12 ways to celebrate the holidays and earn cash back

Fun experiences and outings that will earn you cash back with your Savor card this season.

Foodies and social butterflies, rejoice—the holidays are your season to do more of what you love, with the people who matter most. Whether you’re opening your home to family and friends or treating loved ones to a night out, this time of year is all about being together and being present—no wrapping paper required. 

These twelve ideas for holiday food and fun are all about gifting experiences and getting together. And when you use your Savor card on dining out and entertainment purchases, you’ll earn unlimited 4% cash back just for celebrating the season.1 What could be more festive?!

1. A communal, family-style meal out

Gathering around a table is what the holidays are all about, and there are plenty of fun, communal meals that really put an emphasis on sharing—without the hours of cooking. 

Get adventurous and try some international traditions like dim sum, tapas, or a hands-on Ethiopian meal with traditional injera, a bread used for scooping and pinching off a shared plate. Channel A Christmas Story (minus the turkey disaster) with a traditional Chinese meal of savory shareables.

Or, take a cue from Alpine diners who know one way to warm up from the cold: with a delicious pot of fondue shared with friends. No matter how you dig in, with Savor card, dining out will earn you unlimited 4% cash back.

Watch this quick video for a little lesson in family-style dining.

2. Happy hour with colleagues—but make it themed!

Celebrate happy hour with work pals at a cafe, bar or lounge and make it more rewarding when you use your Savor card to purchase appetizers and drinks. Many venues feature creative seasonal specials this time of year, but the Miracle pop-up series turns things up a notch. These bars around the world transform for the season with kitschy decor, retro mugs and cups, and a special drink menu that’s heavy on the nostalgia.

3. A holiday dinner and a movie with someone special

When you need a break from streaming holiday classics, head out to catch this year’s latest holiday release, but make a night of it. Order tickets ahead of time, and grab dinner nearby before the showing—you’ll earn 4% cash back on movie theater ticket purchases on your Savor card.

4. A sporty outing with friends

Winter weather can leave you feeling cooped up, which makes indoor activities a great way to get moving and fire up a little friendly competition with friends. Opt for a round of bowling or billiards on your Savor card and get 4% cash back. Or, swing by an area skating rink (and watch from the rail with a warm beverage if you prefer).

Looking for a fun way to get active and give back? Search for a Jingle Bell Run in your area and help raise money when you run—or walk!

5. Brunch with your best pals

Carve out a little time in your busy holiday schedule to catch up with friends for brunch, when you’re less likely to have too many conflicting RSVPs. Earn 4% cash back when you pick up the tab for an easy early gift that’s more about unwinding than unwrapping. Or, host it at your house—what better way to show off your tree, and earn 3% back at specialty markets and grocery stores2 on those canapes?

6. A cocktail party for neighbors and friends

Catch up with neighbors and friends in your community when you open up your home for a low-key, festive cocktail party. You don’t have to go all-out—a two-hour window when guests can come and go keeps things casual, and a self-serve bar keeps your duties to a minimum. Donna Pilato of TheSpruce.com suggests you keep plenty of ice on hand, have twice as many glasses as invited guests, and estimate about six bites of food per guest when averaging food quantities (but err on the side of having more than the minimum). 

And don’t forget the holiday tunes—you’ll also earn 4% cash back at record stores when you buy holiday albums to help set the mood.

7. A live holiday performance

Get rewarded for getting in the holiday spirit with an outing to a holiday concert, play or performance that celebrates the traditional music and stories of the season. Scoop up tickets to the Nutcracker ballet, the symphony, or to hear a local chorus perform your favorite carols. With Savor, you’ll earn 4% cash back on ticket purchases from concert or theatrical promoters and dance halls.

8. A festive tacky light tour

Whether you go on foot, in a limo, a van, or a rickshaw, make a night out of ooh’ing and ahh’ing over the wildest, most over-the-top decorations in town. Fill your tumblers with warm cider and map out a route of the tacky lights in your area. It’s an awesome alternative to a happy hour that gets friends of all ages together. You might even get competitive with a game of tacky light bingo—and give the winner a gift card to their favorite restaurant (which earns you 4% cash back, as well).

9. A baking and cookie decorating party

Whether you’re hosting a competitive bake-off or just feeling creative, this is a fun excuse to throw on an apron, roll up your sleeves and relive a childhood holiday tradition with friends and family of all ages. (Bonus points for ugly sweaters.) Just grab some cookie cutters, ingredients from the grocery store, a variety of decorations, and crank up the holiday tunes. 

Have vegan invitees? No problem—these easy substitutions let you bake an array of desserts, no matter what your dietary restrictions are. (Just don’t forget to save a few masterpieces for Santa.) Plus, purchases on supplies at the grocery store will earn you 3% cash back.

10. An intimate holiday dinner with close friends

Think of this like a holiday Friendsgiving, and a way to give a gift to friends that’s more about memories than material things. The perfect dinner party is all about a personal experience, opening your home, and putting love into the things money can’t buy. Don’t be afraid to get them in on the prep, too—some recipes are great for getting everyone involved, which is half the fun.

11. Holiday food festivals and gift fairs

Whether it’s for chowder, chili, or oysters, plan to search out some food festivals in your area this season. During the holidays, many festivals blend gifts and gourmet for a one-stop way to shop local merchants and producers. These events are a great way to support local craftsmen, find some unique gifts, and earn rewards on some local fare. 

12. A food-focused gift exchange

Host a Secret Santa gift exchange, but with a twist: give foodie-focused gifts that won’t get wasted, tossed, or re-gifted. (No guarantees on fruit cakes, though.) Think advent calendars with treats tucked inside, coffee shop and restaurant gift cards, wine, cookie tins, and other sweet treats.

There are more than twelve days this holiday season, so be sure to block downtime between RSVPs and holiday traffic. After all, the most important part of the season is being thankful and making memories. 

So however you choose to celebrate this holiday season, whether it’s with one or all of these activities, the more you do, the more rewards you’ll earn with the Savor card from Capital One. Happy holidays!

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