We Asked How You Were Trying to Make Sure the Holidays Felt Real This Year, and Now We Know You Still Have That Holiday Spirit

The holidays are about all coming together and celebrating. You know, crazy uncles, spilling eggnog, crying babies — all that good stuff. But this year, as we all know, things are going to look a little different. (Hey, at least you won’t have to travel during the holiday rush!). While some of us might be dreading a holiday season that looks like nothing we’ve ever experienced before, here at Scary Mommy, we’re going into it with a can-do spirit. Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? We asked our readers how they were planning on making the holidays feel real this year, and your answers warmed our hearts.

While one of our followers said they still have Halloween decorations up (keep the faith, sister!), it looks like people are taking the opportunity to get an early start on Christmas. They call it the most wonderful time of the year for a reason, so it’s no surprise that everyone’s eager to start the festivities and create new family memories. And what constitutes “festivities” in 2020? A little bit of everything.

One great holiday tradition that you seem to be eager for is Christmas movies. Folks are firing up their streams, hunkering down under a blanket, and kicking off the holiday season by checking in with one of the classic movies that put the tinsel in Tinseltown. And there are so many beloved Christmas flicks that basically any excuse is good enough to dive into the couch with a cup of hot tea. Done with work? Christmas movie. Finished the dishes? Christmas movie. Can’t decide on a non-Christmas movie to watch with your partner? Well ya KNOW that’s gonna be a Christmas movie.

Many others spoke up for their excitement for Christmas music–no matter what’s going on in the world, a holiday tune or two brings us right back to family and good cheer. Every year folks like to joke that the stores put on their Christmas music earlier and earlier, but 2020 finally broke all resistance. The sleigh bells started jingling in the beginning of November, nobody’s complaining and nobody’s looking back. And it makes sense — you need more things in your life that bring you joy, and science has proven that “All I Want For Christmas Is You” brings joy. Now Mariah Carey is stuck in your head. You’re welcome. You all have spoken, and the music has begun. We’re doing it!

Which brings us to the centerpiece of everyone’s holiday prep: the Christmas tree. Many in the comments talked about how they couldn’t wait to get the tree up this year. And why wait? The second you bring your fresh tree inside, it just smells like the holidays and that sweet fragrance ain’t going away for at least a month. Let’s face it: in the most practical terms, nothing says “it’s the holidays” like the sight and fresh scent of a real Christmas tree in your living room. It’s the centerpiece of all the decorations and it’s the focal point of the celebrations.

The journey to find the perfect pine or fabulous fir makes for a great family outing. Nothing compares to the fun and excitement of going to a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm, but just make sure you know how to break it to the little ones that that massive Scotch Pine they’re clamoring for is a little too big for your house. But hey, if you lose that battle, you’ll always have a lifelong family Christmas tale of the time mommy and daddy fit an 12-footer inside the house. And if you’re not going the choose-and-cut route and paying a visit to a seasonal vendor, always make sure that puppy is securely fastened to the roof of your car. Most importantly for many this year, it’s what comes after you’ve picked out your perfect tree–the ornaments, the cards, and the gifts that surround the Christmas tree itself–that remind us that holding your family close doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody has to be in the same room.

Once you’ve picked out your tree, now it’s time to decorate! Think of the box of decorations that sits in the attic all year–a combination of family heirlooms, children’s crafts, and cheesy knickknacks that perfectly embodies the shared experience of the time we get to spend around the Christmas tree that we wait for all year. Decorating your Christmas tree is a perfect way to wear your heart on your sleeve and let the physical surroundings of your home reflect the connections to loved ones that you treasure the most–all with your Christmas tree standing tall, front and center. One of our readers left an amazing comment about a new tradition that she’s kicking off this year: she’s sending all of her many aunts and uncles a Christmas tree ornament with a Christmas card saying how much her family is thinking of them. What an amazing idea! And it gets right to the heart of why ornaments are held so dear- they combine the fun of Christmas culture with all the sentiment of family tradition centered around the Christmas tree. And there’s a practical angle as well–another reader is stocking up on shatterproof ornaments because there’s a new addition to the family: Oreo the Cat! So even if everyone can’t be together around the tree this year, we can still decorate our trees with reminders of people we’ll get to see next year.

We had a tremendous number of commenters committed to getting their real Christmas trees picked out, purchased, and on display at the earliest possible date. The tradition of picking out a tree with your family, whether it’s a safe family nature outing to a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm or an outdoor seasonal retail lot, or even to your local hardware store or garden center, is the moment that kicks off the season for most families and unlocks all of our other holiday traditions. Here’s hoping that all of the great holiday activities that you’ve shared bring you a sense of happiness and family love.

It’s Christmas. Keep it Real! helps create lasting memories by bringing the holiday season inside. Find a retailer of real Christmas trees near you at