How to Spend the Holidays in a Rental

It’s the time of year when we turn our spaces into a winter wonderland, unplug, and spend as much time as possible with family and friends. However, if you’re spending the holidays in a rental, away from loved ones and your usual traditions, it all may look different to you. The good news: being in a new space doesn’t mean you have to give up those traditions or pass on celebrating altogether. Read on for a few tips that’ll make spending the holidays in a rental feel like home.

Decorate your rental

Being in a different space during the holidays may have you feeling homesick or out of place. Try decorating your home to uplift your spirits. After all, it’s the decor that makes our homes really feel like the holidays. If your rental is smaller than you’re used to, you can still incorporate your favorite decorations—just scale it back (try decorating the mantle vs. floor space). But if you have more room than usual, size up your decor or add a few more pieces that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. 

Go with a winter theme (think twinkle lights, snowflakes, and pine cone wreaths) or decorate specifically for the holiday you celebrate. Here’s how:  


Decorate your rental with a menorah, blue table runners, Hanukkah-themed garland, or small touches, like blue candle holders and silver starbursts. 


The staple of all Christmas decorations is, of course, the Christmas tree—let it be the centerpiece in your space. And if you don’t have room or don’t want the hassle, a tabletop tree is a great stand-in. 


Light your Kinara and incorporate traditional African elements and homemade decor in your rental, like a wreath made with kente fabric. Add plenty of blacks, reds, and greens.

New Year

Bring in glitz and sparkle with confetti, disco balls, and metallic balloons. It’s a fun (and stylish) way to watch the ball drop and bring in the new year at home—don’t forget the party horns and champagne flutes. 

Recreate Family Traditions

Missing out on your usual family traditions? Recreate them (or start new ones!). If you’re used to family-style dinners, try it on a smaller scale with the people you’re with—prepare everyone’s favorite dish and eat together around the dinner table. 

Even if you’re alone, you can still participate in traditions. Cook something you’d typically have during the holidays and enjoy it with friends or family over a video call. This is a great way to see your loved ones’ faces, get in a few laughs, and hear those funny stories that come up every year. 

Host a holiday party

It’s easy to feel lonely when you’re by yourself during the holidays—here are some ways to shake the feeling. For starters, there’s a good chance you’ve made a few new friends during your time away. Call them over for a holiday-themed movie night. Watch the classics and play a few games that remind you of home. 

Have extended family nearby? Decorate, bring out the snacks, and invite them over for a holiday party. If your rental is on the smaller side, don’t worry. Rearrange your common area to maximize the space. For a dinner party, center your dining table in the room. And for mingling or dancing, push your larger furniture against the wall. 

Spending the holidays in a rental may be different than what you’re used to, but it doesn’t have to stop the show. In fact, it’s the perfect way to get creative in your space, up your decorating game, and find new ways to connect with the people you love most.

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