the Christmas mornings of my childhood. Ever since, I have always made sure that our Christmas mornings were special. Do the Christmas thing. open presents, cook a delicious breakfast, watch the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (this might be a specific tradition for Disnerds like myself but its fun, okay?), and enjoy the fact that this is a special day!
6. Give back. One of the most “adult” things I have done during the Christmas season is giving back. People always talk about giving back around Christmas, but not many actually do. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of presents and parties and forget that not everyone is fortunate enough to have the Christmas you might be having.
There are a lot of great ways to give back during this time of year. If you don’t have extra cash to donate or time to volunteer, don’t worry! There are number of things you can do to give back to your community. From baking treats for your local public service people, to donating canned food from your cupboard to local soup kitchens, no act is too small. Even just taking time out of your day to ask a stranger how their doing is enough!
Whether your holiday’s involve a lavish celebration with hundreds of your closest friends, or a quiet evening at home with just a few, I hope you find a way to make the most of this magical time of year.