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  • Brittany & Julia

5 Ways to Make the Most of the Holidays at Home

2020 will be a year we all remember - for many reasons. Everything seems different these days, including the holidays. With travel restrictions both from the military and some state imposed limitations, paired with the extra risk of COVID exposure that comes with traveling this time of year, a lot of us are finding ourselves celebrating at home and away from family this holiday season.


As a regular "non-traveler" at the holidays (we haven't traveled for Christmas since 2015, and have no plans to any time soon), we have been working to make the holidays at home as special as can be each and every year. Of course this year is different with even local things being shut down or have new regulations, but that doesn't mean this year can't be a great holiday season.


Here are my top 5 Ways to Make the Most of the Holidays at Home:


1. Give Clark Griswald a run for his money! If you normally travel during the holidays, you might not be big into Christmas lights because you spend a few weeks away during the month. This year is the perfect opportunity to spread some Christmas cheer for your family (and your neighbors) by putting up lights on your home. You could even make it a friendly competition in your neighborhood to see who has the best light displays this year! There is nothing I love more than pulling onto our street at night and seeing each house with their own unique holiday display as I wind down my day! Or if decorating isn't your thing, find some drive through lights - COVID friendly AND festive! Win-win!


2. Dust off some old traditions (or start a new one)! When I was a little girl (from about age 5 until I got married at 23), my mom and I would get all dressed up and go for holiday tea (or hot chocolate for me) at a fancy hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon. It was such a special time for my mom and I to have together each year and we would invite friends to come with us to share in it. Now I don't live anywhere near Portland, Oregon and I am not looking to find a holiday tea to attend, but I can find a way to create that at home with my children! Caitlin from @thekindredginger on instagram has a great idea of doing "Hot Cocoa Fridays" every Friday in December with her neighbors and has been able to adapt it to be covid friendly by doing it outside (one of the perks of living in southern California). If you feel comfortable, you could invite a couple friends over for holiday cocktail hour with some fancy drinks and small bites to eat from the comfort and safety of your own home!


3. Check out your local community events! With a lot of people home this year, some local areas are upping their game on holiday activities. Check out your local parks and recreation department, or MWR if you're on post, to see what free or low cost events are near you! For us, our local parks and rec office puts up thousands of Christmas lights along the river each year that people can go walk through for free each evening. Some weekends they have people playing Christmas carols and serving hot chocolate too! What a great, free, way to get out in the community with your family and make some special memories!


4. Try a new holiday recipe. If you normally travel during the holidays, you are probably not hosting holiday dinner - meaning you have little to no say in what is served. For some people that is preferred, just show up with a hostess gift and enjoy! But this year with everyone home, why not dust off that old cookbook and whip up a special holiday dinner or an old family recipe that you haven't tried yet? We typically cook homemade lasagna every Christmas Eve and make a sinfully delicious French Toast Bake for Christmas morning, but this year, take some time to branch out of the norm and enjoy something new!


5. Take a "Staycation"! A few years ago my in laws visited during Christmas but decided to stay in Nashville (about 45 minutes away) at a gorgeous resort which had been decked out of the holidays. Since we were close by we were able to drive down for the day to enjoy all the fun and festive holiday events and activities the resort was hosting and visit with our family. Ever since that year, we have made it an annual thing to go down for at least one day to enjoy the fun things the resort puts on each year. This year, in an attempt to stay further away from people, we planned to travel to a cabin for a few days of seclusion as a family and enjoy the winter weather and activities. Wherever you are (and whatever your covid comfort level) there is a way to have a holiday staycation. I check groupon for their last minute deals all the time to snag a fun outing on a discount.


We know this year's holiday season looks much different for most people than previous years, but that doesn't mean it can't still be fun and memorable! Let us know, what are you doing with your family this year to make it special?


JULIA