The holidays are quickly approaching. Many people who normally celebrate with family and friends will not be doing so this year due to the pandemic. My plan is to err on the side of caution and not have the traditional large celebratory dinner with family and friends. My health and the health of my loved ones are important to me, and I would rather not take the chance of spreading or receiving COVID-19 this year. Instead I will offer suggestions of how to spread tidings and good cheer safely. It would be easy to fall into the trap of the holiday blues due to the current circumstances. To avoid that I have compiled a list of options to keep your holidays merry and bright. Begin your preparations now to create holidays to remember.
If you purchase gifts for others order online early and have them shipped directly to the recipients. This year it will take longer for deliveries due to the huge increase in online shopping. If you are a crafty person and have the time to be creative, consider making homemade gifts. Alternately, useful gifts such as specialty food baskets, fruit baskets, gourmet baskets would be especially appreciated this year. You can plan a virtual gift opening or gourmet basket tasting event so you can share reactions to the products with the person who gifted you. You don’t have to have a virtual dinner, but consider a virtual sharing time or happy hour. You may want to consider practical gifts such as masks, gloves, disinfecting hand wipes and household cleaners, at least you know they will be put to good use. You may want to have a secret Santa gift exchange, again send gifts early. You may want to leave a secret gift for neighbors on their porches.
Instead of gift giving consider donating to local charities. Many who help those in need are desperate for additional donations. Participate in a food drive, coat drive, sock drive, hat & mitten drive or toy drive. Many charitable organizations need extra volunteers to help during these trying times. Send a gift, card or care package to military members deployed overseas.
If you celebrate the holidays with cards, plan a day to write a special note to family and friends. You may also want to include a past holiday gathering photo, to share memories with loved ones. This would be especially appreciated this year to connect on a more personal level. Make the project a pleasant event with music and involve others in your household. Surprise friends and family with a Thanksgiving card.
Decorate your home for the holidays to get into the spirit. If you need some fresh ideas there are many on sites like Pinterest, online magazines, décor sites and department store’s websites you can visit for inspiration. Have an old fashioned Christmas and make your own decorations. You can make paper snowflakes, paper chains, pinecone wreaths, door swags and centerpieces, incorporate elements from nature. Use old holiday cards to make decorations. Make your own Advent calendar filled with tiny gifts and treats. Make a homemade gingerbread house or holiday cookies, and homemade hot chocolate to go with them. Make an event of going to get a live tree, decorate it with homemade ornaments, popcorn and cranberry strings.
Research and celebrate the holiday traditions of other countries, learn about their traditions and try recipes from different cultures. Research healthy, holiday recipes to add to your menus.
If you normally host family gatherings host a virtual one. Have your own special dinner. Plan your menu in advance, shop early to avoid crowds around the holidays, or have your ingredients delivered to avoid exposure to others. Use the good china, glassware, candles and music. If you do not have have special serving dishes post on your neighborhood website and you will have many donations to choose from. If you don’t want to cook order your meal from a local restaurant or grocery store, just order early due to higher demand. Dress up for the dinner to make it a special event.
If you need help getting in the holiday spirit watch Hallmark Christmas movies, these happy, feel good movies have already begun. Take a drive to see Christmas light displays and be sure to play holiday music. Host a holiday movie watch party with your favorite movie. Go caroling, skating or sledding, but keep your distance. Start a holiday tradition, play Elf on a Shelf games, or virtual game night with family and friends. Make special activities for children to keep this time of year fun and limit time on social media.
Set up a daily schedule and routine to incorporate planning, online shopping and socializing. Plan some outdoor activities, especially in nature to boost your mood. Plan time to exercise regularly and reduce stress with meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. Make the holidays a time to reflect and give thanks for all your blessings. Send hand written thank you notes for gifts received. We have all had to adapt to the challenging times this year. Do not let the pandemic spoil your holidays, keep in touch with family, friends and neighbors but do so safely.
Here is a link to the CDC guidelines for celebrating the Holidays safely.
If you have more ideas be sure to leave them in the comments.