Most holiday seasons involve festive parties and large family gatherings. This season, however, will probably look different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. You can still stay connected with loved ones, even if you can’t be together.
Here are our top seven ways to share holiday cheer while following safety guidelines.
1. Start a Greeting Card Exchange
Bringing back the tradition of sending hand-written letters became popular early after people starting sheltering in place. You can put a fun twist on this tradition by sending greeting cards throughout the holiday season. Send greeting cards to your family and friends to show them you care about them and are thinking of them.
You can also set up a holiday card exchange with a group of family or friends. Make a list of everyone who is participating and send weekly or monthly cards to one another. You’re sure to feel the love when you get regular hand-written holiday greetings.
2. Host a Virtual Holiday Party
The emergence of video conferencing platforms — like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime — has helped families, friends, and coworkers stay connected throughout the pandemic. This holiday season is no different, especially if your loved ones live far away. Instead of visiting each other in person, you can host a virtual holiday party that’s both safe and fun.
Get together virtually with your family and friends to enjoy your favorite holiday traditions. You could add online games or a dance party using a shared playlist. If you’re missing out on holiday meals, try hosting your dinner over a video call. You can even have everyone try out a brand-new holiday recipe to add to the menu at future gatherings.
3. Bundle Up and Get Outside
The weather might be cooling down, but there are still plenty of outdoor activities that make it easy to social distance. For example, you could plan a group hike or walk in the park if the weather is nice. In cooler temperatures, you could host a backyard bonfire — with social distancing — around a fire pit or patio heater.
No matter how you choose to get outdoors, be sure to check any local regulations regarding group sizes or mask use before you go.
4. Have a Virtual Decorating Contest
Do you enjoy decorating your home for the holidays? You can make it a group activity by hosting a decorating contest. Get loved ones to participate and choose a theme and room for your contest. For example, you could each decorate Christmas trees, create a Thanksgiving center piece, or build gingerbread houses.
Take pictures of your decorations and post them to social media along with pictures of your loved ones’ decorations. Let your friends vote on their favorites and reward the winner with a prize, like a gift card to a local small business. Not competitive? You can simply host a decorating event via video call and share pictures to show off your creations for fun.
5. Send Care Packages
It’s exciting to get an unexpected package in the mail or on your doorstep. Let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them by sending small care packages to one another. Try baking and decorating holiday cookies for a sweet treat. If you’re not into baking, you could put together a basket of your favorite local snacks or gifts from local shops.
Send your care package through the mail if your family and friends live far away. For loved ones who are closer, consider making the trip to hand-deliver your care package. Don’t forget to bring your mask and wash your hands when you drop off your gift.
6. Do Something Nice for Loved Ones
Most people love it when someone does something nice for them. Why not spread some holiday cheer by helping out a friend, family member, or neighbor? Look for ways to make their day simply by running errands or completing chores.
In regions that get snow, consider shoveling driveways or sidewalks around your neighborhood. You could also ask elderly neighbors if they need anything from the store the next time you go. A simple gesture can go a long way in lifting someone’s spirits and letting them know you care.
7. Watch a Holiday Movie Together
Whether you prefer cheesy romantic comedies or holiday classics, the cooler winter season is the perfect time to wrap yourself in blankets and sip a cup of hot chocolate during a festive movie. You can host your own movie night over a video call, or through one of your favorite streaming platforms.
Even if you can’t be in the same room with your loved ones this year, you can still host your annual tradition of watching holiday movies to celebrate the season. Many of the major streaming platforms have features that allow different households to connect and stream movies at the same time. This way, during the best part of the movie, everyone can say in unison, “Buddy the Elf, What’s your favorite color!!” If you have a virtual movie night with someone who lives locally consider a contactless surprise of dropping off your favorite box of movie theater popcorn or chocolate treats before the event.
No matter how you plan to spend the holidays, there are plenty of ways to make sure you stay connected with family and friends. Try one of these ideas, or come up with your own twist to celebrate the holiday season.