I am one of many, many Detwilers. My family has always “traveled well,” and it takes a lot to keep us apart during the holidays. There’s a chance that we’ll have a total of 36 aunts, uncles, cousins, baby cousins, in-laws, friends, and significant others around during the holidays this year. I love my family more than anything, and I can’t wait to see them, but preparation for a busy holiday season is a must. Whether you’re one of 36 or one of four, here are my tips for making the most of the holidays and keeping your cool.
1. a christmas tree: search for one yourself, browse the Christmas tree lot, or go the environmental route and use a faux tree. The sight of a decked out christmas tree literally brings tears to my eyes. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 ft. or 12 — make the effort, and warm your home with a tree.
2. the christmas song: whether it’s the best Pandora station ever (I recommend Mariah Carey Christmas or using any of the below songs) or a hand-selected playlist, set the mood with an easy music go to. Some of my all-time favorites are:
- “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey
- “The Christmas Song” – Dave Matthews Band
- “Santa Baby” – Marilyn Monroe
- “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – Michael Bublé
- “Mistletoe” – Colbie Caillet
- “So This is Christmas” – John Lennon
- “Mary and Joseph” – Dave Barnes
3. an ugly sweater: whether it’s from the local thrift shop, a Target purchase (like mine), or a borderline inappropriate Christmas onesie (another item I’m proud to own), get in the holiday spirit and get over yourself…just wear one. Make an occasion to wear one if you don’t have one. Everyone has more fun in a stupid hat or outfit — it’s science.
4. whiskey, wine and bubbly: however you choose to wet your whistle, make sure it’s readily available. invest in a couple decent bottles of wine or prosecco as a host/hostess gift, and be prepared for when the party lands back at your place.
5. me time: although you’ll surely have a packed social calendar, sometimes the best thing to do is to do your own thing. Take a nap, go for a walk, or spend some one on one time with your significant other. It will rejuvenate you and make the next time your see your friends and family that much better.
6. reservations and caterers: no. more. dishes. Holidays are all about home cooking, but be realistic sometimes. Be sure to download Venmo to avoid those awkward splitting the check moments and be sure to tip your server well. if all else fails, put out a contribution jar (bonus points if it’s pretty). we’re all in this together, and we’re all broke after christmas shopping. act accordingly.
7. go-to recipes: that being said, there’s nothing like being at home with your tree and a fire in the fire place. I suggest easy, cozy recipes like tortilla soup (remember, you can freeze the broth and add chicken the night-of), dry ribs, and fondue (stay tuned for my mom’s incredible recipe).
8. a workout class: more “me” time and license to have another glass (or three) and another handful of that homemade chex mix — just go! I plan to frequent ToughLOVE as often as possible, and I’m sure Taylor will stick to her Crossfit routine.
9. an easy christmas cookie: just use the mix if you’re pressed for time. It’s ok. Claim them as homemade. Spruce them up and make them the talk of the party by using a simple glaze in place of frosting (powdered sugar and milk) and then sprinkling crushed candy canes on top.
10. a dvr filled with christmas movies: while I can (and do) watch Elf all year round, I love finishing off the night with The Santa Clause or having Christmas Vacation on in the background. I already have all of the above, plus Home Alone and The Grinch saved in my DVR, and I couldn’t be prouder.
11. a last-minute gift supply: you probably forgot someone. I do it every year. Make sure to buy a couple extra of a crowd-pleaser — whether it’s a bottle of wine, a scarf, or your favorite beauty product — to have waiting in the wings as a last minute option.
12. an aero bed and some extra blankets: I can think of at least one night when we may have 8 people sleeping in my “3 bedroom” home. Make sure your blankets and sheets are fresh and borrow an aero bed if necessary.
13. an Rx supply: make ginger tea in bulk, stock up on emergen-c, buy out the fresh juice at the grocery store, and opt for the kale salad…I even finally caved and bought one of those saline nasal cleanse bottles, and I have to say, (though gross) it’s amazing. With the upcoming inevitable binge eating and drinking, do your best to counteract the damage and beat back the colds.
14. fuzzy and shiny things: ’tis the season to sparkle and shine and be cozy. bust out those giant earrings, glitzy tops and cashmere sweaters. here are a few of my favorite pieces for my holiday wardrobe.
15. be present. not presents like gifts. be thankful. look around you at all the beautiful people that make your life whole, and be present in each moment. these moments and memories are the most precious gift possible — take it from someone who knows the void left when they end or are ticking away. we are all fortunate to be alive, well, and surrounded by natural beauty and golden hearts. count your blessings, be kind and remember to breathe.