Celebrating doesn’t have to stop if you’re staying Home for the Holidays! In this series, we share the positives of celebrating virtually, tips on keeping your traditions alive, and creative decorating ideas to bring some holiday cheer home. After a challenging year, some of us may need a little extra help getting into the holiday spirit. Check out our tips to make your holiday season merry and bright with festive decorations, holiday gift exchanges, homemade crafts, and more.

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With a holiday season that is unlike any other, it’s reasonable to be feeling less than festive this year. Even though our gatherings may look a little different, it doesn’t mean the season can’t still be merry and bright! Getting into a festive mood may even help combat holiday stress or feelings of loneliness. Sounds good, right – but where to start? Here are some foolproof ways to kickstart the holiday spirit during this unusual season.

Hang up Your Tree and Decorations ASAP

hanging ornaments

Forget the rule that the tree must go up on a certain day––this year, the tree can go up as early as it pleases! Take down those boxes of ornaments and lights and spend a few hours de-stressing by decking the halls. Trust me, this will immediately start making your space feel more festive!

Try Out New Holiday Recipes

What better way to feel the mood of the holidays than by cooking the delights of the season? Cheer up your Sunday morning by baking some holiday cookies that you’ve always admired but never tried. Pop on a festive playlist while you’re at it for double holiday points!

Host a Virtual Christmas Party

One thing that’s come a little easier this year is connecting with others through video meetings. Try hosting a simple and informal video chat party for your friends and family. You can even add in a virtual background for some “fake” décor, or encourage an ugly Christmas sweater competition.

Set up a Gift Exchange with Friends

gift exchange

Who doesn’t love getting mail? If you can’t pass out gifts under the tree or around the office, set up a virtual or email exchange Secret Santa instead! Here’s an easy trick: Assign everyone a number, and then use a random number generator to assign pairs, and let the exchange begin! Set a low price point to ease pressure and give everyone extra time to mail theirs out.

Do Some Window Shopping

If your local shopping district gets all fussed up for the holidays, take a stroll past the storefronts to feel all that festive goodness. Bright lights, displays, and wreaths can make a Saturday afternoon walk instantly feel cheerier.

Craft Homemade Cards

homemade card to get into the holiday spirit

Skip the store-bought packs and bring out the glue sticks and craft paper! Not only will crafting homemade holiday cards add a personal touch, but it can be a relaxing, fun activity to do with the family. Throw on a holiday movie in the background, and there’s no way you won’t feel merry!

Give Back

One sure-fire way to promote a feeling of cheer is to give back to your community. Find a local canned food drive or send a holiday gift from Harry & David’s Season of Sharing collection. In a year that’s been tough for many of us, giving back can fill you with a sense of peace to help others who may also need some holiday joy.

The holidays at home don’t have to lack holiday spirit! With a little creativity and a focus on staying connected with family and friends, you can keep up your favorite traditions and maybe even start new ones. Happy holidays!

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Rachel is a freelance writer and teacher. She writes personal essays on wellness, technology, beauty, family, and self-care. Her writing has been published in Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, The Inquistr, The Tech Viral, Sinkhole, and others.

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