How to get into the holiday spirit: 25 ways in 25 days

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First lady Melania Trump unveiled the White House Christmas decorations this week. The theme this year is "American Treasures." (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

The holidays are officially here, and the countdown to Christmas is on.

Nowadays the Christmas season is being celebrated throughout the month, not just one day. Some days are even becoming dedicated to specific aspects of the holiday, such as Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

If you're looking for a new tradition to get you in the holiday spirit -- or just trying to figure out how you'll fit it all in, look no further. Here are 25 great ways to get in the holiday spirit.

Dec. 1: Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Tis the season to be jolly, and decorating your home early serves as a great visual reminder throughout the season. Besides, if you haven't gotten your tree yet, experts are advising everyone to get them early this year.

Dec. 2: Get spiritual

This year it just so happens that the first day of Advent in the Christian faith is on Dec. 2, and Hanukkah begins at sundown. This is a great day to explore your own religious heritage -- or to ask someone else about theirs -- to get to the heart of the holidays.

Dec. 3: Crank the holiday tunes

I don't want a lot for Christmas ... except an epic playlist. Make the holidays more special by having one ready for whenever the occasion arises.

RELATED: Mariah Carey tops YouTube's most played Christmas songs of the holiday season

Dec. 4: Join a cookie exchange for Cookie Day

The ultimate way to fully enjoy Cookie Day is, of course, with a whole bunch of cookies. Attend (or host!) a holiday cookie swap to maximize the gooey goodness.

RELATED: Six awesome recipes for your holiday cookie party

Dec. 5: Participate in International Volunteer Day

Another way to get in the spirit of the holidays is to remind yourself that there's more to it than the consumerism of the day. On Dec. 5, the United Nations is hosting International Volunteer Day. It's the perfect day to find a project you're passionate about and give your time.

RELATED: Ways to give back during the holiday season

Dec. 6: Watch a Christmas special on TV

Good grief, there are a lot of specials on TV this time of year. One of the most popular is A Charlie Brown Christmas, which ABC will be airing multiple times throughout the month, beginning on Dec. 6.

RELATED: ABC's holiday lineup

RELATED: 25 Days of Christmas schedule on Freeform

Dec. 7: Make your list and check it twice

One way to decrease stress and enjoy the holidays more is to avoid procrastinating. Set aside time early in the month to make sure everyone on your list is covered. Get some inspiration from our ultimate 2018 gift giving guide.

Dec. 8: Elf on the Shelf

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Here are some quick and fun places to put your Elf on the Shelf.


There are millions of Elf on the Shelf dolls out there, and it doesn't stop with the elf -- there's also Mensch on a Bench and even Hide-and-Hug Olaf. This list of 17 Elf on the Shelf ideas for lazy parents will last you from this day until Christmas Eve.

Dec. 9: Send seasons greetings on Christmas Card Day

Christmas Card Day might feel like it comes a little early in the month, but don't forget that cards take time to travel. You don't want to be that person whose card arrives just in time, do you? (But if you do, the U.S. Postal Service suggests sending it by Dec. 14).

Dec. 10: Have a cozy night in

Anyone who doesn't take time to be cozy around Christmas isn't getting the full experience. In 2017, the Danish concept of hygge went viral, providing many Americans with new tips for embodying coziness, joy and wellbeing.

Dec. 11: Write a letter to Santa

Channel your inner child and let Old Saint Nick know what you really want this year. If you send it to Macy's, they'll donate $1 to Make-A-Wish.

Dec. 12: Celebrate Gingerbread House Day

Break out the gingerbread and let your imagination run wild. A simple house will do the trick, but if you want to get fancy, draw some inspiration from the entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C.



Dec. 13: Have a Christmas movie marathon

Gather your family (or a group of friends) and vote on your favorite Christmas movies, then watch them all!

RELATED: Favorite Christmas movies by state

Dec. 14: Take advantage of Free Shipping Day

Dec. 14 is a great day to finish up shopping for long-distance friends and family. It's the last day to get free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve, otherwise known as Free Shipping Day. Hundreds of retailers participate.

Dec. 15: Pick your favorite festive outdoor activity

December might be one of the coldest months, but that's no excuse to spend the whole month inside! From festivals and markets to winter sports, there are plenty of outdoor activities that will refresh you and get you in a festive mood.

Dec. 16: Play a game as a family

Games might feel like an unconventional way to get in the Christmas spirit, but they're an easy way to unplug and live in the moment. Things start to get pretty hectic in the middle of the month, so set aside a few hours to unwind.

Dec. 17: Tour your neighborhood's Christmas lights

Hop in your car (or stroll around the block) and see if you can find the wildest, wackiest Christmas lights near you. For even more Christmas lights craziness, check out The Great Christmas Light Fight at 8 p.m. on ABC.

RELATED: Holiday decorating do's and don'ts from The Great Christmas Light Fight

Dec. 18: Perform a random act of kindness

What's a better way to embody the holiday than to spread a little Christmas magic for someone else? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Dec. 19: See a movie as a family



December is one of the most exciting times of the year for the box office, especially for families. One of this season's biggest family flicks, Mary Poppins Returns, is out Dec. 19.

Dec. 20: Make plans for after the holidays

Whether it's something as epic as a bucket-list vacation or something as simple as dinner plans with a friend you haven't seen in a while, schedule something for 2019. Having something to look forward to will lessen the post-holidays blues.

Dec. 21: Be there with bells on for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Once just for your quirky aunt, ugly Christmas Sweaters are now a trendy art form with their own special day. This year, that day is Dec. 21.

RELATED: What you should know to pick out the perfect ugly Christmas sweater

Dec. 22: Learn to make one of your family's traditional recipes

Learning to make mom's casserole is a rite of passage, and she'll be honored you want to learn the ropes. Or if you want to see if you can find a new favorite family dish, check out our recipe page for inspiration.

Dec. 23: Document your favorite family traditions

Part of what makes the holidays so special are the traditions that are unique to your family, whether it's a funny game to open presents, an annual light-hearted prank or a ritual that makes sense to no one else. Take the time to interview each member of your family to ask what their favorite unique family tradition is. Write down their answers or record them speaking so you can look back at it someday.

RELATED: What you need to know about Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us

Dec. 24: Track Santa's journey with the NORAD Santa tracker

Tracking Santa's movements is not just for kids! With the NORAD Santa tracker, you can watch as Christmas arrives arounds the world.

Dec. 25: Savor the day -- you've earned it!
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