Holiday Tips: 54 Ways We’re Making the Holidays Feel Special This Year

For my D.C.-area family, the must-order meal delivery this year has become Officina Provisions, from local chef Nick Stefanelli, who presides over some of the area’s finest Italian kitchens. Designed to deliver a week’s worth of quality dishes straight to your doorstep, each kit includes oven-ready prepared meals, premium cuts from the Officina butcher, fresh local produce, and other extras, like artisan baked bread or the ability to add on a curated selection of top-notch wines. Each box feeds a family of four, and the restaurants deliver throughout D.C. proper, northern Virginia, and Maryland. —C.Q.

Yes, you can get your holiday meal prepared by one of the best restaurants in the world. Since the pandemic began closing down restaurants all over America, Dan Barber began putting together farm boxes from Stone Barns (not only a regular fixture on world’s best restaurant lists, but also a leading light in a resurgent American farming movement). For Thanksgiving they included hazelnut and mushroom stuffing, koginut squash soup, honeynut pumpkin pie, and roasted half turkey (there’s a whole menu but those are a few highlights). You can also order one of their pasture-raised turkeys to cook yourself. I picked one up a couple years ago and I can verify it is worth the much-elevated price tag over what you pay at the grocery store. If you’re in New York City, Tarrytown, NY, or Sharon, CT, check back on their website in December to see what they’re cooking up for Christmas and New Year’s. —Noah Kaufman, editor, city guides

Rediscover your own surroundings

My fiancé and I were supposed to go to London this year, which didn’t pan out. It’s a bummer for many reasons, but chief among them because I’m really interested in Medieval history, something the city is incredibly rich in. To substitute, we’ll head to the Met Cloisters in Washington Heights, which showcases European Medieval art and architecture, to see the famed Unicorn Tapestries and other works. I’m also planning to order these incredible Unicorn’s Garden pajamas from Printfresh that I’ve recently discovered, to help stay on theme. —Betsy Blumenthal, associate editor

In a true holiday miracle, I was actually able to take my family to see A Christmas Carol this year. Our local theater, the Center for the Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, New York, managed to pull off an outdoor version of the classic show. We watched with delight from the comfort of our car, bundled up with hot chocolate and blankets. —Juliet Izon, contributor

When you have already had a Zoom Passover seder, attended Zoom high holiday services, and a Zoom bar mitzvah, Zoom Chanukah is not so big a deal. We normally spend a few days in December at Whistler, but since Canada is off-limits, we’re going to take my daughters to play in the snow a little in the nearby mountains. It rarely snows in Seattle, so even though it’s only 45 minutes away, it still feels special. —Naomi Tomky, freelance food and travel writer

Plan a local excursion and become inspired by the beauty that surrounds you. Gift one of the Audubon Society Field Guides (one of my mother’s very favorite go-to gifts) and embark on a nature walk with a perfectly packed picnic filled with pre-made personal lunch sacks and your favorite bottle of wine. —Bronson van Wyck, event designer and author of Born to Party, Forced to Work

Van Wyck says to gift an Audubon Society Field Guides to level up the nature walks we’re taking these days. 

Create new traditions

As a Brit based in Los Angeles, we’ll sadly not be making it home for Christmas this year. Instead we’ll head to the beach for a bracing cold-water swim—a family “tradition” that we first instigated over Thanksgiving this year. It feels like this fits somewhere between the icy swims on Christmas Day that happen across the U.K. and summer celebrations on Sydney’s Bondi Beach. We’ll go to Point Dume, a rocky bluff and marine reserve in Malibu, where we’ve never not seen bottlenose dolphins close to the beach, and can sometimes spot grey whales moving south for the winter. —Sam Highly, founder of All Roads North

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