Having lived away from my family for almost four years now, I have to make the extra effort to get in the holiday spirit. I can’t just go over to my mom’s house for a Christmas tree and cookies — I have to bring all the holiday spirit myself. I thought it’d be something I’d always do — decorate for the holidays — but the past few years I’ve gotten pretty lazy about it. All I’ve done for the past few years is hang white lights in our apartment so I really needed to make the effort to be a little more festive this year. Luckily, all the ladies in my studio were searching for the same festive feeling I was.
10 Things That Get Me The Holiday Mood
1. Wearing plaid. Especially plaid with holiday colors. I know it seems odd, but I’m serious. Each fall I wait to pull out my red plaid until it’s close to the holiday season (similar plaid shirt to the one I’m wearing, watch, bracelet).
2. Drinking coffee, tea, and hot chocolate in the afternoon & evening. I already drink coffee or tea in the mornings, but because it’s cold during the holidays (where I live) a hot beverage in the afternoon is the perfect pick-me-up to counter the cold temps and the fact that it gets pitch black at 5pm. Thanks to Nespresso, we now have the new VertuoLine Nespresso machine in the studio to keep us warm and caffeinated. I cannot tell you how excited I am about not having to leave our studio to get a cup of coffee in the afternoon! Also, there’s always holiday-flavored creamers out around Christmas. I love a hint of gingerbread flavor in my coffee!
3. Put up a tree! I had a 7′ white pre lit tree but ended up selling it after carting it from apartment to apartment but never putting it up because it just took up too much room. Even though I didn’t put up a tree this year in my apartment, Carlene just happened to find a 1960s Aluminum Evergleam tree in her attic (I know!) so she brought it into the studio so we could all enjoy it!
4. Hide the Christmas Pickle. If you don’t know what the Christmas pickle is the history is either German or American (I find contradictory information) and each family probably uses a different tradition with the pickle. It’s usually hidden on Christmas Eve, and the first child to find it on Christmas morning gets an extra present, or whomever finds it has good fortune for the following year. It’s sort of up to your family what tradition you want to do with the pickle. Do you do the Christmas pickle? What tradition do you do with it?
5. Watch holiday movies. My favorite holiday movies are Elf, Love Actually, White Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (plus I love the cartoon version — the colors are amazing), The Holiday, The Family Stone, Four Christmases, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s A Wonderful Life, While You Were Sleeping, All I Want For Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. What are yours?
6. Make holiday cookies. Nothing like frosting a ton of cookies and handing them out to family and friends to put smiles on faces and get you in the holiday mood. Calories don’t count in December, right!?
7. Go ice skating. Ice skating is one of my favorite things to do in the winter. I’m actually going this week. I have my own skates that I’ve had since I was a kid (still fit!). Lucky for me, they put up a rink on the Georgetown waterfront just a few blocks from my studio!
8. Wrap gifts while listening to holiday music. I like to wait until I have all of my gifts and wrap them all at once so I can set the mood with music and usually a hot beverage and spend the evening wrapping gifts.
9. Light a holiday-smelling candle. I love the balsam & cedar scent from Illume. Their candles fill up the entire room!
10. Send holiday cards! Having worked for Hallmark for five years, I was a huge card sender. I’ve kept up sending holiday cards ever since I worked there, but this might be the first year I don’t send as many as I normally do. Just cutting back a little this year, but I’m sure I’ll make up for it next year!
Photos by Abby Jiu
Nespresso machine was provided by Nespresso. All opinions are my own.