10 Things to Do to Experience the Holidays – Single, SAHM, & Everyone in Between

If you’re like me and *LOVE* the holidays the way Buddy loves maple syrup, then you might not need this list of fun things to do with family, friends, or a fine guy.  

But I lived in Atlanta for YEARS, and never did half of these things!  Why?  Is there a good reason to not experience the holidays? (The answer is no.)

I mean I was single.  I had time.  I had a little bit of money, ha!  I really had no excuse.

What I figured out is that I didn’t think about it.  I only thought about being invited to things.  I focused on what others were doing or not doing.

I thought about how my married friends were able to go to things that I “couldn’t”.  I thought about doing the things that seemed like what other single people were doing.  And quite frankly, I didn’t like it. 

I didn’t want to do those things.  Especially if the word ‘single’ was associated with it.  It’s like it was rubbing my nose in it.  

Thankfully, in my early 30’s, I started to realize I didn’t have to wait to be married to do this stuff and I didn’t have to do the ‘single’ things either.  I could stop putting everything into an expectation box or label, and I could simply experience my life and enjoy it.  Because I’m a human. Not because I fit into a box or label.

In other words…I was making it harder than it needed to be!  

You might have your own excuses. You’re single. You’re married. You have young kids. You have teen kids. You have no kids. Everyone can see their circumstance as an obstacle or an opportunity. It’s really up to you.

So now, as an expert Experience Life woman, coach, and blogger, I want to pass along some fun holiday things you can do.  Invite a friend, a family member or a fine guy to it.  Make a friend there. It really doesn’t matter. The point is to experience life in real life – not experience Netflix and Instagram versions.  

**This list will fit most metro areas. If you live in a town of 3k, then I encourage you to modify and drive to the closest city to partake in this fun**

9 Holiday Experiences To Do

1. The Nutcracker (or any musical/ballet performance) – this can be a local high school production or the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  You get to figure out your budget and interests.  No matter what, enjoy the decor, the music, and treat yourself to a hot cocoa even if you live near palm trees. Here’s the link to one I found in the Atlanta area.  

2. Christmas Carol – This is similar to the last one except…it has to be this story!  The message is so sweet and so powerful.  Between the storyline, the decor, the production, and the time of year, you can’t help but leaving feeling full of joy and wonder.  Click here for the local Atlanta one I found.  

3. Atlanta Botanical Garden Lights – Yes!!!   Check out your local botanical gardens for light shows and hot cocoa.  This is NOT just for the families or those with kids.  There are some great ones.  Pack up your car and go.  Here is the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and here’s the one for Callaway Gardens.  

4. Neighborhood Lights – This is my favorite.  Very similar to the Garden Lights except cheaper and sometimes more entertaining!  People are OBSESSED with their holiday lights.  It’s SO Fun!  Last year, my phenomenal realtor, Evin Earnhart, gave her people a list of neighborhood lights and we checked about four off the list.  Every one was worth money and yet free.  Again, pack up your car and go! (Plus, if you’re dating and you DO invite a fine guy to this, he will love the opportunity to get a little snuggle time as you drive.)

5. Shopping & Santa House  – If you’re in the Atlanta area, you can check out The Avalon for a great outdoor shopping experience plus a Santa House.  They also have an ice skating rink and train for kids.  I hear that the Hotel Avalon also does Santa Tuck-Ins and the South City Kitchen does a Breakfast With Santa! But getting to why this is worth it…because you have to shop anyway.  Doing everything online keeps you disconnected.  Take at least one day or night to stroll slowly through a shopping area with your bags, get you that chai latte, and slow down.  Take in the people. Take in the lights. The smell. The fresh air. The faces.  You are a human on this planet.  Be present for your life.  

6. Asheville Road trip – (Biltmore & Grovepark Inn are amazing at Christmas!) If you don’t like food, wine, history, decorations, or nature, don’t go to Asheville.  Everywhere you turn, you’ll fall in love with something.  The beautiful Bed & Breakfast Inns like this one D and I stayed in one year (dog friendly); Grove Park Inn – the beautiful historical resort and spa that has amazing Cocoa and the National Gingerbread House contest; the Biltmore – the largest, oldest mansion in the United States is majestic any time of year but goes next level at Christmas; and then there’s countless restaurants, hiking trails, and shops.  This is 100% worth a flight too.  Even from the west coast.  

Get a Hot Chocolate, check out the Gingerbread National Finalists and sit by the fire at Grove Park Inn even if you don’t stay there!

7. Ice Skating (Avalon, Downtown, or Ice Arena) – some of y’all are going to ignore this one, but I want you to think about how you can experience it.  Do you want downtown with a show?  In a suburb with shopping?  An ice arena that means business?  Ice Skating is a wonderful way to get moving without seeming like exercise.  Plus, afterwards…you get to drink hot cocoa!  We went last year to an indoor one where the local hockey team practices. Loved it even more than the outdoor ones simply because it seemed less crowded and had smoother ice.

8. Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar – Yep, set one up for your family, a small group, a neighborhood group, your tribe, or your fine guy.  You can’t go wrong.  You can add an adult beverage to it, make it in a crockpot ahead of time, basically…it’s a fun thing to do with and for anyone.  Here’s one I found on Pinterest a couple of years ago and did for the kids last year.

9. Volunteer at a local school or shelter for holiday events – so many schools need all hands on deck for their school activities.  Yep, even now.  I’m volunteering at a local school to help kids “shop” for some things to give to their families for Christmas.  I’ll be an official Reindeer Helper in the Reindeer Lane.  You could wrap gifts, give gifts, feed teachers, feed kids, dress up as Santa…so many ideas.  Reach out to local ministries, non-profits, and schools to help you find an opportunity.  I’m so fortunate to be part of a church that does it for us.  Click here if you want to check out their list.  

10. Small Town Experience – We recently stumbled upon the cutest small town at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. It was decked out with lights, Christmas Carolers, musicians, decorations, bakery & hot chocolate, cute boutiques and cafes. We ate at Clayton Cafe & had some delicious Southern comfort food like potato soup, hamburger steak, cinnamon apples, and cauliflower casserole. YES PLEASE!! Going at night gave an added experience to it since all the lights were lit up and there were more festivities going on. There are tons of small towns you can drive 45-60 minutes outside of your city and experience. Plus, it helps those small towns survive. And, if you’re in the Atlanta area, head to Clayton, GA. You won’t regret it.

Remember – you create your experience of life so put down the phone, turn off the Netflix, and GO! Go experience the holidays in REAL LIFE.

What else would you add to this list? Let me know! And happy holidays!