10 Things To Do at Home During a Lockdown Winter Holiday

Dec 23, 2020

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Whether you are spending the holidays alone or in a smaller group of company, we have the opportunity for finding new rituals we may want to carry forward well after 2020. And even if we only want to indulge in new ideas temporarily as we weather the pandemic safely, this season is a wonderful time to do things a bit differently, but no less enjoyably.

As my neighbors and I exchanged holiday food gifts this week, each of us shared how our Christmas would be quieter, smaller and safer. And for me, I am quite looking forward to it. My Christmas will be three (not including my boys) as my parents and I each spent Thanksgiving on our own, but planned ahead to be able to be safe so we could spend Christmas together. Oscar just received his holiday bath and is looking quite sharp, Norman is eager to dig through his stocking, so we will be sure to bring those with us as they will be the ‘children’ on Christmas morning which is a delight to watch.

Today in lieu of sharing a list of things that made me smile (I will be sharing something similar in a more celebratory fashion this Saturday the 26th, so be sure to stop by), I wanted to share 10 ideas for how even in lockdown or festive celebratory limitation we can make Christmas and all our winter holidays, including New Years, something quite lovely, inspiring and worth raising our glasses to as we all say Santé (and our grateful for such). Let’s take a look.

1.Start planning your garden and purchase your vegetables seeds for 2021

Initially I had expected on planning and ordering my seeds in January, and while I still will for many flowers and perennial plants, upon reading how inundated seeds companies in America were and will be moving forward, I am taking this week to plan and order items for my vegetable garden.

Far cheaper than purchasing the plants in the spring, you can easily fill a garden and only spend $30. Below are a handful of sites to explore in the states, and be sure to check out your local businesses online.

2. Tune in to podcasts to inspire and uplift your outlook on the new year

I recently listened to Gardeners’ World’s episode with Alan Titchmarch which was all about growing your own vegetables (perhaps that was the actual catalyst for spearheading my vegetable seed shopping :)), and became all the more excited than I already am for the new year. I also learned of this podcast for those of us who enjoy living our single life – A Single Serving Podcast.

3. Sit down and stream a beautiful film

From the distant past – Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant set in London or How to Steal A Million with Audrey Hepburn set in Paris; or recent past, Quartet with Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and directed by Dustin Hoffman or Call Me By Your Name starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. These are just a handful of films that not only have lovely plots and storylines, also treat the eyes to interior and exterior beauty.

4. Try cooking or baking something you’ve never made, but are curious to try

As I shared last weekend, Mince Pies are on my list of recipes to try and with the generosity of a TSLL British reader who now lives in the countryside in France sharing with me her recipe, I have even more encouragement to give it a go sooner than I thought. Thank you Kameela! 🙂

5. Travel with your ears back into history or to an imaginative place

Subscribe to Audible (enjoy the first 30 days for free) and listen to that book which you want to read, but doubt you will be able to stick with due to its length (not its content). Turn it on while you putter around the house, sit and relax and just be. I will be beginning the 50 hours of listening of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, and when I want a break from history, listening to Writers & Lovers.

6. Spruce up your stationery game

Receiving holiday cards this year feels more special than before as it is a connection to people I have not been able to see, and to know someone out there is thinking of you, just warms the heart. Even without the excuse of holiday card writing, shop around and find your signature stationery, a lovely pen, design your own return labels and organize a place in your home office for these supplies, situated in such a way to beckon you to write more often just because.

I just came across Erisha Rubingh’s stationery which remind me of Inslee, and as Inslee no longer sells cards (I used to love her Merci cards for my go-to Thank You), I have a feeling I will be welcoming this design into my office for regular correspondence (but this one caught my eye as well – bien sûr!). (check out her phone cases as well)

7. Gift yourself with the best planner for your way of living

Our lives change, our responsibilities change, we grow more comfortably into who we are, and so how we plan and live our days needs to dance with the lives we love living. I have vascillated back and forth and sideways to different styles of planners over the years. My most recent planner of choice for business and life has been Poketo’s Project planner; however, after two years of carrying around two planners – one for my personal life and another for my business, I want nothing more than to simplify. When I came across Appointed‘s planners, I had found what I needed to do both in one yearly weekly planner. (you can also find them at Nordstrom)

8. Gift yourself with a Masterclass subscription (and share one with someone else)

Recently a TSLL reader shared with me her enthusiastic recommendation of subscribing to Masterclass and taking a class taught by Poilâne’s owner Apollonia Poilâne as well as sharing the second subscription (for a limited time, you can buy two for the price of one) with her daughter. After scrolling through all of the courses, I think I may be gifting myself with this one too.

9. Begin a home project to improve the comfort and peace in your sanctuary

While I had hoped to be doing just this during my Thanksgiving holiday, I am crossing my fingers I am able to begin wallpapering my primary bedroom by the end of the year. But perhaps the unexpected wait time was a good occurrence as it solidified my decision and made me all the more excited to lighten up my sleeping space, create a bit more of a cozy welcome and make it my own.

Choose a project – large or small – which has been speaking to you as a change which will draw a sigh of pleasure and a smile of delight upon viewing it and living amongst it.

10. Turn on a cooking video series you have been wanting to enjoy

Whether luxuriating in Nigella’s new series Cook, Eat, Repeat on BBC or exploring the archives of The French Chef with Julia Child, whether to learn or simply to enjoy in the ambiance, sounds of the sizzle and discussions about food, such viewing is one of my favorite ways to savor just being in my home. Below are a few more series to explore (and of course, I can’t help but mention – The Simply Luxurious Kitchen – all three seasons are available here on the blog as well as on YouTube). Please do share a series you enjoy and would recommend.

Wishing you a wonderful week and a half of holiday celebration and cozying in. Stop by this Friday for the final This & That of 2020, (the free monthly newsletter will arrive in subscribers’ inboxes this Friday as well) and look for a week of round-up posts sharing the top posts and podcast episodes of the year beginning on Monday December 28th.



25 thoughts on “10 Things To Do at Home During a Lockdown Winter Holiday

  1. What a wealth of lovely ideas! One of your readers recommended “The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson (which I’m enjoying so much) so I’m going to listen to the Churchill book on Audible as a follow-up.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I remember that! Thank you for reminding me. Regarding the Churchill book I will be listening to, evidentially the author gained access to new diaries/journals released from the Queen’s archives detailing Churchill’s conversations with the king. The first time included in any book, so excited to see what they may share. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you a cozy holidays. 😌

  2. Shannon,

    When you wrote about gardening and lovely old films (Indiscreet is one of my favorites!) and Audrey Hepburn, I had to immediately comment and share with you a series that I’m planning to re-watch very soon:

    https://smile.amazon.com/Gardens-Audrey-Hepburn-Special-Tribute/dp/B000H6SXS8/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=gardens+of+the+world+dvd&qid=1608727577&sr=8-5

    My set of Gardens of the World is on VHS (!) so I don’t have some of the special features in this edition, and I don’t know if it’s available via streaming service, but I can’t think of a better treat for us gardeners to enjoy during a winter holiday. 🙂

    Merry Christmas to you, your parents, and Oscar and Norman! I hope you have a lovely visit, and a happy, healthy, peaceful 2021. Thank you for all that you have shared this year to make our lives so much sweeter, despite the challenges.

    1. Debby, Gardens of The World sounds like a wonderful series to enjoy. I will see if I can find it. Thank you for the link to the Audrey series as well. Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you for your continued readership over the years.

  3. Hi Shannon,
    Both of your boys look so adorable and soft! Ready to go for Christmas!
    Hope you all have a safe and a very Merry Christmas with your parents!!!
    My husband and I will be home just the two of us. But we will enjoy a ham dinner, a couple Christmas shows and bake cookies! The day might involve a cocktail too!

  4. Thanks for these great recommendations Shannon – I just love the Erisha stationery. They’ll make great birthday gifts for girlfriends this year. It will just be three of us this year as our youngest son is staying in MT. Luckily all of his packages made it up there so we’ll open stockings together on FaceTime:) and have a cocktail together on Christmas Eve. Hope you have a lovely time with your parents and the boys. Thanks for all the joy you share throughout the year with all of us. Joyeux Noel!!

  5. Lovely ideas Shannon. Oscar is looking handsome indeed😊. I guess they’ll be a bit spoilt. How wonderful to be spending Xmas with your parents. We’ll be two for Xmas and plan to have a barbecue just for a change. This year has been about doing things out of the norm. Of course there will be lots of mince pies! I love “Quartet” Dame Maggie Smith is such a treasure and might just watch it again. Thank you for the reminder . Have a wonderful time😊

    1. Kameela, I will pass that along to Oscar. 😌 Wishing you and your husband a wonderful Christmas barbecue. Doing something different will stretch our perspective and clarify perhaps what really makes Christmas and each of our holidays most special. All my best.

  6. Great list of ideas, Shannon, thank you so much. Because the Health Office in BC has extended our state of emergency until mid-January, meaning no social gatherings, no unessential travel etc, my husband & I are using that as an excuse to have our “own” Christmas with just the two of us & I’m embarrassed to admit how much we’re looking forward to it. Both of our families are wonderful, but mine’s not nearby & his tends to involve a lot of high drama, noise & kids underfoot & just the thought of a quiet day spent snuggling on the sofa with the cat & an abundance of good food & good movies has made us realize we need to take steps to make THIS our annual Christmas ritual & stay in touch with family in other ways. If ever there was a silver living in this pandemic, this is it. I’ll also be spending the week between Christmas & NY as I always do, prepping for the coming year: filing & year-end paperwork, computer tidied up (both digitally & physically — the masses of cat hair I dig out of my keyboard is amazing!), new planner set up, and of course lists, lists, lists — which is where the lists YOU gave us fit in! Things to do, things to study & learn, seeds to plant, house projects to take on, plans & ideas & hopes & dreams 🙂

    May you & yours have a wonderful peace-filled Christmas, may Santa be good to you & may all your readers stay safe & well.

    1. Susanne, thank you so much for sharing what you both are discovering and desiring to do moving forward. I would be looking forward to your type of Christmas this year EACH year as well. It sounds quite ideal. ☺️ Wishing a wonderful Between The Years as well. Such a restorative and time to freshen up or lighten up if you will. Thank you for the well wishes for all and to you and your family as well. 😌💛

  7. And I forgot to mention that I made “your” yeasted stollen and it is (was!) wonderful. I gave half to our neighbour in a rush of Christmas generosity I’m almost regretting & I’m not remotely embarrassed to tell you we’ve already eaten the rest ourselves, the fact we usually avoid sugar & baked goodies notwithstanding! Neither of us has suffered any ill effects (I usually get a sugar-rush headache if I indulge) & Husband is making noises about trying his hand at making more next week. You may have created a monster!

  8. Love these ideas, Shannon, and thanks for the reminder about purchasing seeds early this year. And speaking of gardening and projects, just yesterday I cleared out the old garden patch and mucked out the extension. (The neighbor looked over the fence and said, “What are you making?” “A mess.” I replied. “I’m making a mess.” 😄) Yes to the new book on Churchill. And it might be time to give Audible a go since my To-Be-Read shelf is absolutely groaning from the stacks of books! Erisha Rubingh’s art is so lovely and delicate, I’m thinking of getting some of her wrapping paper and framing it up for the walls. The Mister and I are celebrating happily alone for the holidays. Tonight are “nibblies”(cheeses and fancy crackers and fig jam and proscuitto, and wine, of course) and tomorrow we do a lasagna. I make the bolognese, he builds the lasagna. Oscar looks quite fetching, Norman is looking cute & roguish, as usual, and I love that you and the boys will be spending your holiday with your parents. May your Christmas be merry & bright. Love to all. XOXO

    1. Working outside during this time of year is just a gift and feel soooo good, doesn’t it? ☺️ I have no doubt your mess will be beautiful in the coming months. What a great idea to frame her wrapping paper. Erisha’s work is just lovely. Your holiday festivities sound wonderful and incredibly delicious. Wishing you well and grateful for your comment. 💛

  9. Shannon,

    Thanks for the great ideas. I loved Lily King’s “Writers and Lovers” and wondered if you’d read her “Euphoria” and “The Pleasing Hour.” I’m working my way through all her books.

    Wishing you the merriest of Christmases!

    Best,
    Kristen

    1. Kristen, thank you for sharing the titles of Lily King’s book and your recommendation. Writers & Lovers is the first of her books I have read (am reading), and now knowing her previously written titles are recommended to explore as well, I will be sure to do so. Thank you again! ☺️

  10. Just curious, if anyone wants to partner up with me for the Masterclass offer of 2 for 1 to split the cost? I’m probably going to subscribe but don’t know of anyone who would really want the other subscription. I’m looking forward to the Appolonia Poilane and Thomas Keller lessons!

  11. Thank you for these ideas Shannon. I intend to try your tomato soup recipe this week. I absolutely loved Call Me By Your Name when I saw it. I too will be pottering in the garden this week – when the snow clears! Snow in England! – and planning for next year. I’d love some raised beds at the end full of cosmos and sweet peas.
    I hope you’re enjoying this festive season
    Sarah

  12. Hello Shannon…I just got back here and saw you’ll be listening to the Churchill, wonderful! I’m still making my way through and loving its profound lessons, alternating with Marjorie Allingham mysteries to go with winter’s chilly walks, big fires and treats of Madeira and cookies from time to time! Happy week-between to you and yours, with very heartfelt gratitude for your warm, embracing, inspiring work…what a blessing you are! May 2021 bring you ever greater joys. -Liz

    1. Liz, I have been meaning to comment as soon as I read your words, I searched Marjorie Allingham and have put the first book of the series on my list! They look like such a fun read and a series too! 🙂 Thank you for sharing all that you will be enjoying as winter holidays unfold. Yes, I have been delightfully listening to Walking With Destiny and have found myself writing down different insights as I go along. Thank you again for the recommendation!

      1. Hello! Just saw your comment after spending time in the wonderful Cuppa Moments for January….so I commented there also ‘bout our marvelous Mr. Churchill…..sorry for duplication. Thanks for the lovely note here ❤️ Campion series gets better with each book (so far!)

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