I’ve been a Christmas girl as long as I can remember. December is truly one of my favorite months (behind October, obviously), and Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days (behind my birthday, obviously). But this year just feels…weird? As much as I love this season and my decorations that have been up since mid-November, it just feels a little bit harder to feel the joy right now (and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that).
With the pandemic, social distancing, and just the lack of “normal” traditions, I’ve been trying to find small ways to feel merry & bright during an otherwise bleak and sad Christmas season. Below are some of my holiday simple joys I’ve been enjoying this month. While this year is far from normal, hopefully you can find some sparks of hope, happiness and joy too. (And just a reminder: whatever you’re feeling this season, your emotions are 100% real and valid. No need to feel guilty for not feeling joyful right now. Allowing yourself to just be is valuable, too.)
Fun fact: Peppermint is my favorite coffee flavor! (Shoutout to Holy Grounds at Nova–still the best peppermint iced coffee I’ve had to date). Peppermint is a quintessential holiday flavor & this time of year, there are a TON of limited time peppermint products popping up in grocery stores. I don’t love my coffee super sweet, so I prefer peppermint flavored coffee vs. peppermint creamer. I just picked up the Target brand Peppermint Stick K-Cups, and I’m highly impressed. It’s a subtle peppermint flavor & makes your mouth feel minty afterwards. If you are a creamer gal, Coffee Mate’s Peppermint Mocha creamer is a fan favorite. I also just saw a blogger rave about Chameleon Cold Brew Peppermint Mocha (it’s dairy free!) A little holiday cheer to start your mornings.
Merry Little Mugs
And what’s holiday coffee without a holiday mug?? I impulsively bought this ‘Merry’ mug from Target (classic) & it really does make me so happy to see it every morning. It’s such a small thing, but good mugs actually make a difference. Unfortunately, this specific mug is sold out BUT here’s another Christmas themed mug from Hearth & Hand (@JoannaGaines), and some similarly merry mugs here, here & here!
Flannels for Days
I took a few-year hiatus from flannels, but I am firmly back. Maybe it’s due to working from home all the time & the need for everything cozy, I don’t care, I’m digging flannels again. Plus flannels seem holiday-y, cute & effortless which is something I can always support. I bought this flannel (in green/blue plaid) back in the fall (hence the pumpkins pictured above) & just bought another one in red/white plaid for the Christmassy feel~ I sized up for a comfier fit & I like this flannel in particular because it’s not SUPER thick (great for layering) AND it always goes on sale. Considering we’ll be having a lower key celebration this year, I can definitely see myself rocking a flannel with some leggings & slippers on Christmas day.
Pine Scented Candles >>>
Growing up, we always had a REAL Christmas tree. My sister, dad and I would go down the street to the little Christmas tree sale & pick out the PERFECT tree. My favorite part was walking through the rows of trees and being engulfed by that fresh pine smell. It was the absolute best, and I love the smell of pine because of that.
Well. Once I got to late middle school/early high school, my mom decided she was tired of vacuuming up pine needles & my dad was tired of the 3-hour light stringing so they opted for a pre-lit fake tree (the horror, I know). Me, devastated & overly dramatic, demanded that we get multiple Christmas-tree scented candles to keep the integrity of the tree alive. And thus began my
obsession affinity towards pine scented candles. No joke, I have a minimum of five pine scented candles in my apartment right now. I actually burn them all winter long because I love the smell so much. If you don’t have room for a real tree this year, the scent is enough to get into that holiday spirit. You can find pine candles pretty much anywhere, but this one is decorative/festive, this one smells AMAZING & this one is budget-friendly & burns clean.
Take a walk to see decorations
I don’t like winter? At all? But there’s been something really refreshing taking a walk during the day while it’s bright & a little cold out. In the city, people have started decorating the outside of their houses with lights & garlands which have made my walks a little more joyful. If you live in a neighborhood, take an evening walk to see all the lights! Socially distant but still festive.
Send some cards
I usually send Christmas cards, but this year it meant a little more to me. I had more fun picking out the stationary and made my list of recipients a little longer. We’re all feeling somewhat lonely this year just by nature of what’s going on. Even if you live with someone else or your family, there’s still this sense of isolation that none of us can shake (for now). Writing cards made me feel a little more connected to my friends and loved ones and taking the time to handwrite why they mean so much to me felt more important this year. Plus, who doesn’t love to get letters in the mail? Spread some joy. Even a simple card can help us feel connected.
Just don’t get into the spirit
Yup, seems out of a place in a “how to get into the holiday spirit” post, but honestly, if you’re not feeling in the Christmas spirit, don’t force it. I love Hallmark/cheesy Christmas movies as much as the next girl, but this year I haven’t really been into watching people in a “perfect” world, so I’ve opted to binge watch Gossip Girl for the third time instead. Skip the Christmas carols, decorate only if it makes you happy, and bake cookies purely because you need a sweet treat, not because you “should.” If the idea of trying to preserve the traditions/joy of the holidays makes you anxious or exhausted, it’s fine. You don’t have to do it. Honoring what you want and need is far more important, all the time, but especially right now. Take care of yourself, that’s always enough.
Whatever the holidays look like for you this year, hope you can find a little bit of joy in them. &.