Hot chocolate, blankets, twinkle lights. Are you’re ready to indulge in the best goodies and experiences the winter holiday season has to offer?
Pull Out Your Favorite Board Games on a Cold Night
Ditching Netflix for a round of Scrabble or Harry Potter Clue can make even an ordinary Tuesday feel like something special. Clear the coffee table or dining room table, grab a stack of your favorite board games, pour some hot drinks and get playing.
Make Hot Chocolate
Speaking of hot drinks, a warming mug of hot chocolate is right for any winter’s day. Keep it classic or add a splash of something stronger and top with whipped cream or marshmallows. Enjoy your treat indoors, or fill a thermos and bundle up to enjoy your cocoa on a winter walk or sitting around the backyard fire pit.
Read More Good Books
When the weather outside is frightful, console yourself by finally tackling some of the good books you’ve been meaning to read. Or curl up with an old favorite that feels just right around the holidays. If you have little ones at home, pile up seasonal books in a basket and pick one each night to read together.
Bundle Up in a Throw
A soft throw brings instant holiday cheer wherever it lands. Put one on your favorite armchair, drape it across the foot of your bed or curl up in it and carry it with you from room to room.
Hang a Fresh Wreath
The front door is the obvious choice for a wreath but why not adorn the inside of your home with green beauties too? Hung with ribbon over the front of bookcases or a mirror, wreaths are a wonderful way to make your home feel festive for the holidays and beyond.
Make Your House Smell Amazing With a Simmer Pot
Whether you’re hosting a gathering or enjoying a lazy Saturday at home, adding a delicious scent to the air can help set a festive mood. Simmer berries, oranges and cinnamon in a heavy pot with water to release their scent, or set out a tray of potpourri.
Set Out a Bowl of Nuts in the Shell
Having an interactive appetizer is fun, and whole nuts in the shell are especially welcome this time of year. Set out a pretty bowl filled with whole almonds, walnuts or pecans, along with a nutcracker and an empty bowl or dish to collect shells.
Light Wintry Candles
Adding the scent of a forest or softly falling snow in the form of a candle can be a lovely way to add ambiance to your home around the holidays. Just remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to scented candles — and unscented is always best at the dinner table.
Hold a Family Movie Night
If you have old family movies hidden away in storage, consider pulling them out for a screening. If you’re planning to have a family movie night showing of classic holiday movies anyway, consider playing a few old family videos before the main event. Pop some popcorn, turn down the lights and snuggle in to share memories and make some new ones.
Savor Afternoon Teatime
Sitting down with a friend to share a pot of tea and a tray of treats is a lovely way to slow down during what can be a stressful time of year. Your tea can be as fancy, or as unfussy, as you want it to be. For a simple tea break, set out an assortment of store-bought cookies and brew up individual mugs of tea. If you want to make it more of an occasion, bake some scones and serve them warm with good jam and a pot of the tea of your choice.
Display Festively Wrapped Gifts
One benefit of getting your gift wrapping done early? Those pretty presents can double as holiday decor. Get your gift-wrapping supplies organized and make the experience a festive event in itself by playing holiday music and sipping a warm drink while you cut, tape and tie bows.
Add a Special Touch to the Dinner Table
Having something a little different at the table can create a magical mood, even if it’s for a simple family dinner. Place a sprig of greenery on each plate, use a wood slice as a charger or set out new cloth napkins.
Savor a Simmered Dish in the Kitchen
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy slow-cooked stews, braises and chili. Let your choice simmer all afternoon, then gather in the kitchen for a casual dinner. If you can’t stick around to keep an eye on the pot, pull out your slow cooker or multicooker and let it do the work for you.
Exchange and Display Holiday Cards
In the digital age, giving or receiving an actual paper card in the mail is something to treasure. Put your cards on display by clipping them to a length of twine or pinning them to a bulletin board.
Deck the Halls With Greenery
Garlands of greenery can give banisters, mantels and dining tables a festive flair. For extra oomph, entwine your garland with a strand of twinkle lights.
Decorate Holiday Cookies
Whether you’re baking up enough to bring to a cookie exchange or you simply want to have a tray of your favorite kind, holiday cookie decorating is a tradition for many. If you’re hosting a group or if little ones will be involved, consider baking the cookies in advance so the group can get right to the fun part: decorating—and eating!
Force Some Bulbs
When the flowers have long faded from the garden and spring blooms are still months away, forcing bulbs can bring welcome color and cheer. Bulbs like hyacinths and paperwhites can be forced in winter by planting in glass jars or vases. Forced bulbs look lovely lining windowsills or atop shelves and counters. And if you have a few extras on hand, you can use them as host gifts.
Make Up a Cozy Bed
Getting into a toasty bed on a cold winter’s night is one of life’s little pleasures. Make your bed up to the task with flannel sheets and plenty of warm blankets. To keep that warm, fuzzy feeling when you get up in the morning, consider treating yourself to a new pair of fluffy slippers and a soft robe.
Soak in a Bath
Add a few drops of a relaxing essential oil, like lavender, to your tub for a soothing experience. Love to linger in the tub? Consider adding a tub caddy to hold your book and tea while you soak.
Boost Ambiance With Hurricane Lanterns
Fill big hurricane lanterns with chunky candles to light the path to your front door on the eve of a holiday party — or anytime you want extra ambiance. If you’re concerned about leaving flames unattended, look for flameless candles with a realistic flicker.
Cozy Up Your Porch With Blankets
A plush faux-fur throw on the porch can make this frosty spot look more welcoming. And if any party guests brave the great outdoors, they can use it to warm their laps.
Look at Holiday Lights in Your Neighbourhood
Checking out the holiday lights will increase your holiday cheer. If the weather is mild enough, bundle up and do your tour on foot. If it’s too frosty for walking, hop in the car. Either way, take along a thermos of hot cocoa or cider to keep you warm.
Sit by the Twinkle Lights
One of my favorite holiday tradition is simply sitting in the living room by the light of the Christmas tree with candles lit.