How will 2020 Christmas be without the traditional holiday office parties, visits to the grandparents, house carolers, and community parades? With a few minor adjustments, these holiday favorites won’t need to be exiled this Christmas.
Thanks to the pandemic, society has been forced to get creative, find loopholes, and develop a new sense of normalcy.
So how are you planning on exercising your brain this Christmas and stirring up creative ways you can get the family together? Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing and avoid skipping out on any traditions while introducing new ones as well.
But first, here are a few ideas your community can do to kick off the holiday season while following CDC’s regulations and guidelines for COVID.
1. Street or parking lot light shows
Does your city host an annual light show or festival?
Keep the tradition alive this season with just a few adjustments. Rather than having guests watch the festivities on foot, create a drive-through experience. Whether it’s driving through a participating neighborhood or recreating a light show in a parking lot, you can create a vehicle friendly path. People remain safe in their cars, while still experiencing your community's annual show.
2. Virtual tree lighting
A drive-in event might not solve everything. For example, a town tree lighting. It’s likely, unless done in shifts, there won’t be room for every car in the city. Instead, stream the lighting event online! That way everyone can witness the start of Christmas safely from their homes.
3. Caroling at a distance
Caroling is a popular folk traditional strongly associated with Christmas. Usually a group of singers go door-to-door throughout neighborhoods and community centers, lifting spirits with songs of the holiday. Here are a few ways your town can keep this tradition alive.
Minimize the group of carolers and have them (a) get tested and quarantine before performing to ensure they are safe to stand together. And/or (b) limit the group to a few people that can distance themselves when performing.
Locals around the area can sign up online and give their consent to receive carolers at their door this year.
4. Live streamed parade
A popular activity for most cities and small towns is the local parade and Christmas themed floats. Rather than promoting a large gathering in your city center, host the parade, block off the streets and go live. Similar to watching the Macy’s Parade at home every Thanksgiving if you’re not in New York.
All participants in the parade should be tested prior and quarantine leading up the event. If businesses and individuals have their own float, they should remain on it for the entire duration of the show.
Be sure to check the regulations and risk-factor for your community put out by the CDC.
5. A safe visit with Santa
Aww the tradition that children love and parents dread. The annual visit to Santa. Usually taking place in your community mall or shopping center attracting long lines and wait times. But don’t say goodbye to Saint Nicholas just yet, there are a few ways Santa can still come to your town this year.
Host the event outdoors or in a tent with air ventilation
Provide a plexiglass between Santa and his visitors. You might not sit on his lap, but you can still visit and put in your gift request!
Test and quarantine all employees, including Santa, prior to these visits
Mark off adequate space in designated lines to ensure everyone is properly socially distancing
Even though it’s outside, all participants, staff and guests need to be wearing the proper protective gear
If a paid event, have guests register in advance online or only pay with card
6. Themed farmers’ markets
Categorized as a necessity, farmers’ markets remain open. So why not make the most of it and support locals with themed markets? Get the local shops and artists involved with a weekly farmers’ market leading up to Christmas.
Follow these tips and safety guidelines for food markets during COVID.
7. Christmas classics movie drive-in
The Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone or my all-time favorite, Christmas Vacation; American classics and holiday favorites.
Host showings of favored holiday movies at various times throughout the month of December. Guests can attend in their cars, find the station broadcasting the movie, and watch from a large projector or screen outdoors.
8. Mask decorating event
Whether it be DIY stockings, wreath building and yes, I said it, masks, craft time works from everyone. This event can be hosted outdoor at a large spaced out venue, or more safely, participants can follow with online arts and craft classes.
If online, prior to the event, guests should register for the class and receive a list of the necessary materials for each project.
9. Holiday trivia
If you’re an avid reader of our blog, know by now, we love themed trivia!
It works for every holiday and it’s a great way to bring people together online. Partner with local businesses, bars, cafe who might be interested in hosting the event in exchange for the publicity. Households and teams can register online and tune in on event day.
This will require a host to run the event, ask questions and a co-host to track and score the answers that come in. Don’t forget to give guests an incentive for playing like gift cards or a tangible prize.
10. Sending letters to Santa
Spark the spirit of Christmas with the traditional activity of writing letters to Santa. Children in the community can send in their letters to Santa...and maybe they might even get a response!
11. Virtual decorating with family
You can thank the world’s advanced technology for our ability to remain connected while quarantining.
Whether you love it or you hate it, technology will always have this perk; the ability to connect with anyone from around the world. Go beyond FaceTime and set aside a time to decorate with each other online.
Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, the options are endless.
12. Holiday baking classes
Online classes, not just for schools, have boomed in popularity; this growth being well before the pandemic. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than learning how to prepare your favorite dish?!
Christmas ham, sweet potato pie, eggnog desserts, whatever you enjoy there is probably a baking class online to master the dish! Get family and friends involved in this scrumptious activity by enrolling in a class together.
OR if there is already an expert among the mix, have them host a family baking class, making a traditional dish that everyone loves.
13. A live family feast
Send out electronic invites to all family and friends to join you for a virtual dinner get together! Even though we’re at different tables, it’s still a table with food celebrating the holiday with the people you care about.
14. Secret Santa virtual exchange
You can still host the annual Secret Santa this year by sending out your gifts in advance. Secret Santa is a family tradition where everyone gets together and secretly pulls a name from a box or hat, whatever works.
The name they receive is the person they will purchase a gift for.
When it’s time to exchange gifts, everyone can jump onto a live stream and watch the gift wrapping fly. Remember to send the gift in advance and anonymously if possible, or tell the receiver not to look at the return address.