7 Small Holiday Gathering Ideas for the Festive Season
The holidays are a time of great food, festive activities, and most importantly, time with family. But sometimes gathering with your whole family just isn’t possible. If you want to spend a relaxing holiday at home, there are plenty of ways to make the holidays feel special with these small holiday gathering ideas.
1. Make Food a Family Time – No Matter What
For many, cooking together during the holidays is a tradition in and of itself. While you may not truly be able to cook together, try some of these small holiday gathering ideas you can enjoy over video chat:
- Hold a virtual cookie baking contest
- Make gingerbread houses
- Eat a holiday dinner or brunch together
The holidays are a special time to reconnect with family and friends you may only see once a year, so don’t let the opportunity pass just because you are not together physically. Be sure to get the kids (and even pets) involved and engaged over video so that every member of the family feels included.
2. Try a Non-Traditional Menu
Having a smaller gathering means less stress about what to cook. While you can always opt for traditional choices like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and other festive sides, you can also change it up.
Try a dinner where every family member makes their favorite dish. Explore holiday food eaten in the countries your family is originally from. Or even ask parents or grandparents what they ate during the holidays as kids and recreate their meals. Whatever menu you choose, your meal will be at the heart of the celebration, no matter the size.
Not sure where to start? Check out these fun, non-traditional meals and appetizers for small gatherings this holiday season:
- Cheesy Crab Poppers
- Lamb Kebabs
- Frosty the Cheeseball
- White Christmas Pizza
- Beef & Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Honey Figs with Goat Cheese and Pecans
- Crispy Green Bean Fries
3. Extend the Fun & Festive Food
Who says that holiday celebrations have to take place on Thanksgiving or Christmas? One of the best ways to make a low-key holiday season feel special is to extend the fun and festivities. Exchange a present or two on Christmas Eve. Make a delicious Boxing Day brunch. Keep your decorations up from Black Friday until New Year’s Day.
Some families even opt to celebrate all 12 days of Christmas from December 25th until January 6th. If you’re someone who often gets the blues once the excitement of Christmas is over, consider extending the fun into the beginning of the new year. Once the new year hits, you’ll be ready to leave the holidays behind and start fresh.
4. Make It “Feel” Like the Holidays
Gathering in small groups may mean not celebrating on the exact day (or even the same week) of the holiday. It’s hard to put your finger on what makes the holidays feel special, but sometimes celebrating on another day can throw you off and make the day feel less magical.
Make it feel like Christmas by focusing on your senses. Play holiday music throughout the house to get your family in the Christmas spirit. Burn some festive candles with scents like apple cinnamon, pumpkin, and pine. Layer up with cozy sweaters, pajamas, and slippers. And of course, bake something delicious to enjoy. Check out these recipes to have your whole home smelling like the holidays:
- Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
- Cinnamon Bun Pie
- Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
- Eggnog Sparkle Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Pie
5. Take the Opportunity to Slow Down
Not having to host a big gathering for the holidays does have its advantages. One of the best ideas for small holiday gatherings is to take the opportunity to slow down and have a relaxing holiday season. Rather than giving into the hustle and bustle, just relax and enjoy good food, fun activities, and time spent with family.
Too often, our high expectations for an exciting Christmas leave us disappointed. If your holiday plans aren’t as elaborate as they usually are, try to enter the season with one goal in mind — to relax and recharge for the upcoming new year.
6. Give Back & Pay It Forward
The holidays are a perfect time to give back to your community. If you aren’t planning a large gathering, you’ll likely have extra time on your hands toward the end of the year. Consider taking time to volunteer with a local charity as a family. It can be a great bonding experience and a reminder of the giving spirit around the holidays.
If you can’t donate your time, you can also donate items to a number of organizations during the holidays. Straighten up your home and donate gently used items to Goodwill. Or, volunteer to be a holiday shopper and pick up new toys and gifts for Toys for Tots.
7. Start a New Tradition
If you’re missing out on your usual traditions with family this year, take the chance to start your own! Switch up your seasonal decorations. Take holiday photos. Exchange handmade gifts. Do a Christmas craft. Bake something new and delicious. No matter what new tradition you start, you’re sure to make memories and have something to look forward to again next year.