Celebrating the holidays the COVID19 way

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

The year 2020 has been unexpectedly hard on everyone. Being socially isolated can take a toll on anyone’s mental and physical health. Not being able to celebrate the holidays with family can be frustrating. But just because you can’t be together in person doesn’t mean spending the holidays alone. From dining outside to sending food to family across the country, here are some of our ideas for keeping the holiday spirit alive this year.

Video Call the Family

Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to see family members without being in the same room. Today, most people have access to apps like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. Some family members with access to Webex meetings for the office can also use the platform to reach out to family members. Using this technology is a great way to connect with people and still see their faces. To make these calls less chaotic, apply simple rules, like having one individual serve as the “moderator” or “host.” Another way is to include a simple and fun game, such as sharing old holiday photos, quizzes, and using PowerPoint. Don’t limit these video chats to the holidays. It works great anytime you miss seeing a family member. The best thing about video chats for the holidays, you don’t have to share your food!

Dine Outside

Depending on where you live, dining outside is a great option for some! You don’t need to take out your special dishes or wine glasses for this type of gathering. Think easy and consider colorful plates and glasses — the kind you might use for picnics or outdoor events. String some outdoor lights and add lanterns around the table. If you have portable speakers place them nearby to create a fun ambiance for the celebration. Set up a station for face masks, bug spray, and antibacterial wipes that guests can use. For your meals, try grilling your turkey and vegetables rather than the usual oven roasting. The aroma can make anyone’s mouth water! Another great perk of dining outdoors is that it allows your family to spread out and gives the kids a chance to run around the yard. Keep in mind that COVID19 rules still apply.

Share Recipes

Are you going to miss Aunt Jane’s stuffing or Uncle Bill’s creamy mashed potatoes this year? You don’t have to go without! Start a recipe-share with your family so everyone can share many of the same foods even if everyone isn’t together. Have family members place the recipes on online, like in a Google Doc or a private group on Facebook. Include a brief memory with each recipe. This way, family members not only can see each other’s recipes, but also comment on the personal stories. It’s also a great way to snag that corn bread recipe you’ve been wanting to try.

Send Care Packages

If you can’t be at the family gathering for the holidays, send a special care package. Put together a box filled with favorite cookies or pound cake that everyone raves about. Add a personal note, a couple of candles they can light, a colorful placemat, and a picture of you. Ask them to call before they open the package to share in the excitement and outpouring of love.

Watch Favorite Movies Virtually

Here’s a fun activity the whole family can do virtually. Have family members watch a movie they’ve never seen and then schedule a time to talk about how much they love (or hate) the movie. These conversations tend to carry to other movies and TV shows. Before long, family members can recommend other shows to watch — or avoid!

Donate to COVID-19 Relief Funds

This pandemic has challenged many families, not just emotionally, but also financially. More families are struggling to stay afloat due to the job loss that COVID19 has caused. It’s important to always remember that there are those who may be struggling. This year think about donating to shelters, the local food pantry or COVID-19 relief funds. The holidays are not just for family gathering, but also opportunities to give back to others.

Support Local Stores

Shopping is probably the second largest “holiday event” right behind cooking. Since the start of the pandemic, local businesses have been struggling to survive. Help out the local community by shopping at these small businesses. Grab your favorite barbecue sauce from the local steakhouse, shop at a family-owned grocery store, and consider getting the produce from a local farmer’s market!