Cook a holiday meal. Holidays at home provide the perfect opportunity to bake and cook new or classic dishes. Make a big batch of holiday-themed cookies for a celebratory social event, or try making a new meal for you and your household. Invite friends or family members to join you in the kitchen to help or hang out.[
Plenty of recipes are available online, including many geared towards specific holidays. For instance, look up a recipe to bake a ham for a spring holiday or fry a turkey for a fall holiday.
Decorate for the holiday. A key way to ensure you will enjoy the holidays at home is by decorating for the occasion. The amount of effort you put in is up to you; go all out and fill every room with holiday decor, or simply hang some thematic decor in the living room. Whatever the approach you decide to take, sprucing up your place will make your home feel livelier and more celebratory.[
Whether decorating for Christmas, Passover, or any other holiday, there are plenty of decorating ideas you can find online.
Watch holiday movies. There’s nothing quite like a holiday movie to get you in the holiday spirit. If you’re home for the winter holidays, watch a movie that features the sort of celebrations you practice. Similarly, watch a horror movie to celebrate a holiday like Halloween, or a documentary on a historical figure to honor a holiday in their name.
Often, streaming services will have categories of movies dedicated to celebrating a certain holiday.
You can also look online for lists of popular movies that go with whatever holiday you’re celebrating.
Host folks at your home. Especially if you find yourself feeling lonely at home over the holidays, throw a holiday celebration of your own. Don’t feel as though it has to be an extravagant endeavor – simply having a few people over can be enjoyable and celebratory.[
Potlucks are especially easy, as attendees can contribute to the meal. Simply let guests know what you’ll be making ahead of time so they don’t bring the same thing.
It can also be fun to plan an activity if you’re having people over. For instance, plan on playing games and let everyone know ahead of time so they can bring their favorites.
If you don’t have family around, you can reach out and connect with others who are in a similar situation. Try using a site like MeetUp to find others who do not want to celebrate the holidays alone.
Look for local activities. If it is a holiday that you do not personally celebrate, you might want to go out for the day. There may be fewer crowds outside on that day, and you may enjoy doing something outside of the house.
For example, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you might go out for dinner and then catch a movie at the movie theater.
Start a holiday tradition. Traditions can be an enjoyable part of getting together with the same folks for certain holidays every year. Specific tradition vary, of course. Go with something traditional, like reading the same short holiday book together, or something inspired by the spirit of the holiday.
For instance, during the winter holidays, you and your family members could all spend an afternoon volunteering together. Have a different family member choose the organization to volunteer with every year.
Gather materials for a holiday-themed activity. Whether you’re hosting or visiting home for the holidays, a planned holiday activity is something everyone can enjoy. For instance, have everyone bring over a pumpkin or other gourd to carve at a fall holiday party. Similarly, you can gather pine bows and pine cones so everyone can make a wreath for the winter holidays.
Make a point to connect with a few particular people. You’re never going to please everyone. More to the point, you likely won’t even be able to spend quality time with everyone when you’re home for the holidays. Decide beforehand who you want to catch up with this time around and initiate conversations or activities with them during your time together.
Try to let go of fixed expectations. This is much easier said than done, but it’s an important part of maintaining familial relationships. The fact of the matter is: If you have specific expectations about other people’s behaviors, it’s unlikely they’re going to fit these expectations perfectly. In turn, this may frustrate or otherwise upset you.
Instead of having fixed expectations about people’s behavior or specific things you’d like to have happen, try to approach the holiday together with a mindset that emphasizes getting along.
When you feel yourself become frustrated with a family member’s behavior, remind yourself that holiday gatherings are for nurturing connections, and that issues that need to be addressed are best addressed in other contexts. Avoid starting arguments. Let go of your expectations about the holiday, and be open to whatever happens at the gathering.
Take the opportunity to practice open-mindedness. It’s extremely common for disagreements or differences in perspective to arise when all of your family is home together. If a serious issue needs to be addressed, do so, but it may otherwise be best to let small differences in opinion pass when everyone is home together for the holidays.
Let friends know you’re around. If you’re staying home for the holidays, it certainly doesn’t mean you have to spend them alone. In fact, friends who are staying in your area will probably be glad to see you over the holidays. Give them a phone call or reach out through another method of correspondence beforehand.
Say something like, “Hey! I just wanted to mention that I’m not traveling for the upcoming holiday, so I’ll be around. If anything fun is going on or you’d like to get together, let me know.”
Plan an activity and invite others. Be proactive and plan a social activity. You can model it around whichever holiday people may be celebrating, or simply take advantage of the free time to do something you and your friends enjoy. The specifics are up to you – go on a hike, hit an art museum, or invite friends to play basketball.
Be sure to invite folks ahead of time so they can plan to attend.
If you just moved to an area or if you don’t know many people near you, you could use the internet to organize a meeting.
Reach out to far-away loved ones. Even though you may not be able to see loved ones if you’re home for a holiday, you can still share the holiday spirit with them by getting in touch. Especially if you know a family gathering is happening elsewhere, give them a call during the festivities and have everyone pass the phone around.[
If letters are more your speed, sitting down to write loved ones is another great way to share the holiday spirit.