Never has that saying been more literal than in 2020.  For many years, getting out my holiday decorations has been a chore on my entertaining to-do list.  This year I am decking the halls for myself and not saving any traditions just for others to enjoy.

No Pressure

There are some advantages to having the year off.  In the past, I did most of my hosting in December, with 3 or 4 events.  The clock started ticking on Thanksgiving weekend to get those decorations out and up.  Although my tree and outdoor lights are ready, I am simplifying and there is no deadline to finish.  I took the time to get nostalgic and remember the origin of each ornament, whether a gift from a friend or family member or a memento of a trip.  The leisurely pace gave my spirits a lift.  Here are some ideas to make this holiday season more enjoyable.

Get Cozy

This year, you may be able to enjoy evenings at home without as much holiday rush.  Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, there are pillows and throws available to add a festive touch.  Plaids, velvets and faux fur make things comfy and are available in the appropriate holiday colors.  (See the throw I use above.  It was a very appreciated gift!)  Snuggle up with the one you love, even a fur baby, and enjoy a relaxing December for a change. If you have one, a fire in the fireplace is always a nice addition and candles will also create lovely evening ambiance.  Online shopping by firelight makes it more fun.

The Scents of the Season

Speaking of candles, be sure to infuse your home with great fragrance.  What says holidays to you?  How about “Apple and Cinnamon”, “Hot Buttered Rum” or any of the evergreens?  Most scents have oil diffusers available and they provide fragrance 24/7.  (My favorites are Frasier Fir by Thyme and Winter Forest by Williams Sonoma Home.)  Real pinecones and evergreens add a wonderful aroma.  If you can’t gather in your yard, tree lots always have cut branches you can use to line your mantel or bookshelves and bring that outdoor seasonal scent inside.  Even if you aren’t usually the cook or baker, this year you may have time to experiment and fill your home with wonderful smells from the oven.  Or, just simmer a pot of apple cider with mulling spices.

Bring out the Good Stuff

Just because you aren’t having your usual crowd, this is not the year to have holiday meals on tray tables.  Plan your menu for what is important to you to make your holiday special.  Set a beautiful table with china, crystal, more candles and a pretty floral arrangement.  Treat yourself as your best guest and get dressed up.  (No sweats or slippers!)  Make a special dinner no matter for how many.

Keep in Touch

Whether or not you are able to see friends and family in person, reach out to let people know you are thinking of them.  If you haven’t been sending out cards, this might be the year to take the time to mail a personal message.  You can safely connect through social media and Google “holiday games” to make Zoom gatherings more fun.

Before you know it, 2020 will be a distant memory and we will be back to our usual hectic holiday season.  Enjoy this down time.  I’m still proposing to keep lighting outdoor lights until you get vaccinated!  How about it?