How to Get Ready for the Holidays

Photo posted by @marlydice on Instagram

With less than two weeks left until Thanksgiving, it’s time to start getting into the Christmas spirit! With no Thanksgiving movies or music to listen to, one might feel the need to start the festivities already! 

Here are some of VALLEY’s favorite ways to get ready for Christmas: 

Build a Gingerbread House 
Photo posted by @christmas.charm on Instagram

Gingerbread houses are a great way to get creative, spend time with friends, and eventually have a sweet treat! You can make your own extravagant design or make one from a box! You could even go a little out of the box and melt some peppermint candies to make a red and white house! 

What You’ll Need 
  • Option 1: Gingerbread House-making kit 
  • Option 2: Homemade Gingerbread House 
  • Option 3: Graham Cracker Gingerbread House 
    • Graham Crackers 
    • Vanilla Frosting 
    • Your favorite candies 
    • Piping bags and tips 
  • Option 4: Peppermint Candy Gingerbread House 
    • Big house-shaped cookie cutter, small rectangle cookie cutter, large rectangle cookie cutter 
    • 3-4 bags of peppermint candies 
    • White chocolate 
    • Vanilla Icing 
    • Piping bags and tips 
    • Your Favorite Candies 
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What You’ll Do 
  1. For Option 3: Figure out how you want your gingerbread house to look (look around on Pinterest for some ideas). Build your gingerbread structure and connect the pieces with frosting in a piping bag. Let sit for about an hour. Finish-off by piping on designs and adding candies! 
  2. For Option 4: Set your cookie cutters on a baking sheet and place one layer of peppermint candies down. Place in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes and repeat until you feel you have enough pieces for your house. Connect the pieces together with melted white chocolate, let sit for about an hour. Then pipe on designs and add candies! 
Bake Cookies 
Photo posted by @earthling.elfi on Instagram

This classic holiday tradition is a great way to have some fun in the kitchen and test your baking skills! Get some cookie cutters, icing, candies, a rolling pin and buy/make some cookie dough! 

Make a gingerbread family for your gingerbread houses or just for fun! Bake the classic chocolate chip cookie and enjoy it with a cold glass of milk or make some sugar cookies and decorate with icing and sprinkles! If you want to get a little fancy, make some shortbread cookies and royal icing to make fancy Christmas designs! 

Make Popcorn Garland 
Photo posted by @_jacquelinebrown_ on Instagram

This classic holiday decoration is a great way to make your home feel festive. Have some fun, spend time with friends, and start decorating early! 

What You’ll Need 
  • Sewing thread 
  • A small needle 
  • Popcorn 
  • Cranberries 
What You’ll Do 
  1. Thread your sewing thread through your needle and knot at the end 
  2. To add popcorn, push your needle and thread through the largest part of the kernel 
  3. When adding cranberries, pierce through the cranberry with the needle, and then run the needle through the cranberry 
  4. Continue threading until you’ve reached your desired design and hang! 
Make a Wreath 
Photo posted by @rowenandwren on Instagram

With Thanksgiving break approaching, you’ll have extra time on your hands! Try something new and make your own Christmas wreath! 

What You’ll Need 
  • Wire Wreath frame or grapevine wreath (whatever size you want) 
  • Assorted greenery pieces (evergreen, eucalyptus, etc.) from a craft store 
  • Wire cutters 
  • Wire 
  • Hot glue 
  • Any other Christmas decorations you want (lights, pinecones, ornaments, fake snow, ribbon) 
What You’ll Do 
  1. Sort and layout your greenery pieces over your wreath frame 
  2. Wrap the wire around the ends of the pieces to secure them to the frame. Add some hot glue for extra support 
  3. Continue to fill in the frame with your pieces until it’s to your liking 
  4. Add in any other decorations you want and secure in place with hot glue 
  5. Done! 
Make a Hot Chocolate Station 
Photo posted by @i_love_christmas_365 on Instagram

Hot Chocolate is the perfect winter drink to make to warm-up and get cozy! Start off with some mason jars, hot chocolate toppings, and a small wooden crate or tray. Fill your mason jars with marshmallows, peppermint sticks, Pirouette’s, toffee pieces, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and anything else you like. Place them in your wooden crate or on top of your tray.

To make it festive, wrap some red and white string around your mason jar. If you want, you can make some chocolate stirrers for extra decor. To save dishes, you can set up some disposable cups and tops in a basket and add some wooden stirrers in a cup. You can also add a chalkboard to make your hot chocolate station a little extra fancy. If you have a Keurig, you can buy Swiss Miss K-cup pods. If not, buy some hot chocolate packets at the store or make your own. 

Watch Christmas Movies 
Photo posted by @honeybeephilosophy on Instagram

Watching Christmas movies is an easy and sure way to get into the Christmas spirit! Plan a movie night, get in your Christmas socks and pajamas, get some cookies and candy, grab a bunch of cozy blankets and watch your favorite Christmas movies.

 You can set up some Christmas lights in the room, and for some extra fun, you can use a projector to make it feel like a home theatre!

Here are some Christmas classics you need to watch: 

  • “A Christmas Story” 
  • “A Charlie Brown Christmas” 
  • “Miracle on 34th Street” 
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” 
  • “Home Alone” 
  • “Christmas with the Kranks” 
  • “Elf” 
  • “The Santa Clause” 
  • “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 
  • “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” 
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
  • “Frosty the Snowman”
Plan a Gift Exchange with Friends 
Photo posted by @kelsikendel on Instagram

The holidays are all about gathering with friends and family. Plan a get together with your friends and set up a gift exchange. You can choose a theme like a sock exchange or an ornament exchange! This can be as small or big as you would like with the price limit you set. Eat food, watch movies, and exchange gifts! 

Bake Pies 
Photo posted by @foolproofliving on Instagram

There’s not much better than a pie during the holiday season! With their buttery crust and fruit fillings, they are great to enjoy hot or cold and with a side of ice cream. Here are some classic pie recipes to make this season: 

Go Thrifting-For Christmas Records 
Photo posted by @thevinyldoctor on Instagram

Christmas music is the best way to get in the spirit, especially when you blast it on high throughout your house. But instead of streaming from your phone or a Bluetooth speaker, try going old school and listening to Christmas classics on vinyl!

Go to your local thrift store and walk all the way to the back where they keep random knick-knacks. You should be guaranteed to find some great holiday classics. If not, you could order some Christmas vinyl’s and bring back that traditional holiday feeling! 

There are so many ways to get festive and creative this upcoming holiday season. Tag us on Instagram, @VALLEYmag, with your Christmas festivities!


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