The Ultimate Christmas Staycay

Your December should be whatever you want it to be; but in years past, I have frequently found myself sitting around doing nothing, wishing that I made more of my holidays, did more holiday-y things, spent more time with loved ones, and filled myself with more Christmas Cheer!

Whether you’re dashing off to far flung places, sailing in to the sunset, spending time with family, or rocking out at home, there’s no question that the holidays are among us.

However, there’s a good chance that you don’t have plans until we get a little closer to Christmas, and the rest of December might seem to be overwhelming or gloomy, check out my last post on how to Staycay Away the December Blues, but that’s just the first five suggestions! This time, I’m sharing my most Christmas-y suggestions to bring all of the Christmas Cheer to your home. Turn up your holiday festivities with these Xmas Staycay ideas!

Staycay Activities to do in Your Home

Bake & Decorate Christmas Cookies. Keep in mind, while you do not typically need specialty equipment to bake cookies, the process can be made extremely easier and your cookies will taste better if you have a flour sifter, a stand mixer, & a bench scraper. No matter how you choose to mix, you’ll definitely need cookie sheets, cookie cutters, and piping bags+tips for decorating.

Check out my first #SometimesIBake YouTube video!
The cookies turned out particularly great this year! I couldn’t make brown icing, so I gave the reindeer fur with chocolate sprinkles! They were my favorite looking cookies this year!

Decorate your house & Build (or add to) an Advent Calendar. Our tree is decorated with ornaments from our travels and each year we love adding new memories. There were so many things we wanted to do in Atlanta this year for the holidays, and also so much family that we wanted to visit, so we used this Advent Calendar to help ourselves destress and create a schedule for the holiday.

Binge out on some Christmas Movies. Check out All of the Christmas Movies on Disney+ Right Now! Coming soon: the Ultimate Christmas Movie Binge day!

Curl up with a Blanket and a Good Book.

With my UnHide Blanket from my FabFitFun box, and a good book, I had the perfect night!

Enjoy Wrapping Presents. Some people find it super stressful (trust me, I know them, and that’s okay!), but my favorite Christmas tradition is wrapping presents! I love the structure, the routine, and getting to wrap up surprises for people! It’s almost as good as watching them open gifts!

Everything from picking out gifts to picking the right paper to tying the final ribbon…. I love it all!

Looking for gift ideas? Check out my Gift Guide for Globetrotting Girls!

Winter Themed Puzzles. Three years ago, I bought this pack of 4 Thomas Kinkade Winter Wonderland puzzles and left it in the basement of Kyle’s parents’ house. Every year, we pull out another one and spend the week working on it throughout the week. It’s a perfect activity to do while watching a Christmas movie, if you wake up before the rest of the family, or when it’s too chilly to go outside! These are also great to do with kids!

We got about halfway through a 500-piece puzzle before the kids bailed out

Throw A Holiday Party. We loved celebrating with our friends the year at Glitzmas, Kyle’s White Elephant Party with his co-workers, baking cookies, dinner paries, and we’re still looking forward to a sweater party at the end of the year! Check out 8 Types of Holiday Parties to Throw and get inspired to host your own!

We loved Glitzmas! If you don’t know what that is- you’ll have to check out the blog post, linked above!

Get Dressed Up. Sticking around the house can be very blah- sometimes I wonder why we ever put on more than pajamas over for the week between Christmas and New Year’s! So to make my holidays more magical, I’m determined to have my Christmas outfits be DisneyBounds or Harry Potter inspired! I’m working on creating a few of my own, but you should check out ColorMeMagic by ColorMeCourtney on Instagram or on her Blog for some great holiday outfits!

My niece was taking pictures of my ElsaBound!

Turn Your Staycay into a Productive One. You should make your December whatever you want it to be, but, it can be super productive! I’ve put together 10 Ways to Make this the Most Productive Time of the Year.

Staycay with these Christmas-y Activities Around Town!

I’ve put together a list of all of the Staycay Activities to do Around Atlanta, I’ll be publishing it soon and will link it here when I do! In the meantime, you can view/follow #StaycayAtlanta on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to!

Volunteer. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t done as much volunteering as I should, and that will be one of my New Year’s Resolutions: to volunteer at least 20 hours in 2020. I know that’s not a lot, but starting small is key! Something to keep in mind: this is the most popular time of year to volunteer, so while you definitely should if this is when you have time, remember that you can do good all year long. We’re going to try to get involved with a Habitat for Humanity build next year, and if you’re in the Atlanta Area, you can visit HandsOnAtlanta.org to find a volunteer opportunity that meets your schedule.

Find an Ice Skating Rink. After spending the afternoon on the rink with my nieces, I’m reminded of how much I absolutely love ice skating! I’m definitely going to be finding more rinks around Atlanta and am going to go skating! I’m also going to be incorporating ice skating in to my winter workout routine. I can’t wait to be back in Manhattan and to get back on the Central Park Rink!

Find A Christmas Pop-Up Bar. In Atlanta, there are tons- I’m working on writing up a full review for you of the ones that I’ve experienced, but in the meantime, see if there’s a Miracle Pop-Up or Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Santa in your town or vacay destination. The W Hotels around Atlanta have all turned their bars into festive places to grab a cocktail, see if your local W has one too! Alternatively, you can make your own holiday-themed cocktails and enjoy at home!

Check out your local arts! In Atlanta, you can watch holiday movies in concert or listen to a Christmas Concert with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra or see the Nutcracker Ballet at the Fox Theater.

See if your local amusement parks have holiday nights. Nearest to Atlanta is Six Flags over Georgia which hosts Holiday in the Park, with entertainment, snack specials, and more! It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and get your adrenaline pumping. (Find your local Six Flags here!)

Take a Painting With a Twist Class. It’s a super fun girls day, good activity to do with kids, with your family, or as a date night. It’s also a great way to create holiday decorations!

Find Local Wonderlands. In Atlanta, there’s Santa’s Fantastical, an immersive wonderland for kids and adults (there’s even a themed speakeasy!)

Visit Light Spectaculars at your local Botanical Gardens. In years past, we’ve visited the botanical gardens in Nashville, which boasted phenomenal lights. Here in Atlanta, the gardens have stepped up their game this year! Check out the full Christmas in Atlanta Round-Up for more photos and videos of the garden lights.

The Botanical Gardens are one of our favorite Atlanta traditions- and the new light show on the bridge is incredible!

Spending the day, or winter break, with kids? I was lucky enough to spend an entire day with my two nieces and we wrote up a whole itinerary of holiday fun-tivities for your inspiration!

Our “chill time” was hot chocolate and classic Christmas specials on DVD!

A quick note: While many may be fortunate enough to spend Christmas (or Hanukkah, or any holiday) with loved ones, not everyone can be as fortunate, so remember to keep that in mind when discussing holiday plans with friends and coworkers, you don’t know why their plans are what they are, or what the story is behind it, just try to spread Christmas Cheer & make Buddy the Elf proud!

I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite.

Staycay the December Blues Away

December can be rough, it’s chilly outside, often overcast & dreary, and frequently overrun by too much family.

It’s all about your attitude! You don’t have to look like a Negative Nelly like I do here!

BUT it’s all about perspective: you could choose to look at December’s roughness as a way to finish out your year strong before getting to start over in January, view the weather the way the Norwegians do as an excuse to stay cozy and warm, and cherish your family while you’ve got them! In far north Norway, they view the winter weather not as something to be avoided, but as something to look forward to–talk about an intentional mindset. They even have a word for the sense of coziness that attaches to the season: koselig. That’s the difference between this first picture and this second picture. In the first picture I was grouchy that my car was cold, my hands were frozen to the steering wheel, and my heat hadn’t kicked in yet. In the second picture, I was excited I got to wear one of my favorite jackets, that my MerSea scar was keeping me warm, and that the weather reminded me of my hometown in Minnesota. This mindset doesn’t just apply to keeping yourself cozy, but to spreading the sense of coziness to your community- check out these examples of great ways that you can Staycay Away the December Blues this holiday season.

Just choose to smile! Even if it’s so cold that you can only see your eyes, it’ll still transform your whole face- and outlook!

This year, instead of letting myself get down with the December Blues, I’ve decided to Staycay the December Blues Away! I’ll be acting as a Local Tourist, and throwing myself into the holiday spirit by finding all of the coziest ways to fill myself with those cozy feelings all month long! You can follow along with other Christmas Staycay suggestions on Instagram by following #XmasStaycay.

While there are plenty more suggestions to come, I thought I’d introduce you to the Staycay concept with a few ideas:

Get inspired by your favorite things to do outside the house and bring them home!

  • Get creative with your cocktails! I cannot impress how much I adore a good Christmas-themed bar. Here in Atlanta, we’re blessed with an abundance (I’ll be sharing a whole roundup in a later post). Bring these cocktails home and try to recreate your favorites for a movie night.
  • Bring your childhood traditions to your new home! I grew up loving to play pool with my family at the local burger joints (in Texas), so whenever I see a pool table while out and about, I must play! I really enjoy playing at my apartment complex, but if you’re lucky enough to be in a house, or want to encourage your parents to upgrade their game room or resurface their pool table, check out Absolute Billiard Services for pool tables in Atlanta! If you’re in the Atlanta area, they’re a local servicing center. Bonus: a billiard table is awesome for entertaining during the holiday festivities or a great activity to distract the family while you enjoy one of those aforementioned cocktails ;).
  • Relive your travels! Okay, this one requires a little forethought, while traveling, pick up an ornament from each place you visit together or each place that carries a special memory. Use these ornaments to decorate your tree, you’ll love revisiting vacations from years past and laugh at previously forgotten memories.
  • Bring your favorite movies to life! This Christmas, don’t just binge watch The Santa Clause trilogy, while watching the films, pick out a few of your favorite parts and incorporate them into your own traditions. We have the moose mug from Christmas Vacation, and this year tried our hand at making the Breakfast Spaghetti from Elf! What will you try?
Moose Mug from Christmas Vacation
  • Have your friends join in! There’s nothing cozier than flannel pajamas at Christmas time. This year, instead of throwing a Secret Santa or a Glam New Years party (or why not all of them!?) consider throwing a pajama party! This season, Gap, Old Navy, & Target are all bursting with options for pajamas! Whether you want matching, coordinating, silly, footy, literally dozens of options.
Kyle & I got our jams from Old Navy; Erika, Marley (dog), & Savanna got theirs from Target. We wore the same pattern by coincidence.

That’s the beginning of my Staycay Suggestions to help you Staycay the December Blues Away! So what do you say? Should we all look forward to koselig this season? Should we choose to celebrate our families, enjoy our indoor time, snuggle under covers not by necessity but by choice… That’s what I’m going to do this year: figure out how to best embody koselig in my own home and in Atlanta, by finding all of the best staycay activities and spots in town. How to do you keep away the winter worries?

Gift Guide for your Globetrotting Gal

For the Disney Darling

I would happily identify as a Disney Darling

The Disney Darling plans visits to see Mickey at the drop of the hat, she’s already got four trips planned this year, but will jump at any discounted flight to get her booty back to Orlando or Los Angeles! The Disney Darling shops small, wears ears, eats churros, and can sing along to any ride theme music.

Honestly, the best way to go here is a Disney Gift Card, your Disney Darling will be incredibly grateful! These cards can be used at any Disney Store, online, or anywhere on property. That means that you could be contributing to their next park ticket, hotel stay, castle luncheon, or favorite stuffed animal. Usually, I don’t like to promote gift cards because they feel impersonal, however, for a Disney Darling, a gift card is truly a key to the kingdom. Bonus! Pick up the gift card at your local grocery store & use a cash back credit card like this American Express that gives 6% cash back at grocery stores! Or pick it up at Target using your RedCard which gives you 5% off every day!

If you don’t want to get a gift card for your Disney Darling, I recommend some small shops!

My current favorites are:

My favorite Once Upon a Tee Shirt

For the Eco Explorer

Eco Explorers love to get outside and see themselves as part of the world.

The Eco Explorer doesn’t only thrive in nature, she can appreciate the finer things too, but all the while, she understands the impact that travel has on Mother Nature and knows that using straws can harm our precious marine life. Get your Eco Explorer some travel accessories that will help minimize her affect on planet earth.

For the Resort Relaxer

I’m not that great at relaxing, frolicking on the beach is about as close as I get.

The resort relaxer has one mission and one mission only, to maximize her relaxation factor. Whether it’s poolside at a 5-star resort, or on her favorite panhandle beach, the Resort Relaxer knows how to tune out the world and soak up the sun. Gift her some adorable accessories to boost her spring vacays!

For the Fitness Fanatic

I love getting outside while traveling, hiking is one of the best ways to stay fit while traveling!

Some people really enjoy getting to know a new city by jogging through it, others travel a lot for work and want to stay fit on the road. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a ClassPass gift card for your Fitness Fanatic, she will love getting to try a yoga class when dealing with a difficult client, or exploring a local park through a group class. Other ideas for your Fitness Fanatic include:

For the Destination Diva

Lahaina is one of the cutest towns on Maui! It’s definitely a destination to aim for!

Destination Divas are all about getting as many passport stamps as possible! She can discuss Manhattan museums, European countrysides, Asian street food, and South American mountains with the best of ‘em. She knows that having the perfect passport cover and crossbody bag are imperative for any day out. Get your Destination Diva a purse that can hold a camera, some comfortable but cute walking shoes, a new passport cover, or European wallet! The Destination Diva isn’t just about the destination, she understands that the journey is part of the adventure, you can’t go wrong with a carry-on cocktail kit to help make her overseas flight more enjoyable!

For the Boss Lady

I don’t have lots of pictures from my work trips, but at least I’m in a blazer in this one!

The boss lady’s one busy gal, whether she’s running her own firm, crushing it in court, managing multiple media accounts, she keeps her schedule tight. Consider gifts to help with her productivity or to manage stress. If she’s old school (like me) consider a paper planner and a nice set of pens, if she’s in to technology, consider Timeular, a six-sided pyramid to help with time tracking and management, or noise cancelling headphones to keep our background sounds. If she’s a bit of a stress cadet (also like me) consider a set of travel size candles, bubble bath, or adult coloring book (like this silly one, or this one which doubles as a gift for you Disney Darling). 

For the fashionable boss lady, consider a pair of Banana Republic Madison 12-hour Pump (yest they really are comfy after 12 hours!!) or a Stitch Fix gift card! If you opt for the blazer route, make sure the blazer has at least one functional pocket!

For The Frequent Flier & the Budget Babe

Whether you’re a Delta loyalist or a Spirit saver, everyone enjoys a good vacay!

The Budget Babe and the Frequent Flier are two sides of the same coin.  While both travel as often as possible, the Frequent Flier sticks with her fave airline and will pay the extra penny, she racks up miles and knows when to use them. On the other hand, the Budget Babe does not fear the stiff seats and personal item limitation, she is an expert at hunting down deals and gathering big savings!

Be cautious of gifting big travel accessories to the Budget Babe, there’s a good chance she only takes a personal item with her on most trips! Your Frequent Flier on the other hand probably has so much status that she can check bags on bags for free- she could also probably use a new luggage piece!

For the Gram Girl

Creating Content was definitely one of the ways Kyle convinced me to do this 22-mile round trip hike!

She’ll do anything “for the ‘gram”- she’ll step out to any ledge, taste any food, and hop on any midnight flight if it means getting that next great shot!

Treat your Gram Girl to some editing software light Adobe Lightroom, memory makers such as an adventure camera like a GoPro or a selfie stick that doubles as a tripod; a lit LuMee phone case to make selfies pop; or a handheld ring light to improve even the darkest of food photos!

For the Local Tourist

My favorite unique spot is SOS Tiki Bar in Decatur! If you’re in town, check it out!!

The Local Tourist is one of the most adventurous spirit out there! She may like staying close to home, but she’s no homebody- she likes exploring unique eats, botanical gardens, nearby hikes, and finding fun places for a GNO!

Try finding new activities for her to try, tickets to the local botanical garden, food festivals, theme parks, museums, aquariums, and more! Search #Staycay + City on Instagram for activities to feel like you’re on vacation! Check out #StaycayAtlanta here!

Not quite sure what kind of Globetrotting Gal your special lady is? We’ve got you covered!

Of course for your Globetrotting Gal, you can never go wrong with a Visa or Amazon gift card. Whether she’s a Frequent Flier, a Budget Babe, or a Destination Diva, you can’t go wrong with a gift card for her home airline. If she’s based out of Phoenix or Atlanta, go for a Southwest Airlines Gift Card. If her home airport is Houston, Newark or Denver, snag a United Airlines Gift Card. Similarly, Airbnb and Hotels.com gift cards are sure to make your Globetrotting Gal smile!

Let me know what kind of Globetrotting Gal you are! Or what you’re getting for your Gal this Christmas!