Home for the Holidays? 30 Ideas for Keeping it Festive

Last Update: September 27, 2022

Normally, the holiday season would be in full swing by now… but this year hasn’t exactly been normal. Perhaps the last weeks of 2020 find you scaling down your festive feast for two, swapping the annual blowout bash for a low-key gathering in your living room, or raising a toast via Zoom. This year really brings new meaning to the idea of “home for the holidays.”

Whatever this season looks like for you, we’re here to help guide you through it with our favorite cozy recipes, trusted wellness advice, and kid-friendly fun. We hope these ideas help you celebrate the small stuff in spite of the circumstances—because getting into the holiday spirit of joy and gratitude might be more important this year than ever. Pour a mug of hot cocoa, cue up the holiday tunes, and bring on the warm-and-fuzzies.

One more thing: Remember that holiday help is always at your fingertips thanks to Bailey, our Thrive Market holiday shopping expert. Text her at (855) 419-9390 for everything from advice on better-for-you ingredient swaps to tips on soothing seasonal stress.

Bake Something Delicious

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

Anyone else get a once-a-year craving for gingerbread? Get your fix with this elegant spiced chocolate cake that happens to be gluten-free. For an extra flourish, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

The perfect chocolate chip cookie is an art. Perfect yours with another gluten-free recipe, made extra-indulgent with the addition of fragrant, caramelly brown butter.

It wouldn’t be Christmastime without gingerbread people. Bake a big batch, then let the kiddos decorate them with either homemade or store-bought icing.

In this recipe, traditional peanut butter cookies get the keto-friendly treatment thanks to almond flour and natural P.B. Even non-keto eaters will appreciate their rich flavor and soft, chewy texture.

Take Time to Recharge

Candle Latte

Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home this season, take a few simple steps to turn your personal space into a peaceful haven that appeals to all your senses.

Even if you think you’ve heard it all at this point, bookmark these stress-coping tips from Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kate Cummins. They’re a helpful reminder that little habits can go a long way to boost your mood and help you find balance.

Self care is one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday. Try  a tension-relieving facial, then follow it up with a little bit of foot reflexology for true head-to-toe wellness.

Finally, give your eyes a rest from all that screen time with a soothing, yoga-inspired eye pillow made from household items. Now all you need to do is get comfortable, lay it across your eyes, and chill out to the sounds of a relaxing playlist or your favorite podcast.

Bring The Party Home

Virtual Hangout

So the restaurant feasts and dinner parties aren’t happening this year. That’s ok—you can make even your regular weeknight dinners feel fancy with the addition of party-worthy apps like spiced nuts or a vegan cheese log.

One major perk of holding a virtual holiday gathering with our trusty hosting tips? The post-party clean-up is much easier.

Travel may be off limits at the moment, but with these clever destination-themed recipes and activities, you can at least pretend you’re on a family vacation.

Get Crafty and Creative

Herb Wreath

Make your home smell like the holidays—warm, spicy, sweet, and citrusy—with these easy craft projects. The clove oranges in particular are surprisingly soothing to make; add some holiday music and you’ve got yourself a pleasant afternoon.

For a DIY that both smells and looks lovely, deck the halls with this wreath made from fragrant fresh herbs, like rosemary, sage, and lavender.

Before you settle in for a nice long soak, try your hand at this clean beauty DIY: create an all-natural bath bomb using skin-loving seaweed and essential oils.

These impressive DIY chocolate-dipped spoons will up your hot cocoa game. Make a batch before your next holiday movie marathon.

Keep the Kids Occupied

Kid Friendly Muffins

Parents, rejoice: this indoor scavenger hunt can fill an entire afternoon, especially if you encourage your little ones to draw a picture of each item they find.

From muffins to pasta, these easy recipes are fun for kids to make and eat. We’ve also got suggestions for the most kid-friendly jobs in the kitchen, because it’s never too early to teach them how to cook healthy meals.

Kids and parents alike will be excited to learn that you probably have all the ingredients you need to make play-dough in your pantry right now.

Finally, Pour Yourself a Drink

Sparkling Wine Cocktails

Keep things feeling festive with one of these three sparkling sips. Two make use of seasonal citrus fruits, while one offers an immunity boost in the form of organic elderberry syrup.

You can sip this spicy turmeric wellness tonic on its own (and we recommend it), but to kick things up a bit, use it to mix one of these three simple yet sophisticated cocktails.

There’s no better way to warm up on a cold winter’s day than with a warm mug of something spiked. This mulled-wine-meets-hot-chocolate concoction definitely fits the bill.

Bonus: Spread Some Cheer with Limited-Edition Holiday Treats

From sweets to sips, these little tokens are great for gifting loved ones—or yourself:

  • Curl up by the fire with a warm mug of one of The Republic of Tea’s holiday herbal blends: Cinnamon Vanilla, Peppermint Bark, or Comfort And Joy
  • Trim your tree with a sweet wooly ornament handmade by artisans in Nepal using native materials
  • Trade the complicated baking projects for this handy shortcut: an all-in-one cookie-making kit made with wholesome ingredients
  • Treat yourself to better-for-you seasonal delights, like a fair-trade dark chocolate bar with candy cane bits or organic truffles that our members and employees alike go gaga for every year
  • Complement holiday feasts with clean wines from our seasonal curated bottle bundles, featuring red or white sips selected by our Master Sommelier

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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