To offset some of the inevitable joyless activities involved in holiday planning—racking up credit card charges, dealing with in-laws, trying to pull off that gold sequin blazer without looking like Liberace—InStyle staffers are sharing their favorite ways to get in the mood for merrymaking.
1. "Create a comprehensive Spotify playlist consisting solely of non-denominational holiday songs by Adam Sandler, Mariah Carey, Run-D.M.C., and the like. Listen to it on infinite loop"—Claire Stern, InStyle Assistant Editor
2. "Burn a pine-scented candle! Tocca Chamonix ($45; tocca.com) is a new favorite. You can enjoy the olfactive benefits of a tree without having to sweep up a single needle."—Dianna Mazzone, InStyle Beauty Assistant
3. "Take a walk around your town to check out all the light displays. Every year, I come up with an imaginary rating system and name first, second, and third-place. But this proves challenging since I live near the phosphorescent spectacular that is Fifth Avenue in New York. They keep getting better every year!"—Sharon Clott Kanter, InStyle Senior Editor
4. "Start listening to music from The Nutcracker. The definition of holiday magic is the 'Waltz of the Snowflakes.' I mean, going to Lincoln Center for the big show is a real way to get on the fast-track to feeling festive, but tickets are almost always sold out by this time of year. The sweet melodies of Tchaikovsky will have to do from your office headphones."—Danielle Prescod, InStyle Accessories Editor
5. "Make hot chocolate from scratch(ish) by stirring one of these chocolate sticks from Ticket Chocolate ($18 for 4 servings; ticketchocolate.com) in a cup of hot milk. I love the chai flavor, but they have a full range from classic to peppermint. Bonus points for gourmet marshmallows."—Anne Kim, InStyle Lifestyle Editor
6. "I drape a real pine garland in my apartment. I hang it over my doorways, arrange it over my benches and consoles, and then I sprinkle white twinkle lights in a few of them. Immediately, my home evokes a snowy winter forest, and brings on a cozy holiday vibe."—Angelique Serrano, InStyle Beauty Director
7. "I’m all about apple cider when the days get cold and dark. I like simmering it on the stove with cinnamon sticks. It tastes delicious, but it also makes my house smell great."—Sheryl George, InStyle Beauty Editor
8. "Stay in your pajamas all day and watch the marathon of sappy movies on Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel (the actors are always an amazing lineup of '90s or early-aughts stars, like Joey Lawrence). Hangover is optional."
Maura Lynch, InStyle Senior Beauty Editor
9. "I go into deep comfort mode during the holidays, and I love lazing about in cashmere loungewear, which makes me feel really comfy but sophisticated. I have some J.Crew cashmere leggings that I love, and a hoodie that I sometimes try to wear to work, but that doesn't go very well."—Joanna Bober, InStyle Lifestyle Director
10. "As much as we’d like to think the holiday isn’t just about presents...c’mon! The first present I give every year is a special ornament to each of my children, which I love shopping for—it really gets me in the holiday spirit. It represents something they love at the moment, a trip we took this year or another special memory. When they unwrap them, I know the holidays are here. Now that they’re 10 and 7, the tree is decorated with all of their special ornaments from different phases in their life."—Selene Milano, InStyle.com Senior Beauty Editor