Here's how to safely celebrate the holiday season this year

Easy tips that are helpful—not stressful.

how to celebrate holidays safely

From social distancing to travel restrictions, there's a general uncertainty around what this holiday season will bring for families balancing school, work and festivities.

There's no doubt that kids understand a bit of what is going on, but it may be a little harder to grasp that some of their favorite holiday traditions and family gatherings are put on hold. The good news is you can help them understand through safe activities and traditions, and in many ways, make the holidays even better than before.

Here are 7 ways to safety celebrate the holiday season in 2020:


1. Have a movie night at home

Invite your children to select a movie line-up for a fun way to celebrate the season. You can print out the movie covers of your favorite holiday films and, as a family, vote on the movies and pin them to the calendar. Go all out by creating movie tickets and a concession stand, then turn off the lights and settle in for an at-home movie feature.

Try dressing up in themed costumes like a Santa suit or reindeer antlers to make it truly memorable. Experiences like these allow you to bond with your family and create memories all while staying safe.

2. Make it a Zoom-y holiday

Try coordinating a holiday sing-along or talent show over your video platform of choice. Enlist a group of friends and family members and decide on a date for the big show.

As an added layer of fun, pick your favorite seasonal song, grab your costumes and practice your choreography with your babies for your big show. Elect your older kids to act as the "judges" to get everyone involved.

As a way to bring families together, Zoom lifted its standard 40 minute limit on free video calls for Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy!

3. Have a gingerbread house scavenger hunt

Find hiding spots around the house for packages of gumdrops, licorice, sprinkles and icing. Create clues to send your children all over the house to find the ingredients they'll need to create a holiday gingerbread house. As your children arrive at each location, they will collect the items, figure out where to go next and eventually collect enough to start decorating.

As a bonus, make it into a race to see which family member can collect the most items the fastest. Once all the items have been found, the last step will be to meet up at the table and either decorate your own gingerbread houses with the items found or come together to create the ultimate family gingerbread house.

4. Have an ornament challenge

Let your children get creative and with a recycled ornament challenge. (I find that attaching the term "challenge" to anything gets children extremely excited to participate!)

To do this, provide children with art supplies (paint, tape, markers... glitter if you live on the wild side) and clean items from the recycling bin and invite them to make an ornament creation with a recycled item of their choosing. Perhaps your child will pick an empty juice box or egg carton (or both!) to create their ornament. Be sure to write the year on the finished ornament, a keepsake to treasure (and laugh about) for years to come.

5. Learn other holiday celebrations

Encourage your child to look at the holiday season from a global perspective. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays—and that's and that's something to celebrate in itself. You and your family can research other holidays or interview people about holidays that they might celebrate. This is a powerful way to be more inclusive and will allow your children to gain different perspectives on what happens outside of your home. Learning about other traditions is a great way to make sure children don't lose out on the social benefits of understanding other cultures.

6. Read festive books

Create a jolly "book of the day" calendar. Print images of some fun Christmas books and post them on a piece of cardboard, then cover up the images with candy canes. Each day, your kids can tear off a candy cane to reveal the title of the next book to read together. This is an easy way to engage early readers that actually feels fun and exciting, too.

7. Switch to micro-celebrations

Consider throwing micro-celebrations with your close pod of people—this allows for more joint activities and organized games. You could even try preparing individual kits with supplies for creating things like a DIY ornament or décor item that can be enjoyed year after year.

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