How to get into the holiday spirit: 25 ways in 25 days

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

The holidays are officially here, and the countdown to Christmas is on.

Nowadays, the Christmas season is being celebrated throughout the month, not just one day. Some days are even becoming dedicated to specific aspects of the holiday, such as Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

If you're looking for a new tradition to get into the holiday spirit -- or just trying to figure out how you'll fit it all in -- look no further. Here's how you can celebrate the countdown to Christmas!

Dec. 1: Deck the halls with boughs of holly

'Tis the season to be jolly, and decorating your home early serves as a great visual reminder throughout the season. Besides, if you haven't gotten your tree yet, experts are advising everyone to get them early this year.

Dec. 2: Start shopping

Cyber Monday will be in full swing! One way to decrease stress and enjoy the holidays more is to avoid procrastinating. Use this day of deals to make sure everyone on your list is covered.

Dec. 3: Crank the holiday tunes

I don't want a lot for Christmas ... except an epic playlist! Make the holidays even more special by having one ready for whenever the occasion arises.

Dec. 4: Join a cookie exchange for Cookie Day

The ultimate way to fully enjoy Cookie Day is, of course, with a whole bunch of cookies. Attend (or host!) a holiday cookie swap to maximize the gooey goodness.

RELATED: Six awesome recipes for your holiday cookie party

Dec. 5: Watch a Christmas special on TV

Good grief, there are a lot of specials on TV this time of year. One of the most popular is "A Charlie Brown Christmas, which airs on ABC Thursday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT).

RELATED: ABC's holiday lineup

RELATED: 25 Days of Christmas schedule on Freeform

Dec. 6: See a movie as a family

December is one of the most exciting times of the year for the box office, especially for families. One of this season's biggest family flicks, Frozen 2, is in theaters now!

Dec. 7: Give back

Whether you donate toys or volunteer at a local soup kitchen, giving back is a great way to avoid the consumeristic chaos and celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season.

RELATED: Disney Media Networks, Toys for Tots team up for World's Ultimate Toy Drive

Dec. 8: Elf on the Shelf

There are millions of Elf on the Shelf dolls out there, and it doesn't stop with the elf -- there's also Mensch on a Bench and even Hide-and-Hug Olaf. This list of 17 Elf on the Shelf ideas for lazy parents will last you from this day until Christmas Eve.

Dec. 9: Send seasons greetings on Christmas Card Day

Christmas Card Day might feel like it comes a little early in the month, but don't forget that cards take time to travel. You don't want to be that person whose card arrives just in time, do you? (But if you do, the U.S. Postal Service suggests sending it by Dec. 14).

Dec. 10: Have a cozy night in

Anyone who doesn't take time to be cozy around Christmas isn't getting the full experience. Put on your Christmas PJs and spend the night by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

Dec. 11: Write a letter to Santa

Channel your inner child and let Old Saint Nick know what you really want this year.

Dec. 12: Celebrate Gingerbread House Day

Break out the gingerbread and let your imagination run wild. A simple house will do the trick, but if you want to get fancy, draw some inspiration from last year's entries in the National Gingerbread House Competition!

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Child Second Place: David and Trenton Hodges, Asheville, NC
Credit: The Omni Grove Park Inn

Dec. 13: Have a Christmas movie marathon

Gather your family (or a group of friends) and vote on your favorite Christmas movies, then watch them all!

RELATED: Favorite Christmas movies by state

Dec. 14: Take advantage of Free Shipping Day

Dec. 14 is a great day to finish up shopping for long-distance friends and family. It's the last day to get free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve, otherwise known as Free Shipping Day. Hundreds of retailers participate.

Dec. 15: Pick your favorite festive outdoor activity

December might be one of the coldest months, but that's no excuse to spend the whole time inside! From festivals and markets to winter sports, there are plenty of outdoor activities that will refresh you and get you in a festive mood.

Dec. 16: Play a game as a family

Games might feel like an unconventional way to get in the Christmas spirit, but they're an easy way to unplug and live in the moment. Things start to get pretty hectic in the middle of the month, so set aside a few hours to unwind.

Dec. 17: Tour your neighborhood's Christmas lights

Hop in your car (or stroll around the block) and see if you can find the wildest, wackiest Christmas lights near you. For even more Christmas lights craziness, check out "The Great Christmas Light Fight" on ABC.

RELATED: Holiday decorating do's and don'ts from The Great Christmas Light Fight

Dec. 18: Perform a random act of kindness

What's a better way to embody the holiday than to spread a little Christmas magic for someone else? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Dec. 19: Make a holiday craft

Add a special touch to your holiday get-together with handmade place cards or DIY ornaments for guests.

Dec. 20: Celebrate Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Once just for your quirky aunt, ugly Christmas Sweaters are now a trendy art form with their own special day. This year, that day is Dec. 21.

RELATED: What you should know to pick out the perfect ugly Christmas sweater

Dec. 21: Make plans for after the holidays

Whether it's something as epic as a bucket-list vacation or something as simple as dinner plans with a friend you haven't seen in awhile, schedule something for 2020. Having something to look forward to will lessen the post-holiday blues.

Dec. 22: Learn to make a traditional family recipe

Learning to make mom's casserole is a rite of passage, and she'll be honored! Or if you want to see if you can find a new favorite family dish, check out our recipe page for inspiration.

Dec. 23: Document your favorite family traditions

Part of what makes the holidays so special are the traditions that are unique to your family, whether it's a funny game to open presents, an annual light-hearted prank or a ritual that makes sense to no one else. Take the time to interview each member of your family to ask what their favorite unique family tradition is. Write down their answers or record them speaking so you can look back at it someday.

RELATED: What you need to know about Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us

Dec. 24: Track Santa's journey with the NORAD Santa tracker

Tracking Santa's movements is not just for kids! With the NORAD Santa tracker, you can watch as Christmas arrives arounds the world.

Dec. 25: Savor the day -- you've earned it!