Want to win the holidays this year? Don’t we all! Maybe you’re an introvert with the goal to take as much time to yourself (alone and loving it!) as the holiday calendar will allow. Perhaps you want to manage family dynamics by, say, keeping that drunk uncle from talking politics. Or maybe you simply plan to have a good time – all the time – with as many friends and family as possible.
Whatever your hopes, we’ve got just the ticket to make your holiday dreams a reality. Take a peek at our tips below to hack your holiday break.
If you want to… try something new
Winter is the perfect time to develop a new hobby or learn a new skill. Depending where you live, it can be too darn cold to motivate yourself to go outside much anyway, so why not put all that time indoors to good use? Otherwise, you’re just going to spend it binge-watching Netflix. Don’t deny it. (Maaaybe you’ll devote an afternoon to going through your closet after the new season of Marie Kondo’s show drops, but other than that…)
So why not use that time lazing around to explore a new pastime? Gather the gang together and try an escape room puzzle in a box like Deadbolt Mystery Society, or even branch out into more sustained storytelling games like D&D. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! There’s a reason that tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons are seeing a revival, and it’s not Stranger Things.) Pro tip? Get your own real-life avatars with Silverbeam Creations to track what’s happening in your campaign.
Not the tabletop type? Try your hand at some arts and crafts! Oui Macrame makes it easy to learn the fun fibercraft of macrame, while the fashionista might fancy jewelrymaking. (My recommendation? DIY some beaded beauties with BohemStyle.) Or go the classic route and experiment with different kinds of art, like charcoal drawing with Charcoal Expressions.
If you want to… take care of yourself
Winter is known as the harshest season for a reason, y’all. Whether you adhere to a 10-step Korean skincare routine or a 3-step French routine, your normal regimen isn’t going to cut it the next few months. (Forget your face for a sec -- have you looked at your freezing knuckles lately?) If you want to ensure your skin isn’t run ragged by the cold, consider stepping up your skincare game. Setting up a monthly delivery of sheet masks from FaceTory or a deep dive into more luxe skincare products from Laurel & Reed could help.
And once you take care of your skin, there’s your insides to contend with. Less sunlight + unfriendly temps = a mood that can get as dark as the 5 PM sunset. (After all, it’s not like summer is known for seasonal affective disorder.) Thankfully, though, you can combat the winter blues with a commitment to self-care.
Here are some ways to take care of yourself when you’ve got…
- 5 minutes: Drink water, wash your face, eat a snack, close your eyes and meditate, put on a killer song and dance around
- 15 minutes: Apply a face mask, journal, draw, do some stretches
- 30 minutes to an hour: Power nap! Work out, watch your favorite show, cook your favorite meal
No matter how crunched your schedule is, there’s a way to get some breathing room (and great skin!) this season.
If you want to… host family this year
Let’s be honest. We might aspire to be a picture-perfect host for the holidays, whether for a single evening (Christmas Eve party, anyone?) or a whole week, but that can be a far cry from reality. The holidays are hectic for everyone, and houseguests don’t make it any easier! Hosting can be a lot to handle on top of your usual responsibilities and other holiday prep (shopping for gifts, wrapping, making the annual Chex mix…). And that doubles the longer your family stays, or the more people that come by your home.
The solution? Prepare in advance so you’re not scrambling on Christmas Eve eve – and impress your guests –with a subscription box like 1pt Cocktail Infusions, which allows you to create your own flavored liquors in only a few hours, or expert-picked wine from He Wines She Dines. If you’re more stressed about what to do once the family arrives, not so much being prepared beforehand, think strategically. One way to keep your in-laws from hovering over your shoulder – and keep the kids away from screens – is to give the early holiday gift of quality time. Craft kits like We Craft Box Senior help them bond with the grandchildren while you can get back to wrapping, cooking, or decorating.
If you want to… well… hide from family
Goodness knows you love ‘em! But if you’re being totally honest? Sometimes your family can be a lot. Depending on your family dynamic and where you fall on the extravert-introvert scale, forced family time can be a bit much even for just an afternoon. So what’s a person to do?
The ideal situation: create a hiding place somewhere in the house that’s just for you, like Lane’s closet on Gilmore Girls or the wellness room in your office building. If you can’t get away, though, never fear – there’s always the trick of reading a book your family would find dull. Let them catch you publicly reading something like War & Peace (while you hide your real book behind the dust jacket, if Tolstoy isn’t your thing) and they’ll likely leave you alone. You know your family best, so you’ll know the right book pick when you find it. (Monthly book clubs like Bookship and The Book Drop can help.)
What’s that? Your relatives are big readers, and that tactic won’t secure “me” time? If you’ve got the sort of family that wants to store up quality time all day long, you’ve got two options left. A: you weird them out enough that they leave you alone (pro tip: carrying around a jawbone from Skulls Unlimited and speaking to it in Shakespearean dialogue might help). B: if you can’t get quiet time during their visit and they’re not easily swayed, create your own moments of Zen with spiritual and wellness tools like aromatherapy roll-ons, crystals small enough to fit in your pocket (the Crystal Barista can help), and mindfulness techniques. Godspeed.
If you want to… keep the kids occupied
Instead of plunking the kiddos in front of a screen, which will probably bite you in the butt – don’t believe us? There’s a stuffed animal of Baby Shark now, and I just bought it for my nephew this Christmas – here are screen-free activities to keep the kids from whining they’re bored during the holiday break.
If they’re the outdoor type: snowmen are always a good fallback, but you might try something new this season. Rent some snowshoes and take the kids on a hike through the woods (no, snowshoeing isn’t relegated only to the past) to spot animal tracks in the snow. Or bring STEM into their snow days by building an igloo that stays architecturally strong!
If your favorite kiddos are more into the indoors, keep them busy and their creativity buzzing with new craft activities from a kid-approved kit from Craft + Boogie. If they’re not so project-oriented, though, the gift of Kyoki's Slime – thankfully premade, so there’s no worry of a borax-and-Elmer’s mess all over your kitchen – could be the best thing you could give yourself for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.