Celebrating Holidays with Family in December 2020
Holiday celebrations have different significance for different people. But for most, they are an opportunity to add more meaning to our daily routine. We often use this time to reconnect with the people who are most important to us.
But a lot of things we’ve come to cherish about the holidays may need to be modified this year. Being together isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. Holiday travel across the country may no longer be safe or feasible. We must balance the benefits of being with our loved ones and re-creating family traditions vs. the potential risk of spreading (or catching) the virus, while also addressing our feelings of isolation.
But even if you celebrate at a distance from loved ones, you can still find ways to capture your favorite holiday traditions and the feeling of togetherness. Here are some ideas.
Consider a Holiday Movie Marathon
There’s nothing better than wearing our comfiest flannel pajamas, cozying up with family on the couch, and watching some feel-good holiday movies. Being at a physical distance from family doesn’t mean you can’t still do this activity together. You can FaceTime or Zoom with your family, pick the movies you want to watch, and all hit “play” at the same time! If an online streaming service like Netflix, Disney, Hulu, or HBO is available, Chrome has an extension called Telepathy that syncs up the video. It even has a group chat function. You can virtually gather for other important holiday rituals, too, like viewing sporting events or the holiday parades.
Holiday Meal Planning and Cooking
Deciding to remain apart during the holidays to lower the risk of COVID doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a festive dinner together. (And you have the option of preparing a menu of your own personal favorites!). To share the special meal/preparation rituals with family, choose in advance a recipe to cook together. If a longer preparation time is required, you can complete some of the groundwork the night before. Then connect via video call and cook together in your separate kitchens. At the end, you can compare your finished products.
Another popular holiday ritual is cookie decorating with family and friends. After baking the cookies beforehand, schedule a group call with your friends and decorate the treats together. If you aren’t a fan of baking, you can buy premade cookies with decorating supplies or a gingerbread house kit from your local grocery store. You can even order one online. You can share the laughs and fun, but you don’t have to share the treats!
Decorate Your Home, Complete with a Mini Tree
Get that warm, festive feeling into your home by putting up holiday decorations, stringing your lights, and hanging up ornaments. You can add a small tree to further the festivity. Decorations can bring back echoes of the excitement you felt as a child during the holidays. Add to the atmosphere by playing your favorite holiday playlist.
If you decide to gather safely with your loved ones, how can this be done with the best possible outcomes? A few risk-lowering modifications, like limiting the duration of the gathering, hosting outdoors, or having guests bring their own food and drinks, will help. Of course, wearing masks at all times when not eating or drinking, washing your hands frequently, and maintaining a 6-ft. social distance is essential.
For in-depth suggestions from the CDC for their Guiding Principles for Gatherings as well as Promoting Healthy Behaviors that Reduce Spread, please visit:
We may have to rethink how we celebrate the holidays this year. It will be an individual decision, hopefully made by the participants ahead of time so there is time to plan. With a little creativity, you can capture many cherished holiday traditions and the feeling of togetherness. It’ll be different, but you can still relax, recharge, and spend time connecting with loved ones.
Happy Holidays, and a have a Blessed, Healthy 2021! (It can’t come too quickly!)
-Bonnie Knox, M.Ed., L.C.P.C., C.A.D.C.