Joy is bringing you some of our smartest, most financially savvy content for the past year. In the crazybusy leadup to the holidays, it’s important to remember that making time for your happiness can make your life richer — as well as your wallet.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and not just because of one or two dates on the calendar or the parties or even the gifts and giving. No matter what you celebrate, or who you celebrate with, the holiday season feels brighter, sparklier, and friendlier than other times of the year.
And, let’s be honest: It can also feel stressful. There are to-do lists and must do’s and long lines pretty much everywhere you turn. There are financial obligations and sugar crashes and a race to get everything done. Taking time to savor the little moments — ones that won’t necessarily make your social media feed or your memory highlight reel — will keep the holiday feeling special, even when you’re running late in slush-covered boots.
1) A Slack room with no messages
The upside of everyone being OOO? No interruptions, so you can buckle down and get work done.
2) Cuddling up under flannel sheets
Grab your partner, grab a friend, grab a dog and get cozy.
3) Wearing your SO’s high school sweatshirt
There’s nothing that makes you feel more like you belong with someone than rifling through their childhood dresser and picking out their prized hoodie from ninth grade.
4) Red and green coffee cups
You may turn up your nose at the “holiday menu” offerings, but these cups bring cheer to even the most basic of brews. You’ll miss them when your java is served in a plain white paper cup come January.
5) Mariah Carey music
All I want for Christmas is you, Mariah. Sure, it gets stuck in your head, but we dare you not to smile during those first few thumping beats of the song.
6) Unexpected gifts
One December I popped into a random nail salon after work and was given a free pair of nicely wrapped socks without toes (perfect for wearing post-pedicure) They’re blue striped, they’re impractical, they look funny, and five years later, I still love them.
7) M&M jars as decor (and snacks)
It’s the one time of year when chocolate makes its way out of the cupboard and onto coffee tables.
8) Little candy canes
Bite-size, refreshing, and pretty much available on any store counter from now until New Year’s.
9) “Free gift with purchase”
Depending on your budget, this promo can be read as “free gift … with another gift.” Get your holiday shopping done in half the time with twice the savings.
10) Plenty of room at the gym
Savor your time on the treadmill now before the January hoards come.
11) Complimentary tastings at the wine store
Sure, this happens year round. But something about the bustling atmosphere and festive reds make it feel like a holiday at this time of year.
12) Sequins and glitter as acceptable daytime wear
13) Texts from friends you hear from once a year
Literally once a year. Scroll through the timestamps dated 12/3/17, 11/22/16, 12/23/15 and love that sometimes, all it takes is 20 words a year to keep a bond alive.
14) Turning your fridge into a montage of cards featuring adorable infants
Never met the baby in real life? Doesn’t matter!
15) The Hallmark channel
Yes, most of the movies follow one of three plotlines. But you’re still going to stay and watch until the credits roll. They’re fairy tales for adults, and even though they may not be realistic, we’re happy to suspend our disbelief.
16) Cinnamon sticks
They may be an ignored spice product for 11 months of the year, but from mulled wine to festive add-ons for home decor, they work hard in December. The scent can instantly transport you to past memories — like the time you and your cousins engaged in cinnamon stick battles until your grandma made you stop.
17) A shared moment
Sure, waiting is never ideal. Those packages have to be sent soon. And that line snaking out of the post office screams nightmare. But when you walk in and people are civil and even smiley, your faith in humanity is restored.
If you haven’t done one since you were a child, make a decision to do one this season. Set it up at the beginning of the month, and have anyone who stops by try their hand at fitting together a few pieces.
19) A “you’re doing a great job” email from your boss
Sure, your boss can (and hopefully does!) send these all the time. But in the midst of end-of-year wrap ups, make sure you don’t let the “hey, you’re a valuable part of the team” note slip past you.
20) A friend-filled Sunday
During the rest of the year, Sunday can become a day to catch up on stuff for the rest of the week. But during December, it seems that the day opens up for socializing — and it makes Monday morning a little more bearable.
21) A “cupcakes in the break room” email
Offices are spilling over with food, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get a little bit of the bounty.
22) Being in charge of the gravy
Or the stuffing. Or the cookies. Or whatever “that” recipe — the one that makes or breaks the meal — is in your family. When someone trusts you to take the lead, you know you’re officially a grown-up.