How to Actually Enjoy the Holidays

By Kevin Gibbons & Melissa Tosetti

Too often we focus so much on what it takes to make the holidays happen for others that we neglect to think about how to enjoy the holidays ourselves.  With that in mind consider taking part in at least one of the following seasonal activities.

Holiday TV

Never underestimate the pleasure of watching holiday specials.  While there are dozens of classics like “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” new ones are being made all the time.  You might discover a brand-new favorite this year.

Outdoor Décor

Pick a night to take a walk or a drive through an especially decorated area.  In Melissa’s home town of Fresno, California, Christmas Tree Lane is a tradition that’s been around since the 1920s.  While that two mile stretch is an over the top example of holiday decor, most cities have at least one or two areas that are easily discoverable.


In an overconnected digital world, caroling is a practice that deserves a comeback.  Grab a couple of friends or family members and start singing.  Being able to actually carry a tune is a bonus.

Ice Skating

Instant holiday mood booster.

Hot Cocoa

We’re not talking about anything that you pour out of an envelope.  Enjoy a truly decadent cup of hot chocolate with real milk, cocoa, just a bit of sugar and your favorite topping!  If you’re so inclined a dash of dark rum, coffee liquor or brandy adds an additional spike of cheer.

Holiday Magic and Toys

One of the best traditions to come out of the last decade is the Elf on a Shelf concept.  In the Tosetti house there’s a twist.  Instead of an Elf on a Shelf, Dante Tosetti’s toys come to life in the middle of the night and get into all kinds of shenanigans.  Their tradition was inspired by Dinovember.


Another important consideration for enjoying the holidays is managing expectations – both yours and your family’s. As you approach the holiday season, take a close look at the plans you are making, especially the ones that require you to do the execution. Maybe you really don’t need to hand-craft an entire nativity set, fabricate home-made ornaments and prepare three 20-course meals. In all seriousness, look at how much time you want to spend preparing and doing and make sure your plans fit into that time window. Remember that the holiday time is time to be with and enjoy family and friends, not to run around completing impressive projects.

Share the Work

For the projects and activities you do decide on, enlist family members in their planning and execution. Not only does this help share the workload and prevent your burnout, but it lets them be part of the rituals and traditions. It makes the celebration about the family as a whole rather than an event with one producer.

Purposeful Traditions

Finally, when planning the holiday rituals and traditions, ask yourself and your family if these traditions really do belong as a part of your family celebration. Tastes and interests change. Children grow up. What was once an essential part of the holidays might have lost its resonance with your family. If so, retire it and establish and embrace a new tradition. Keeping an old, unappreciated ritual past its time makes for a great seasonal story in your favorite sit-com, but it can be awkward and lead to feelings of resentment in real life. Again, enjoying the holidays is about enjoying the time with friends and family. Pick the activities that will provide that enjoyment for all of you.


Melissa Tosetti and Kevin Gibbons are the co-founder of The Savvy Life and authors of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, they have worked with over 545 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa and Kevin also work with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa and Kevin work with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa and Kevin work with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page