If you’re looking at your calendar and feeling like the next few weeks are going to be absolutely jam-packed, you’re not alone.
Between travel, social obligations, and work stuff you need to finish before the end of the year, the idea of completing everything on your to-do list and still getting in the holiday spirit may seem impossible. But we’re here to tell you there are plenty of ways to embrace all this season has to offer without majorly cutting into your schedule—we promise! Below are eight simple ways to tap into the holiday spirit, even if you feel like you’re booked solid until 2023.
1. Stroll around the neighborhood with a festive beverage in hand.
It’s always fun to take a walk around the neighborhood and admire all the holiday lights on display (and snoop on Christmas trees in windows). Whip up your favorite hot chocolate or simply stop by Starbucks for a Peppermint Mocha, then take a little stroll and soak up the season. Bonus: This is a great way to get some steps in at the end of a busy work day, too!
2. Volunteer for a good cause.
Doing things for others will never fail to boost your spirits. Even if you can’t dedicate an entire day, there are plenty of volunteer slots that span just a couple of hours. If you can spare some time after work to hand out hot meals in your community or wrap gifts for kids in need, you’ll be making a difference. And you may just make a friend in the process—volunteer groups are an excellent way to expand your social circle!
3. Host a weeknight holiday movie night with friends.
Maybe you don’t have time for a full-on weekend movie marathon, but that’s OK! Invite a few friends over on a weeknight to catch the latest cheesy holiday film that’s streaming or revisit a classic, like Home Alone or The Holiday. To keep things easy, ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday snack to share with the group. Pick up a few bottles of red wine, and you’re good to go!
4. Arrange a holiday bouquet.
No plans to get a Christmas tree this year? Between holiday travel and a lack of space in your apartment, you might not wish to fully deck the halls. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your space feel festive. Head to Trader Joe’s and scoop up some seasonal florals that speak to you, then go home, blast some holiday tunes, and go to town making your own wintry arrangement.
5. Get baking.
If spending time in the kitchen helps you decompress, be sure to take some time to whip up a yummy holiday treat. Pop on some cheerful music or a holiday movie in the background to make it extra festive. Then drop off cookies for your neighbors or building management to brighten their day.
6. Book dinner at a festive restaurant.
Back in October, you may have had every intention of hosting a holiday party this season… but as December creeps closer, you’re realizing that your weekends are booked. Why not plan a mid-week night out at a festive restaurant with some of your favorite people? Take to Instagram to find a spot that’s fully decked out for the season, then snag that res and text the group chat!
7. Grab a seasonal cocktail.
Even if you have just a couple of free hours on a Sunday afternoon, making a drinks date with a friend or partner is an easy way to get into the holiday spirit. Scope out bars near you that offer seasonal cocktails, then head over and try one as a little reward for putting up the Christmas tree or packing for your winter break getaway! Or mix up your own concoction to enjoy your festive sips at home.
8. Read a holiday-themed book.
There are so many fun rom-com-type books that take place during the holidays. Pick up a few festive favorites like One Day in December, We Met in December, or In a Holidaze to get started. These page-turners all celebrate the magic of the season and will make you feel like you’re living out your own Hallmark movie fantasy.