So, full disclosure—while I don’t identify as Christian (my dad’s fam is totally secular and my mother’s is lapsed Catholic AF), I L O V E Christmas. The opportunity to decorate my home with even more white and gold? Sign me up! I have two pre-lit trees—one I inherited from my mom (it’s green with colored lights) and one skinny 6′ rose gold tree that I got at Target before the 2016 election (that year was dark, so I decorated very early). I didn’t decorate last year because our house was under construction, so this year I went ham. But this is just a dry-run for next year, which will be over the freakin’ top. I’m already depressed about January coming and having to take down all my glitz. As long as it’s down by Valentine’s Day, I’m fine, right?
That said, here are some holiday faves!
Best Ways to Give Back
Around the holidays I go beyond my usual small monthly donations! Here are some of my fave charities and ways to give!
Best Christmas Songs
My husband, the sweet angel of earth that he is, made me a curated playlist for Christmas called FIG for CHELS—Christmas Edition, because he is perfect. There are quite a number of songs on here I’d never heard before. “You’re a Gift” by The Both is my new favorite! And we can’t forget Holiday Soul Party!
I started compiling a Christmas album playlist for myself, but I got very, very lazy. Also, I work in a store that plays nonstop Christmas music (which I’m actually very here for) so I got my fill this year!
What’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine is “Father Christmas” by The Kinks!
- Gift a subscription! FabFitFun & Oui Fresh are my go-tos, but there’s also Birchbox, Ipsy, Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s (great for guys!), quip, graze, LOLA (because practical), Book of the Month Club, or Bark Box (for those weirdo dog people in your life!) I’d suggest streaming services, but tbh just give a friend your password if they don’t already have Netflix.
- Gift Cards to Amazon or Target—these will never not get used.
- What I call “The Cornucopia”—hone in on one interest and make a gift basket out of tiny items! If your friend is a writer, buy them fancy versions of everything they need—a journal, pens, notepads, sticky notes, stickers, washi tape, paper clips, you name it! Most people (not me, obviously), but most people won’t indulge themselves in that gold stapler or adorable jar of wooden pushpins because function > fashion. Useful gifts are always the best gifts, and tons of little gifts, imo, are better than one. I did one of these for my husband for our first Christmas together and those items are still floating around the house.
- A memory. This might sound dumb, but this is the perfect gift for the person who has everything. Example: I’m gifting my favorite professor a framed photo I took of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, because I first heard of it in his class and his support was the reason I got the opportunity to go there. I hope that, for years to come, he can glance over and think warmly about one of his favorite places.
- And finally, a free idea, since not everyone in the world spends money like a millionaire (guilty!)—a hand-written card or letter. Literally who writes letters anymore?! I’ve done this a couple of times for various events (sometimes accompanying a gift, sometimes not), and it always gets a great response. Not everyone needs external validation all the time (guilty!) but people love knowing how special they are to you!
Best Holiday Decorations
Best Christmas Movies
I am about to seriously out myself right now, but I’ve never seen Die Hard or Home Alone. I know. I suck. Truth be told, I’ve never actually even watched A Christmas Story from start to finish. I am not a movie girl (I blame the ADHD). I’m a TV addict—hit me with a Doctor Who or Downton Christmas special any day.
My personal favorite holiday films: It’s A Wonderful Life (true life: I was in a stage production of this when I was 16), the Mickey Mouse & Muppet versions of A Christmas Carol, the Jim Carrey Grinch, and of course, ELF, the best Christmas movie of all time.
Best Shows to Binge-Watch on Christmas Break
You probably only have a week off, so these are some shows you can absolutely finish before the new year! Snuggle up with your cats and watch these masterpieces!
Best Audiobooks for Your Drive Home
Becoming by Michelle Obama, Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle, This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps, Feminasty! by Erin Gibson, Shrill by Lindy West, So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta
Bonus Content: Chag Chanukah Sameach!
So, Hanukkah has been over for a minute, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t attempt to observe. I was too lazy to make actual latkes, but I did a run of potato soups as an homage to the culinary concept.
I didn’t buy a menorah because I kept thinking that cashiers would judge me for adding one to a cart full of sparkly Christmas garlands, but I have my eye on a few for next year—this one, this mod one, this gorgeous gold one, and this colorful one.
And good on SJ to give us a Hanukkah song that’s way better than Adam Sandler’s.
I hope anything on this list is helpful to your holiday season!
P.S. Michael’s Christmas stuff is all 50%-60% off right now, so get thee gone.
P.P.S Send me #thoughtsandprayers that it doesn’t snow anytime soon.