Baking holiday cookies with Grandma. Shopping for gifts in a bustling department store. Singing in a Christmas choir. Attending a performance of The Nutcracker or a Christmas pageant. Visiting Santa at the mall. These are just a few of the many Christmas traditions that may not be happening this year because of the pandemic.
It’s easy to feel discouraged as you try to mentally prepare yourself for a vastly different holiday celebration. But, just like the people of Whoville rejoiced even after the Grinch stole their gifts and decorations in the classic Dr. Suess tale, you can keep many of your traditions alive. Here are five ways to have a Merry Socially Distanced Christmas.
1. Bake those cookies
Even if you’re not gathering with extended family this year because of COVID, you can still have a virtual family baking session. Prop a tablet or laptop on the counter and ask Grandma to do the same thing. Play holiday music in the background and share stories of Christmases past.
Then, take another new twist on the cookie theme this year. Share your freshly-baked cookies with elderly neighbors or anyone who might be spending Christmas alone this year. To keep things safe and healthy, wrap them in a festive container and leave them on their doorstep along with a friendly note.
2. See the light
If you’re the organizing kind of person, see if you can get your neighbors to really amp up the Christmas light thing this season. Not only will it be a mood booster for everyone on your block, but it will be a gift to others in your community. Plan to take the family on a Christmas light tour of your city. In addition to drive-through displays, check to see if there are parks or zoos in your area that are offering outdoor light events. Bundle up, wear a mask, and have fun.
3. Be like the NBA
Have you seen how professional sports organizations have placed virtual fans in stadium seats during games? You can try your own version this Christmas. Gather up all the electronic devices your family can muster. Then coordinate a Zoom meeting, “seating” each missing family member at an empty place around the table. You may be eating different things, but you will be sharing the same conversation!
4. Go caroling as a family
Your family is its own COVID bubble, so take it outdoors and spread the joy of Christmas through song. Rehearse the lyrics of your favorite Christmas songs ahead of time, or print out lyrics to take along with you. If someone in your family plays an instrument – voila – an accompanist.
5. Watch live-streamed holiday performances
Help support the performing arts, which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, by live-streaming a play or a concert. Some local and national groups are streaming holiday productions, and others have pre-recorded events for you to watch on your own schedule. Make it more fun by dressing up as if you were going to the real event.
6. Display an outdoor nativity scene
We’re biased, but we think setting up an outdoor nativity set in your yard for neighbors to view while driving or walking is one of the safest ways to share the joy of Christ’s birth this Christmas. Outdoor Nativity Store offers yard nativity scenes in three sizes, so you can show the true message of Christmas at a safe distance or even from afar.
Hopefully, these ideas have gotten your creative juices flowing. Yes, this Christmas will be weird and different. But don’t let COVID be the Grinch that steals your Christmas. With a little creativity and patience (and a big helping of technology), we can follow social distancing guidelines and still find ways to celebrate the joy and hope of the season.