Theme Days Are the Secret to Making All Those Days Stuck at Home Fun Again

published Dec 16, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

As the days become shorter and the year comes to a close, it’s even easier to feel like you’re living in a constant “Groundhog Day”-style loop of sameness. Is today Wednesday or Thursday, or the most Thursday-feeling Wednesday ever? Does it matter at this point? Whether you’re on month who-even-knows-at-this-point of working from home, or juggling more responsibilities than ever (or both!) it can be easy to seek a break from the monotony.

If this is you, and you’ve already baked your way through all the sourdough bread and cookies your kitchen can handle, why not take a page from your school days and institute a theme day in your home?

There are plenty of ways to bring a theme day or spirit day to life—and because you likely don’t have to navigate issues like dress codes, you can go all out with your clothing, makeup, and ambiance. Create playlists on Spotify or Apple Music to set the mood, and invite friends to a Zoom happy hour to see how they’re celebrating. Hang decorations, swap out some lightbulbs for ambiance, or lay out As HerCampus pointed out, some theme days don’t have to be intensive. Meatless Mondays and Pizza Fridays are all ripe for celebrating even if they seem like part of your weekly meal plan. Others, like Backwards Day and Pajama Day, are school staples (though we won’t tell if you’ve already been in your pajamas almost every day this week). It’s important, however, to make sure your theme days don’t appropriate or disrespect a culture or group of people, as the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance resource points out—it’s totally OK to listen to banda or mariachi music on a Taco Tuesday, but please leave the gigantic straw sombrero in storage.

Looking for inspiration for your next theme day? Why not try one of these easy-to-pull-off ideas:

’00s Day

Plenty of teens on TikTok are already mining the frosted lip gloss and velour sweatsuits that defined the early aughts for “aesthetic content”—and plenty of fashion brands are trying to bring low-rise jeans back in earnest. Whether you don a muscle tee, put dozens of butterfly clips in your hair, or blast boy bands all day, you’ll transport yourself back to a simpler, more flip phone-driven time.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen/Kitchn

Apple Day

This one is courtesy of our Editor-in-Chief, Laura, who spent one afternoon baking apple-themed desserts with her husband, and dropped them off at a neighbor’s apartment for a final verdict. If you have a bunch of apples left over from your last grocery haul, this is a good opportunity to try to incorporate apples into every meal, from apple-pie pancakes to apple slices in your lunchtime salad, and more.

Beach Day

Whether or not your apartment radiator is on full blast, therefore creating the ambiance of a warm summer’s day, this is the perfect way to give your bathing suit some shine. Dress up in your beach finest, drape a beach towel over your desk chair, plop a paper umbrella in any and every drink you sip (yes, even iced coffee) and keep your shades on all day long. AT’s Managing Editor Terri Pous has friends who are masters of the lockdown theme day and did beach day for a birthday, complete with piña coladas, boardwalk-style t-shirts, and a lobster costume for the dog.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Prom Day… or Rose Ceremony Day… or Black-Tie Wedding Day

No matter what you call it, the trick to this day is simple: Find your most formal dress or outfit possible and wear it all day, just because. Sip sparkling cider in the morning, and maybe treat yourself to champagne at night. If you’re riffing on “The Bachelor,” send yourself a bouquet of red roses; for Prom Day, DIY a corsage as a fun downtime activity. Another element that unites all of these days? Crying through your mascara.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” Day

What’s this? A Halloween/holiday season mashup! Dust off an old Halloween costume and take a photo in front of your holiday decorations—queuing up a movie marathon of spooky favorites like “The Addams Family” (which opens with a family of carolers so it’s canonically a holiday movie) also counts.

Sitcom day

Channel your favorite ’90s sitcom character when you get dressed in the morning, and set your Zoom screen to their now-iconic living room set. If you like to watch TV while you work, this would be the perfect opportunity to line up a marathon.

Museum day

Get ready to be cultured! Buy yourself a paint-by-numbers kit or browse a virtual museum tour—who needs a plane ticket when you can tour Museo del Prado in Spain online? Test yourself with trivia about 16th century French nobility or different kinds of dinosaurs. As for meals, think croissant sandwiches and other easy finger foods for a day-out feel.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

Hygge day

Lean all the way into the Scandinavian trend with cozy blankets, your fuzziest socks, and warm drinks. This is your ticket to sitting on the couch or curling up in bed as long as you please (if every day for the past few weeks has been a hygge-filled day for you, we won’t tell).

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

“Great British Bake Off” day

Are you up for a challenge? Task yourself to make at least three similar desserts, such as three different kinds of cakes, or three different flavors of ice cream. Ask loved ones to serve as judges—that should be a pretty easy ask.