Traditions are what make the holiday season special. Without them, this time of year is only hallmarked by an obligation to see your distant relatives. Well, that and a weird old guy dressed in monochrome red. With them, it’s your countdown to flying home just in time for Christmas dinner. It’s your extended family’s annual caroling trip. It’s getting piled on the sectional to watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time. It’s the bizarre, unique, semi-chaotic, and wacky traditions that make the holidays memorable.
We don’t know if you’ve heard this yet (probably not!), but this year is going to look a bit different. Your holiday traditions are inevitably going to be altered, changed, or paused. We hated to be the ones to tell you that. Because of this harsh reality, there will be a collective sadness through the 2020 holiday season. You can almost feel the disappointment in the air, even when (or rather, especially when) no one is around.
As we spiral down the void of what we cannot do, it’s important to remember what we can do this year.
To get inspired, here is a list of COVID-safe changes you can make to your favorite holiday traditions:
Last year, you shopped IRL to touch, feel, and experience your recipient’s gifts. First, you fought to find a parking spot. Then once you finally found a place in the very back row, you powered through freezing winds to walk inside. All for what? Only to start sweating after digging through a few clothing racks in your winter coat. You haven’t even gotten to the lengthy wait in line. You rock back and forth to distribute the weight of your gifts, coat, and too-heavy purse. Feel familiar?
This year, you’re a one-click queen. Holiday shopping has never felt this zen! Sure, there are shipping and inventory challenges with online shopping this year (c’mon, nothing is perfect… we are in a pandemic!). But, at least you’re knocking out your Christmas list from the comfort of your couch. This is one compromise that feels like a win!
While it might seem like work to get your online order wrapped and sent to your recipient, Greetabl takes care of the packaging and shipping for you! In a matter of minutes, you can have a gift sent directly to your person without any of the hassle.
2. Gift Exchanges
Last year, you had a gift exchange. This year, guess what? You still can. Instead of skipping the tradition altogether, host a virtual gift exchange. We have a few thoughts on a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange, as well as a virtual cookie exchange. Either way, your people are sure to appreciate your efforts to bring some normalcy into 2020.
3. Large Gatherings
In 2019, you gathered all your people under one roof. It’s the one time of year your neighbor, kooky aunt, new co-worker, and stand-in boyfriend all gather in the same place. Even with all the quirks, you smiled as you scanned the room. It’s a smorgasbord of your favorite people scattered around your house.
In 2020, large gatherings can still happen. Yes, you heard that right. But listen, they just need to occur virtually. You can still have Uncle Tom and Neighbor Elise in the same space. See #2 for activity-based ideas, dress-up in festive gear, or simply gather for a meal together. Regardless, it’ll be good to see everyone’s faces in one “spot”.
4. Holiday Movies
In years past, your besties baked cookies together and put on a holiday movie marathon in the background. You even bought matching pajama sets for the occasion. As for now? You can still do the same! Extensions like Netflix Party make it super easy to watch (and comment!) on movies together.
For a little extra something, send your people a box of cookies beforehand. If you’re looking for a last-minute option, DoorDash and UberEats make for a great in-a-pinch delivery! Throw on your pj’s (c’mon… like you weren’t in them already) and hang out with your people.
5. Giving Back
Previously, you visited the local nursing home to sing everyone’s favorite Christmas carols. Residents in care facilities need human interaction now more than ever, so don’t give up on the tradition altogether! Instead, send hand-written notes and cards. If you’re unsure of protocol, call and ask.
6. Decorating Your Home
Last year, you…. wait. Here is ONE holiday tradition that will remain the same in the pandemic! Don’t conveniently “forget” to decorate your home. After all, we are spending a lot more time inside the same four walls. We know it’s tempting to call this year a wash, but you’ll be so glad you untangled your tinsel. Sprinkle in some holiday festivity, people! This year, the decorations are not for your visitors. They are for you.
7. Sending Encouragement
Here is another tradition coronavirus cannot take away. Sure, we must alter and switch our approach. But even so, holiday encouragement is important now more than ever. It’s time to get creative.
Last year, maybe you forgot to thank your delivery persons. You meant to, but somehow you got too busy. This year, they’re high on your list of people to thank. To prevent oversights, we’ve created the ultimate gift-giving checklist to ensure you won’t be forgetting anyone in your circle.
Among all the things that are changing, remember to focus on what remains. It’s okay to feel saddened by this year’s changes. But, we encourage you to resist the urge to call 2020 a “throw-away year”. Lean into the challenges and connect with your people – we promise it will be worth it!