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OMG! OMG! OMG! It’s-here-it’s-here-it’s-here. December. Aka the holiday season. Aka Advent. Aka the greatest, merriest, busiest, and most delicious time of year. Eeeeek! After 11 months of waiting patiently and hiding our Santa’s hat in our desk drawer beneath a stack of striped swim shorts, it’s finally descended upon us and, in case you hadn’t gathered already, we’re a smidgen excited. It’s the holiday season. It’s fun, festive and mucho-fulfilling. It’s just the best thing ever.
But, and there is a teeny-tiny but, it can also be pretty easy to paint a picture of Christmas parties, mince pies and present mountains, and forget that this season takes a lot of planning and effort to make it perfect.
As far as marathons go, this one is probs the best, ever. You’re bouncing from party to party, dodgy jumper to dodgy jumper, turkey to eggnog to Christmas pudding to After Eights. It’s basically 25 days of fun and frolics. But while getting dressed up, suited and booted, booking flights, buying prezzies, and eating mounds of delicious food sounds super-dreamy when singled out, they can be a little bit overwhelming when combined.
That’s why we’ve created Your "Best Holiday Season Ever" Survival Guide. Think of it as a game plan full of holiday advice to help you enjoy this holiday season with a cheek-aching smile and a happy soul.
Here’s how to have the best. holiday. season. ever.
1. Make Your Belly Smile
We all love Christmas for the giving and receiving of presents and the perpetually good mood we’re all in, but the centrepiece is the food. Mmmmm. Turkey, pigs-in-blankets, stuffing, cranberry sauce, honey-glazed ham, roast spuds, gravy - it’s so drool-worthy. And that’s what this season basically is. It’s one ginormous meal after the next. The worry is you’ll be totally stuffed by Christmas Day - and we get it. But instead of not eating in the build-up, the best thing you can do is counterbalance your meals. If you know what you’ll be eating on the big day, which we deffo do, try and counterbalance the protein-heavy turkey with something plant-based earlier in the day. It’s called meal prep, and it’s a total tummy-pleaser.
2. Make A Holiday Playlist
It doesn’t matter if you’re still using iTunes, rocking CDs, signed up to Tidal, or just loving Spotify - nothing will get you feeling more festive than a holiday playlist. It doesn’t even need to be Christmas-based music if you don’t want (although, you need to ask yourself, is it really Christmas without Michael Bublé?). So long as it’s packed full of songs that put you in the holiday spirit, it doesn’t matter what you add. Country-music, hip-hop, Irish folk, drum and bass. All you need to do is, ahem, listen to it all the time. You’ll feel oh-so-merry.
3. Do The Decoration Dance
Now that Alexa has got used to blasting out your Spotify playlist, it’s time to decorate. It’ll give you the most magical feeling, like the great hall at Hogwarts, but in your own home (minus the house elves and out-of-thin-air banquet). What’s more, decorating your abode can mean whatever you want. You could go full-hog by popping a 20ft inflatable Santa on your roof and project snowflakes on your lawn, or you could cover your home in tinsel and baubles found at a local charity shop, or just put your baby pink Christmas tree in the corner of your boudoir. A cheeky bit of decorating is the secret to feeling super-festive.
4. Be Super-Duper Generous
Being a kid at Christmas was the best. It was so simple. You made a list of all the things you loved, sent that list to Santa, and then ran around the room like a Tasmanian Devil as you unwrapped a Polly Pocket or Fisher-Price kitchen. It’s basically all about wanting and receiving. Now you’re an adult, though, it’s more about thinking what your sister will love (cough, hair wrap), your sister’s husband, her step-dad, and his dog-walkers dentist. But here’s the good news: giving feels great. It makes you feel uber-awesome about yourself and you’ll reap the benefits of a boosted immune system too. So let’s say you give all your loved ones presents, take all your unwanted presents to a children’s hospital, or volunteer at an old people’s home - not only will you feel awesome, you’ll probably survive the whole winter without a single cold or flu. Yay.
5. Be Swept Up In The Cheer
The holiday season is cliche-heaven - and we love it. We absolutely love it. It’s your chance to shout “woo woo” and do all those uber-fun and super-silly holiday things you’re tempted to roll your eyes at. Get involved with your team’s Secret Santa fun and go to all the Ugly Sweater parties you can wearing the ugliest sweaters the internet has to offer. Yeah, they’re cliched and awful but, if you let yourself get swept up in the season, you’ll find they’re so much fun. Pretending you’re too cool for the holiday season is probably the most uncool thing you can do. It’s the holidays. Lap it up. All of it. Every cringeworthy, cliched and so-dreadful-it’s-not-dreadful moment. You may even find yourself throw your own ugliest sweater bash next year.
6. Make A Christmas Movie List
Everyone has a favourite Christmas movie. Scrap that. Everyone has at least a dozen favourites. Movies where the first note of the score transports you back to your childhood, wearing your tartan PJs, slurping hot chocs, munching on marshmallows, and staying up late. Basically, Christmas movies are the best. And now is the time to cram as many of them in (without being totally unsociable). So, to get you started, our list is made up of Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Love Actually, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, that Muppet’s one, Jingle All The Way and Die Hard (oh c’mon, Die Hard is definitely a Christmas movie - there’s snow n’ everything).
7. Send Christmas Cards To Everyone
We’re mahooosive fans of holiday traditions, and none more so than the family-portrait Christmas card. They’re amazing, hilarious, memorable, brilliant and amazing. It’s coming up with the idea (like all wearing matching towel ponchos), setting up the camera, rushing back to your position as fast as you can, and bonding as a family (or as flatmates). But the best part is seeing everyone’s reactions. Well, the second best part. The very best part is letting your far-flung friends and family know you’re thinking about them; reminding them you love and miss them. It’s such an amazing and simple gesture.
8. High-Five The Difference-Makers
You know who we’re talking about. The people that put a bounce in your daily life. The barista who always has your triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, decaf Macchiato with an extra pump of vanilla ready for you when you walk in. The mailman who always writes a positive message on a post-it and then sticks it on the inside of your mailbox. The yoga teacher that brought mindfulness to your life. The person that first introduced you to Dock & Bay… give these daily-life difference-makers a little appreciation-prezzie and let them know their kindness never goes unnoticed.
9. Try And Do Some Exercise
As hard-working adults with full-time jobs, nothing sounds more attractive than sitting on the sofa for nine hours straight, watching every single F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode in order, and enjoying the fact your couch has moulded to your bottom shape. But, exercise is good too. It’s good for our mental health, it’s good for our sleep, it’s awesome for our metabolism, flexibility, strength, range of motion, and some other bits too. Soooo, this holiday season, find some ways to slip in a bit of exercise by getting creative. Do some squats while the food is in the oven, do pushups off the kitchen counter before doing the washing up, or bicep curl your garbage bags when taking them out to the trash. Your body will think you’re giving it an unexpected Christmas present.
10. Have Christmas Somewhere New
There’s only one thing better than maxing out on warm seasonal beverages, colourful Christmas lights, making snow angels in the garden, and lapping up all the good company you can, and that’s doing it somewhere new. It’s going away for a weekend, a week or the entire season to get a winter-wonderland-wanderlust-fix. Trust us: it’s the best feeling ever. You could go Christmas market hopping in Cologne (there are seven of them), make this the year you skate around the rink at New York’s Rockefeller Centre, pop the skis on the car roof and drive to the Yellowstone National Park, or finally do it the Aussie way by swapping snow and log fires for sun and beach barbecues. The point is: getting away at Christmas is something you’ll never forget. Ever. Ever-ever. It’s amazing.
And with the festive cheer now in full-flow, what are you waiting for? Pop a few quick-drying towels on your Santa list, use your poncho as a dressing gown and go have the best holiday season, ever.
Thanks for reading. For more travelspiration and far-flung adventure ideas, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and, you know, don’t forget to grab yourself the most awesome towel ever made… and some shorts… and a hair wrap... and probably a poncho too. After all, everyone looks good in stripes.