As we inch closer to the “most wonderful time of the year,” most of us are unsure how we will maintain the holiday family traditions that matter the most. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyday life as we know it. Vulnerable populations – including your older relatives – may not be able to gather with you for the holidays this year. This unpredictable holiday season can be stressful and uncertain, especially for those of us in recovery.
Living in these unprecedented times doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot enjoy the holidays this year. The most important thing you can do this year is to be mindful of COVID-19 and be more careful, protecting yourself, loved ones, and fellow community members. Here are a few family traditions you can reinvent during this holiday season.
Plan a Virtual Shopping Trip
One of the most exciting components of this glorified season of giving is the hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts for the people you love the most. Holiday shopping is a significant tradition that most families partake in together. This year, many brick-and-mortar retail stores have lowered their online prices to curb the usual large crowds and encourage virtual spending.
This year would be a perfect time to reinvent holiday shopping traditions. Make plans with your friends and family to go virtual shopping at the same time, on the same websites. You can either pull up zoom or your favorite messaging app to share special deals and potential gifts to get the advice of your most trusted shopping partners. Virtual holiday shopping comes with the benefits of lower pricing, gift wrapping, including gift receipts, and even the option to ship gifts directly to the receiver’s home before Christmas.
Stream Holiday Movies Together Over Video Chat
I don’t know about you, but holiday movies with my family are among my favorite traditions of this season. Curling up on the couch, hot chocolate in hand, fire burning, and watching The Grinch on our family TV is the most nostalgic family tradition to date. Social distancing has interrupted the in-person interactions with the ones we love, but we still can make plans to stream our favorite sporting events and holiday movies together.
Thankfully, we live in an era where technological advances make it possible to video chat in real-time. Have everyone choose their favorite holiday movie, then make plans for a movie marathon on Christmas or the days leading up to Christmas. Stock your home with lots of holiday goodies and a warm fire. Tune into the game together or start your favorite festive movie simultaneously and leave the video chat session open. This will give you the opportunity to be with your friends and family while maintaining your tradition virtually.
Get Festive in Your Home
Quarantine and strict social distancing protocols make this year the perfect time to deck the halls inside and outside of your home. I mean, what else do you have to do? You can make decorating your home a fun family event complete with sweet treats and holiday music heightening the whole tradition. With many of our favorite holiday traditions halted due to COVID-19, Christmas decorating in your home is an annual holiday tradition that can still be done. This year would be a great year to go the extra mile with decorating the outside of your home so other people in your community can also enjoy the sights of Christmas from their vehicles. After all, we all could use a little holiday cheer this year.
Play Virtual Board Games
The holiday season brings a ton of off-work time and no-school for the kiddos. Board game nights are another common holiday tradition that can be moved online to follow CDC recommendations while indulging your competitive fellowship with your family. Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Words With Friends, and other popular board games are now available virtually so that you can play with friends and family from a safe distance. My favorite games include Cards Against Humanity, Pictionary, and Charades – these games can be played virtually using video chat, so you can see your opponents while playing. Don’t let social distancing prevent you from playing your favorite holiday games with the ones you love the most.
Host a Virtual Holiday Family Gathering
Gathering with friends and family during the holidays can be extremely stressful and the best part of this time of year. Keeping up with precautionary social distancing, you can host a virtual holiday family gathering to keep the tradition alive. A virtual holiday part is a fun, low-cost way to reunite with your family during the holidays. Video conferencing apps such as Zoom allow multiple people to join at once. This is a great way to connect everyone at the same time to celebrate the holidays.
Set Up a Contactless Holiday Goodie Exchange
If you are anything like me, then your favorite part of this holiday season is the food. The month of December is filled with homemade goodies from cookies, pies, and brownies. Many families often share these goodies with their neighbors, friends, and coworkers to share some holiday cheer. However, COVID-19 has halted close contact between people from different households.
Instead of baking, packaging, and delivering your holiday snacks door-to-door this year, you can set up a contactless goodie exchange with your favorite bakers in your community. Perhaps you can set up tables at a nearby park or cul-de-sac and have everyone display their individually wrapped bundle of festive goodies. Everyone involved can walk up, grab the goodies while maintaining appropriate social distancing. This can even be a great way to host a cookie or gingerbread house decorating competition. Hosting a delicious outdoor event such as this will limit exposure to COVID-19 while also keeping your favorite Christmas traditions alive.
No matter how you decide to spend the holidays this year, it is essential not to spend it alone. Those of us in recovery know how dangerous isolation can be. As long as you practice social distancing, wear a face covering, wash your hands regularly, and attend some of these virtual events – you don’t have to spend the holidays alone. Take this unique 2020 Christmas to reinvent new virtual holiday traditions.