Living in a climate that only fluctuates 15 degrees year-round (San Francisco) definitely has its perks, but being from Colorado, sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas without cold weather and some snow. I find that it takes a little extra effort to get into the holiday spirit. I love joining in friends’ traditions, and creating new traditions, to gear up for the holidays.
Join in Friends' Traditions
My mom was big on making Christmas cookies – she would make 4 or 5 different kinds to give out as gifts. If your traditions revolve around food, invite friends over to eat/help cook. Have a cookie baking party (I’m eyeing this recipe, this recipe, and this recipe), a traditional Hanukkah dinner, a holiday brunch, etc.
For us transient millennials living in big cities, experiencing these traditions with friends is one of the best parts of December. If your family goes to the Nutcracker every year, round up a group of friends to go! The holidays are the busiest time of the year because everyone is connecting with friends and family, so while you’re at it, make the most of it!
Create Your Own Traditions
My family didn’t go to the ballet or symphony when I was growing up, but I love going during the holidays now – it’s a fun chance to dress up and get in the holiday spirit. My fiancé and I put up our first Christmas tree this year – we did it while drinking red wine and listening to John Legend’s Christmas album on the Sunday after Thanksgiving – a tradition I wouldn’t mind carrying forward!
I also love going to fancy hotels for a drink during the holidays – no one does a better job of decorating.
Jealous of your friend who always goes with their family to cut down their own Christmas tree?! Guess what – that can be your tradition now too! Want everyone in your family to wear matching PJs as you open presents (who am I to judge!)? Make it happen!
Holiday Activity Ideas
- Take a wreath-making class
- Go ice skating in your respective city’s touristy ice rink (e.g. Union Square in SF, Rockefeller Center in NYC, Frog Pond in Boston)
- See the Nutcracker
- Go to the symphony, opera...whatever holiday show catches your eye!
- Host a cookie-baking/decorating/eating party
- See John Legend's A Legendary Christmas tour (if it's not too late in your city!)
- Find the best neighborhood in your city for holiday lights and wander/drive around it
- Host a holiday dinner party and have everyone bring their family’s favorite holiday recipe
- Have a Trader Joe's holiday party where everyone has to bring their favorite food/wine from TJ's (this is a dream of mine that I've yet to make happen!)