How to make the holidays special during a pandemic
Faced with limited travel opportunities and social distancing rules to respect, many American families are wondering how to celebrate the holidays this year. Here are seven top tips to make this festive season memorable…
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a box of masks and an extra-large tub of hand sanitizer? Sigh, this has truly been a strange year.
Parents everywhere are desperate to make this holiday season special for their weary children. They’ve been so resilient and they deserve some holiday magic! But how?!
Fear not, brave parentals. Children don’t require fancy parties and lavish buffets to get into the spirit. All they need is a big dose of love and a little more imagination on your part!
Here are seven tips to make the holidays special this year…
Acknowledge that the holidays will be different
Instead of desperately trying to make everything “normal”, take a moment to acknowledge that this year will be different to other years. Ask your children how they feel about not being able to see family members who live far away or who need to stay away from gatherings because they’re at risk of contracting COVID-19. Take some time to acknowledge their grief and share yours too.
Ask your kids what they’ll miss this year, what they’re looking forward to and whether they have any ideas of ways to make the holidays special. Come up with a fun holiday plan together and pin it on your fridge.
Get into the spirit
We’re doing everything a little earlier and going the extra mile this year to get our seven-year-old and our four-year-old twins excited. They’re in their prime Christmas magic years, so we can’t let a pandemic get in the way! We’ve put up more lights outside, chosen a bigger tree, stocked up on Christmas crafts and have Michael Buble on high rotation.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, you can get the whole family into the spirit by embracing your holiday traditions wholeheartedly this year.
Create new traditions
We’d resisted getting an Elf on the Shelf until now, but “Merry” joined our family on December 1. The kids love her so much and I must admit us grown-ups are getting a kick out of her too.
Here are a few more ideas of new traditions you can adopt this year:
- Invite friends and family members to drive by your house at a certain time to watch your holiday “parade” in your yard
- Drive or walk around nearby neighborhoods to look at the lights
- Make your own advent calendars with small pouches that contain goodies such candy, small toys and coupons for screen time
- Have a family Christmas movie night with everyone wearing matching holiday PJs (we love HART + LAND’s matching sets!)
- Make special ornaments for the tree and write 2020 on them
- Video call friends and family members and sing Christmas carols to them
Organize an outdoor or virtual Christmas party
If an indoor Christmas gathering isn’t feasible for your extended family due to geographical distance or the risk of COVID-19 infection, there are some fun alternatives to consider.
If the weather in your area allows for an outdoor gathering, you can host a Christmas picnic where everyone sits six feet apart and enjoys individual portions of food to reduce the risk of infection. Another option is to host a Zoom Christmas party with family members from around the country… or even the world! It might feel odd at first, but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much fun everyone ends up having.
Give extra-special gifts
Instead of buying cheap toys and presents that will end up in a landfill in a few months, commemorate this unforgettable year by giving gifts that your children will cherish for years to come. Simple homemade gifts are thoughtful and much appreciated.
Research has shown that practicing gratitude improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, boosts self-esteem and increases mental strength. You can turn it into a fun family activity by asking each family member to name or write down three things they’re grateful for at the end of each day. By the time 2021 rolls around, you’ll probably find that gratitude comes much more naturally to your children (and to you too!)
Even though COVID-19 restrictions might prevent you from volunteering in person, there are still plenty of ways your family can help the less fortunate this year. You could donate items to a food drive, shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway or mow their lawn, donate blood, sew or knit items for charity, or foster an animal. Giving back not only helps others, it also teaches your children valuable lessons about kindness, compassion and generosity.
Wishing your family a happy and healthy holiday season!