No matter the reason, staying at home during the holidays doesn’t have to be a disappointment. Instead, a holiday staycation can be a true celebration of home and family, creating new traditions and making memories to enjoy all year round.
Benefits of Staying Home for the Holidays
It is normal to be disappointed if you’re accustomed to holiday travel but decide to stay at home instead. A positive attitude, however, can make all the difference for an enjoyable and festive holiday season. There are many benefits to staying home, including saving money, no travel stress, no need to pack, no crowds at airports, more time to relax, and ease of changing your plans for whatever strikes your festive fancy. When you stay home, you can sleep in or stay up late without worrying about missing a tour or activity, and you can be more flexible with all your seasonal fun. This is especially important, as you will soon discover there is so much to do, your holiday staycation – “holistay” – will be just as entertaining and enriching as any far-flung destination.
Ideas for Your Holiday Staycation
There are many fun and festive options to enjoy at home for a happy holistay, using your landscape, lawn, and garden to add to the excitement. Whether you choose just one activity as a focal point of your holiday or plan different options every day, you can make great memories and enjoy time with all your loved ones.
- Decorate a Tree for Birds and Wildlife
Invite your local wildlife to the holiday festivities with a deliciously decorated tree. Use softened suet or peanut butter to coat pinecones and roll them in seed for feeder ornaments or use fishing line or sturdy thread to create cranberry and popcorn strings as edible garlands. Use floral wire or ribbons to hold twigs into star or tree shapes for extra beauty on the tree, and fasten small ribbons or burlap bows to the tips of branches to catch birds’ eyes and attract them to the bounty.
- Create Elaborate Snow Sculptures
Go beyond snowmen when you use your whole yard as a canvas for an epic snow sculpture. You might create a giant figure or an intricate scene and using a variety of handheld garden tools can help you sculpt details with ease. A wheelbarrow or buckets will be necessary to haul extra snow from other parts of the yard to enhance your sculpture, and sturdy wire or garden stakes can help provide internal support for taller features.
- Enjoy a Gourmet S’mores Night
Clean off your firepit and get ready for holiday decadence with a gourmet s’mores night. Choose different graham crackers or other cookies for a base and opt for different chocolate bars – dark chocolate raspberry, white chocolate peppermint, sea salt, caramel, etc. – to experiment with rich and delicious flavors.
- Host a Neighborhood Bonfire
Create a larger festive gathering with a neighborhood bonfire in a portable fire pit in your driveway or front yard (safely, of course!). Consider a potluck-style gathering with everyone bringing their favorite holiday treats or provide hot drinks for everyone to enjoy. Outdoor games such as cornhole can easily be added to the fun for a bit of friendly competition.
- Create Garden Gifts
Give your crafty side a workout and make garden-inspired gifts for family members, friends, and neighbors. Dip pinecones in scented wax for festive fire starters or use clear glass or plastic ornaments to showcase a pine sprig, miniature pinecones, or dried flowers. Pine prunings can make beautiful homemade wreaths and swags, or river rocks can be painted into festive row markers or decorative accents.
- Blend Homemade Potpourri
Bring natural air fresheners into your holiday home with garden potpourri. A variety of plants can be dried for amazing scents, including lavender, lemon balm, rose buds, mint, pine, lemon verbena, rosemary, yarrow, geraniums, zinnias, and sage. Add dried apple or orange slices for a sweet accent, and a few drops of essential oil to enhance aromas. Give your homemade dried or simmering potpourris as gifts when wrapped in burlap and tied with ribbon or fill a clay pot or tin pail for a rustic diffuser.
- Decorate a North Pole Fairy Garden
Create Santa’s Workshop in a fairy garden with accessories from the garden center. A broken clay pot can easily be the base, and you can paint it white, red, green, or a combination of festive shades. Use sand and potting soil as the base to keep the garden from tipping and add miniature holiday décor to create a wonderland to enjoy.
- Build a Natural Gingerbread House
Instead of cookies that go stale and candy that falls off, use pieces of cardboard and natural decorations to create a faux gingerbread house with rustic accents such as pinecones, pine needles, acorns, twigs, dried flowers, and other garden-inspired beauty. Get the kids involved with creative decorations and create an entire village or nativity scene of natural beauty to decorate a large dining room table or mantle.
- Make Soaps and Candles
Add garden accents to luxurious gifts when you make homemade soaps or candles with garden-fresh herbs, dried flowers, pine needle and berry sprigs, or other great decorations. You can pour your own soaps and candles using holiday-themed cookie cutters or candy molds, or you can simply soften premade soaps and candles to press your garden accents into the surface for instant customization. Wrap the gift with jute twine or rustic ribbon and your gift is ready!
- Plan a Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Create a themed list of items to find and offer prizes for the winners in an at-home holiday scavenger hunt. You could include items from the landscape and garden, holiday decorations from around the neighborhood, or more widespread objects around your town. If you want to keep the hunt in your garden, colorful plastic pots or tin buckets are great for collecting all the items on the list – a sprig of berries, a funny-shaped rock, a piece of pine, etc.
- Get Started With Indoor Gardening
Even if the weather outside is frightful, you can have a delightful time with indoor holiday gardening. Pot amaryllis bulbs, paperwhites, or Christmas cacti to use as seasonal decorations or gifts or consider starting a savory herb garden to flavor soups, stews, gravies, roasts, and other meals all winter long. You can even add a tropical touch to your indoor landscaping with a potted lemon tree, palm, or other greenhouse favorites.
- Take a Class
Investigate winter classes hosted by your local arboretum, botanical garden, or our garden center. Classes may be online or in person. Many popular winter options may be available, such as garden-inspired crafts, wreath making, winterizing your landscape, how to start an indoor herb garden, terrarium-making classes, painting clay pots, or overviews on succulents, bulbs, seed starting, and other fun and informative topics. Some may be geared to children, some for adults, and some may be fun for the entire family.
- Get Inspired
Another day out can be just visiting a local garden center, botanical garden, or even walking around the neighborhood or a local park to get inspired for your own garden and landscape. Look for plants that offer winter interest or different arrangements, accents, and accessories that can be great to feature in your own yard. If you can’t identify the plants, take pictures so you can seek identification help from our garden center experts.
- Plan for Spring
Let your imagination sprout when you plan your spring garden during a holiday staycation. Gather books and magazines, visit a range of websites, and draw out the landscape plan of your dreams. Work in different colors adding plants to showcase during different seasons. Include wildlife-friendly features and practical details such as how to creatively store your garden tools, hoses, and other necessities to make your garden great. You can even start buying seeds, new tools, and accessories to be ready to go as soon as spring begins.
- Create Epic Holiday Decorations
Since you will be home during the holidays, make the most of your outdoor holiday decorating with an epic lighting scheme or themed display. Get creative by using plant stakes and tomato cages to create faux trees and supports for more elaborate light displays and add a welcoming accent with a holiday-themed porch pot or living wreath to greet any holiday guests.
There is a great deal you can do to make the most of a holistay, no matter why you may be staying home for the holidays or what your garden and landscape offer. By embracing what your home offers and getting creative with your holiday activities, you can make many amazing holiday staycation memories.