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Alternative Ways to Spend the Holidays

Alternative Ways to Spend the Holidays

Inventive ways to make the most of the season

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This holiday season might be unlike any other. A time usually spent mingling with family, eating elaborate dinners and jotting down the best moments of the year will now be spent with the people in your quarantine bubble, counting down the days until 2020 is a distant memory. 

If you're skipping out on the holiday celebration this year, here are alternative ways to make the most of the holiday season without a Christmas tree or stocking in sight.

Read a new book

Read a new book

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In many ways, reading a book can be compared to taking a lengthy trip to a new, fantastical world. Whether you're a fan of page-turning horror novels or you need a romantic break from the chaos of the world, reading a new book can zap you away from your couch into a new universe.

Bake a challenging dessert

Bake a challenging dessert

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If you've graduated from the early pandemic bread baking days and you're ready for something new, try baking an intricate dessert recipe. Embrace the holiday spirit with a three-story gingerbread house for one, or make the little ones mini sous chefs for the night.

Have a spa day

Have a spa day

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Splurging on a trip to a relaxing spa resort is a venture best saved for future days. But a warm bubble bath and a DIY avocado face mask with cucumbers can be just as good — if not better than — the real thing. Bring the spa home and turn the holiday into a spa-li-day.

Rest

Rest

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Increased anxiety, emotional overload, memory loss and lack of motivation are all symptoms of not getting enough sleep. Add holiday stress and a global pandemic on top of everyday stressors, and the side effects of not sleeping can be detrimental. Prioritize resting. Give yourself the time and space to block out the world and drift to your dream place. And if you're having trouble sleeping, try these tips to make your bedroom better for sleep.

Redecorate

Redecorate

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If you're not sleeping well or you're tired of your home layout, it might be time to redecorate your home. If your space makes you sad or anxious, try the feng shui method. Techniques like adding a new layer of paint or hanging mirrors on the wall can also make your space look bigger and feel new. Redecorating is an all-day activity that can take your mind off the holidays or get you started for something new in the new year.

Shop online

Shop online

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The holiday season is notorious for cheap deals. Set a budget and treat yourself to a gift or two. Purchase a new outfit you're dying to have in your closet or sign up for an online class to fill your time.

Recreate a restaurant dish

Recreate a restaurant dish

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Dining out at your favorite eatery is out of the picture for the time being, but you can still recreate your favorite dishes in your kitchen to make dinner at home feel like a restaurant. Set up your favorite festive playlist and recreate a daring pasta dish or steal one of these recipes from your favorite fast food joint.

Become a cocktail connoisseur

Become a cocktail connoisseur

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A trip to your favorite cocktail bar isn't an option this year either, but you can still recreate the vibe at home. Become the mixologist of your dreams and whip up holiday cocktails you've always wanted to try.

Reorganize your closet

Reorganize your closet

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Remember that shirt you used to love wearing at the beginning of the year or that jacket that was warm and soft? Decluttering your closet might not sound like the most exciting event, but it'll keep you busy and unite you with long lost loves — like your favorite jeans — stuffed in the back waiting to be found. And even if your current wardrobe only consists of sweatpants and T-shirts, it'll be nice to look in your closet and see one part of your life completely organized.

Donate

Donate

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If reducing your carbon footprint is on your list of New Year's resolutions, donating any items you found during your closet scavenger hunt is a great way to achieve that goal. Donating clothes is one way to be sustainable in your everyday life, and the items you no longer want might put a smile on someone else's face.

Have a self-care day

Have a self-care day

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After the year we've had, everyone needs a little "me time." Self-care days are great because they're all about prioritizing activities that make you feel your best. If long walks make you feel good, take a walk. If being in a creative space breathes new life into your day, surround yourself with the music you love, and create all day long.

Have a karaoke session

Have a karaoke session

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A karaoke session is a great way to have a silly, fun time with friends, a partner or your children. Free platforms like YouTube offer instrumental sing-alongs. So grab a mic (or a hairbrush that you can pretend is a mic) and sing your heart out to your favorite songs.

Plan a slumber party

Plan a slumber party

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A slumber party is another nostalgic activity primed for a comeback. If you're stuck indoors with your partner or your entire family plus kiddos, have everyone wear matching pajamas, pop some popcorn and tell a few stories. You can even make a fort on your living room floor with blankets and pillows.

Take a virtual tour

Take a virtual tour

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You can still tour famous locations from the comfort of your couch. There are plenty of free online virtual tours of landmarks and museums. And if you're a fan of wildlife, there are virtual tours of national parks and zoos available, too.

Start an indoor garden

Start an indoor garden

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Just because it might be cold where you live doesn't mean you have to wait until the spring or summer to be green. Start an indoor garden. Having a plant can help reduce stress and make you feel calmer. Why not bring that energy into your home before the start of the new year?

Work on arts and crafts

Work on arts and crafts

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Investing your time in painting, drawing, coloring or whatever your craft of choice might be can be both fun and relaxing during a stressful time of year. And who knows, you might even be able to turn your crafty hobby into a new business

Journal

Journal

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Whether you're feeling down, happy or you need to clear your mind, journaling is a relaxing way to purge any troubling thoughts and ease your mind. Journal how you feel about holidays, or write a long entry about the year and the moments that made you feel proud and accomplished.

Write letters

Write letters

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If there's one skill that we all learned during this pandemic, it's creative ways to stay in touch with friends and family. Flex that skill and write letters to your loved ones. You can choose to ask them about their year and the plans they might have lined up for the new year, or update them on your life. It'll be a fun treat for everyone to open the mailbox and see a new message.

Have a virtual game night

Have a virtual game night

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If you want to spruce up holiday date night with your beau or you need a way to make your family Zoom call bearable, try having a virtual game night. Party games like Taboo, Pictionary and Scattergories are fun options, or you can keep things simple with charades.

Binge a new television show

Binge a new television show

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If you never give yourself time to watch your favorite shows because you feel guilty about wasting the day away, the holidays are the perfect time to throw that guilt out the window. Watch Christmas specials or get caught up on the top trending shows of the year to see what the hype is about.

Volunteer

Volunteer

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Find a way to give back to your community or those less fortunate. This may be as simple as placing a grocery order and delivering it to a local food bank, or it may be sharing a special talent like knitting or quilting for an organization that donates goods to those in need. Or if you happen to be a wordsmith, read resumes for people out of work due to the pandemic. Think outside the box about what you have to offer and besides helping someone in need, you will feel good about the way you spent your day.

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