10 things to try this December ... from recipes to crafts to local events, get inspired to try something new this month!
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I love trying something new and different. It helps make everyday life a little more exciting, know what I mean?
In that spirit, I started a monthly series, 10 Things to Try, way back in January. Each month of this year, I've shared ten seasonally appropriate ideas (recipes, crafts, decor ideas, and more) that were worth trying that month.
We've finally made it to the last month, December! As always, if you’d like to play along, take a pic of something new you’ve tried, then post it on social media and tag it with #hellolittlehome … sound like fun?
Here are 10 things to try this December!
1. Do a Little Holiday Decorating
I'm a little bit behind on my Christmas decorating this year (what else is new), but I have ambitious plans.
After years of living in NYC and having a 4 foot tall tree (that I bought at Walgreens!), I've found the perfect 7.5 foot pre-lit tree that I can't wait to decorate. This is the weekend it's all going down!
I know a lot of people don't like to decorate a lot, but a touch of something festive here and there is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. No need to go all out (see my post about adding a touch of cozy holiday decor for ideas). Hanging a wreath or simply lighting some candles may be all it takes.
2. Bake Your Favorite Cookies
I don't know about you, but I practically live on cookies in December! It's not my healthiest month of the year, I'll give you that.
Each year, I like to bake my family favorites, plus a few new recipes. I do try to give most of them away, although now that my husband travels every week and I work from home, it's a little trickier. If you see me rolling around in January this may be why! 😉
Here are a few cookie recipes that I make every year to inspire your own holiday baking:
- Honey Cookies (my mom's favorite)
- Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes (so, so good!)
- Nona's Pecan Fingers (my all-time fave that my grandma used to make)
- Poppy Seed Kiss Cookies (love these ... may be my second favorite)
For even more cookie inspo, you can check out all my fave cookie recipes here.
3. Eat Your Fill of Cranberries
I love cranberries at this time of year. They feel festive, plus they're so tart and delicious.
Last year, I actually had a hard time tracking fresh cranberries down. I persevered though, because I had to make my favorite Christmas Cranberry Buckle (I skip the spiked candied fruit). This year, I will be shopping for my cranberries early, just in case!
Looking for a few unique cranberry recipes? Here are my faves:
- Cranberry Cheesecake Parfaits
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Overnight Oats
- Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Pecans, and Blue Cheese
- Cranberry Sage Stuffed Acorn Squash
All of these recipes (except the parfait) use dried cranberries by the way, which means you can make them year round.
4. Do a Good Deed
This is a joyful season for many, but so difficult for others. Take a moment to reach out to a friend, relative, or neighbor who may be feeling lonely or depressed during the holidays.
It's also the perfect time to volunteer, donate blood, or do something thoughtful for someone less fortunate, like making care kits for the homeless. Get your kids involved, too, and you'll teach them a valuable lesson.
If you don't have time to volunteer, give a donation to your favorite nonprofit organization instead. You can do it online, and it doesn't have to be a lot (even $5 helps).
This year, I've joined together with a group of bloggers to help raise funds for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit that is committed to raising funds for research to develop new, improved, and less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer.
And after traveling to Puerto Rico last summer, my heart is breaking for my fellow Americans who are still struggling to meet even basic needs after Hurricane Maria. Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross or to another disaster recovery fund to help them out.
5. Plan Something Fun for New Year's Eve
Okay, switching to a lighter note ... we can't forget about New Year's Eve!
I always love to do something special for New Year's Eve, even if I'll be hanging out at home (which is most years). If you're planning to spend the night out, make your reservations now, otherwise your event or favorite restaurant may be booked.
Spending New Year's Eve at home? I always to cook a festive and decadent meal. Here are some ideas:
- How to Arrange an Easy Cheese Plate ... add a few bottles of wine and you have a party!
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomatoes ... yum! It's tradition in my home to make fettuccine alfredo on NYE, and my recipe is so easy.
- Salted Caramel Affogato ... the perfect after dinner treat!
- Raspberry French 75 ... a fun cocktail for your festivities.
- Spicy Black-Eyed Peas in the Crock Pot ... serve this recipe with some greens on New Year's Day for good luck.
6. Find the Perfect Gift
Sometimes I'm not sure if it's more fun or more stressful to shop for holiday gifts. There is always at least one person on the list that's impossible to buy for ...the struggle is real, I tell ya!
To help you out, I've create a bunch of different gift guides for everything from White Elephant Gifts and Personalized Gifts to presents for Traveler Lovers and Crafters .. and SO MUCH MORE! Check out all of my gift guides here.
If you'd rather make a gift, don't miss my ultimate DIY Christmas Gift Guide ... you'll find over 50 fun and creative ideas for everyone on your list.
7. Treat Yourself
Call me selfish, but I always like to treat myself to something or other during the holidays.
There are so many awesome sales to be found in December. It's the perfect month to update your wardrobe with cozy sweaters, save on home decor, or snag a deal on a new kitchen appliance you've been wanting to try. So add yourself to that shopping list, too!
8. Make a Holiday Craft
There's nothing that puts me in the holiday spirit quite like crafting!
It's so fun to create something that you can pull out every year, and that will hopefully become a family heirloom one day (or maybe not ... ha!).
I may not have put up my tree yet, but I have gotten my craft on. These DIY Mini Christmas Trees turned out even better than I'd hoped, and my DIY Vintage Christmas Ornaments definitely deserve a place of honor on that tree.
Need a little inspiration to get you going? You can check out all of my holiday crafts here.
9. Throw a Favorite Things Party
You know how Oprah shares her favorite things every year and people go crazy? (Here are her favorite things for 2017, in case you're wondering.)
Well, wouldn't it be fun to throw your own favorite things party? Personally, I'm kind of obsessed with the idea!
Basically, you channel your inner Oprah and invite over your friends. Everyone brings enough of their favorite things for each of the other guests.
You'll want to set a $5 or $10 limit, depending on the number of guests, to keep it affordable. After the party, each guest leaves with a bunch of cool new things to try.
Doesn't that sound like the best party ever? I can't wait to try this idea myself!
10. Get in the Holiday Spirit at Local Events
Here in Dallas, all of the local holiday events seem to be planned for December 2. There's a parade, a tree lighting, a tamale festival, we have tickets to a botanical garden event, and so much more ... all on one day.
So I guess I will be checking #10 off my list over this weekend. That only leaves one question ... when will I find time to decorate the tree?!? Ha!
I love attending all the fun events wherever I'm living each holiday season ... whether that's a parade, a pop up shopping event, or something else.
And you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it! In fact, one of my fave holiday activities is wandering around the streets and taking in all the beautiful Christmas decorations (check out my Dallas and New York holiday tours for some serious Christmas inspiration). So get out there and explore your city!
What is something new that you are inspired to try this December?
Make sure to check out all of my 10 Things to Try posts for even more inspiration: