Every year the holiday season kicks off in the U.S. with Thanksgiving. We’ve had to make adjustments (like with everything else in our lives) in consideration of the pandemic. As we continue on in the holiday season, here are a few ideas to help your family adjust your traditional plans—again.

Keep Things Cozy

Think and do all things comfortable and snuggly and you can’t go wrong. Whether you live in the snow-bound states or the warmer ones, creating a cozy environment is a great way to bring the family together. Here are a few things to up the cozy in your home:

  • Bring in warm light with candles—fake or real, string lights, and cute lamps.
  • Soft blankets, perfect for reading books together or family movie night.
  • Fun pillows are great for building forts and taking family naps together.
  • Use your fireplace. And if you don’t have one, Netflix has Fireplace for Your Home

Food Brings People Together

Who doesn’t love food—especially kids? It plays a lot of roles in our lives: sustenance, creativity, comfort, connection, fun. Here are a few ways you can think about food this holiday season:

  • What can everyone make together?
    Whether decorating cookies or build your own pizza night, a group hands-on activity is a great way to make memories.
  • Whose food will you be missing the most?
    i.e. Does your uncle make bread that’s out of this world? Does your grandma have a secret mashed potato recipe? Ask your family to share their wisdom with you and try to recreate their magic in your kitchen.
  • Teach your kids something.
    So much of food culture is passed down from generation to generation. Use your extra time this holiday season to teach your kids how to make something they love.

Do Something For Your Community

The pandemic has forced us to isolate from others more than ever. Take some time this holiday season to do something for others in your community and re-establish those connections we miss.

  • Check in on your neighbors. Sometimes, the help your community needs is next door. Call, text, or leave a note on their door (introduce yourself, if necessary) with your neighbors—especially if they are elderly.
  • You don’t have to look far to find a small business struggling to make ends meet right now. While purchasing from them as much as possible is great, you can also reach out to see if there’s more you can do. Ask your favorite places if you can volunteer your promotional efforts in a strategic way for them.
  • Food banks all over the country heavily rely on volunteers to meet the needs of their communities. Look up your local food bank or search for one on Feeding America. You can help with sorting and packing, assisting at mobile pantries, delivering meals, or even online with awareness and fundraising efforts.

Start a New Tradition

We can’t do everything exactly as we have in years past, so coming up with something new to add to family traditions is a great way to find joy in the heartache this year. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking:

  • Take a drive to see holiday lights/decorations.
  • Read a new holiday/winter book everyday.
  • Find an audiobook or podcast the family can listen to together.
  • Do something silly: like a costume fashion show or a shaving cream beard contest.
  • DIY an advent calendar—you make one for the kids, they make one for you.

Make Your Virtual Connections Meaningful

We’re all tired of sitting on video calls trying to make the conversation interesting. Especially when you’re trying to virtually connect for a holiday, you want to make your family time together memorable. Here are a few ideas to give your call a specific purpose.

  • Borrowing this idea from family reunions everywhere: get everyone something that matches. Whether that’s a mug for holiday beverages, an ugly sweater, animal ears, or whatever. When everyone shows up for that call, it will feel like you’re all at the same party—even if you’re in different states.
  • Dedicate your on-camera time with family to toasts from everyone. Allow each family member the chance to give a toast to the family, to the previous year, or for the one to come. It’s a great way to spread love and cheer from afar.
  • Showcase everyone’s talent in a virtual talent show with the entire family. Everyone has something they’re good at and what a better time than the holidays to celebrate the beauty of your family.

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