Get into the spirit with these 10 holly jolly activities

Get into the spirit with these 10 holly jolly activities

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Japan

After a tumultuous year such as this, it can be hard to feel anything but bah-humbug about the holidays. With Christmas markets closed, international travel essentially frozen and lockdowns in place, it’s not exactly merry or bright. But it can be! Don your ugliest sweater and Santa hat, shake off the pandemic doldrums and get into the festive spirit with these fun activities.

Holiday movie bingo. There are a few different ways to play this one. Option one: Watch your favorite movie and mark your bingo square according to different thematic elements. For instance, is someone needing to buy a toy at the last minute? Square marked! Needing a miracle or is there a romantic ending? Check and check. Option two: Find or create a bingo card with different holiday movies (we’ll accept “Die Hard”) and mark your squares as you watch them.

Whamaggedon. Here in the U.K., it’s not the holidays until you hear “Last Christmas” by 80s pop icons Wham! blasting on the radio. Set a start date and see which of your friends and family can go the longest without hearing it. Once you’ve heard it, you’re out. For the record, I was out this year before December even started. You can also use other popular songs such as “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey.

Santa hat on the TV. What initially began as a drinking game can be tamed down as a candy eating game to make it family friendly. Place a Santa hat on the corner of your TV. Anytime a character in whatever show you’re watching ends up “wearing” the hat, eat a piece of candy. After binge-watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” we ended up with a very empty bowl of Hershey’s kisses.

Elf your neighbors. Spreading cheer to others is a great way to get into the festive spirit. Put together a small treat bag or basket filled with goodies and ding-dong ditch your neighbors. Just try to do it during a decent time frame. They may not appreciate a midnight wake-up.

Christmas Mad Libs. One of my favorite things as a nerdy kid was the word game Mad Libs. You fill-in-the-blanks with adjectives, nouns and other words to create a hilarious story. You’ll be surprised (and perhaps slightly mortified) at what your family and friends come up with — especially after a mug or two of glühwein.

Christmas Eve scavenger hunt. Although household mixing is limited right now, you can still get a little creative and put together a Christmas scavenger hunt around your house. Have the little ones find an obscure ornament on the tree, sugar sprinkles in the kitchen or make it 2020-themed and search for a roll of toilet paper or face coverings. Hide a small gift at the end for them to open before the big day.

Present wrapping race. Do you dread wrapping presents? Why not enlist the help of your elves this year and challenge them to a wrapping race? Grab the paper, tape, scissors and ribbon, set the timer for a few minutes and go! While they may not be the prettiest gifts, it’s a great way to get the kids involved and make some fun memories.

Attempt to make a special holiday dessert. Although my baking skills are more akin to “Nailed It” than “The Great British Bake Off,” try your hand at making a tasty seasonal dessert. From Buche de Noel in France to lebkuchen in Germany, there are plenty of recipes to make. Just be careful if you make a Christmas pudding. Soaked in rum, this flaming sweet can be a bit of a fire hazard.

Make your own ornaments for 2021. While most of us would like to block this year from our memory, it’s definitely one for the books. Commemorate (or memorialize) it by creating your own ornaments. I’ve seen friends place empty toilet paper rolls on tree branches and create angels from disposable masks. If you’re feeling crafty, try your hand at salt dough ornaments and paint them to your liking.

Check out the lights. One of my favorite things about the season are the lights. Bundle up and take a walk (while keeping to social distancing guidelines) through your neighborhood to see the light displays. You can also check your local village or town to see if they have an illumination trail. Many cities offer impressive walk- or drive-through displays to help get you in the holiday mood.

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