2020 has proven to be a year like no other with many celebrations and opportunities to spend time with family and friends destroyed. Use these holiday party ideas to enjoy holiday celebrations with friends and family – while staying safe and keeping everyone you love safe.
Holidays and COVID, oh my. This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people.
Gatherings over the holidays this season may feel like a small bit of “normal” to reconnect with family and friends.
However, with case positivity rates and deaths from COVID soaring sky-high to all-time new levels, now is NOT the time to start being more relaxed in following precautions to avoid spreading (and getting) coronavirus.
This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.
Holiday Gatherings and Holiday Party Ideas in the Time of COVID
And let's be really REAL for a moment…sometimes I just plain hate 2020. But then I put my “thinking cap” on and come up with ways to appreciate all that is still good – even when seemingly surrounded by hard stuff.
We've done our homework this year and come up with some FUN alternatives to holiday party ideas so that you can celebrate the holidays in different – but enjoyable – ways while keeping everyone's wellfare front and center.
This is definitely a year to think out of the box and let your imagination go wild!
And BONUS (because I always look for that silver lining): now you can celebrate when loved ones that you normally wouldn't see over the holidays for any normal reason!
Related Post: Must-Know Holiday Safety Tips Every Family Needs
Holiday Celebrations in Person – or Not?
We all know by now how vicious and rampant this virus can be. As predicted, the fall has brought a truly frightening surge all across the US and elsewhere.
We also know (from science and experience) that the only way to be absolutely safe from it is to stay distanced from others who might possibly have it. And since some people are completely asymptomatic, that's nearly everyone!
Are we up for long-distance travel? The answer, of course, is different for different people. If the answer for you is yes, please mind the risks and the safeguards.
Mask, socially distance, and wash hands – we've heard it over and over but these are still our first line of defense.
Just like you, we want to celebrate with our families. And just like you, we're making some difficult decisions about keeping ourselves and others healthy.
Each Family has to Weigh the Risks For Themselves
I have trouble imagining Thanksgiving without the house full of kids, my mom, my sister, and me talking and laughing in the kitchen. My dad and the husbands watching football and playing ping pong.
But if it means keeping everyone healthy until a vaccine is ready, then that's what we'll do out of love for others.
While I may be dying a little on the inside every time there's a special event and I can't share it with them, the potentially disastrous – and permanent – alternatives to being anything but super careful are just too great to risk.
That, of course, is a decision for each of us to make along with our families.
So many people don't have the ability to quarantine for 10-14 days before gathering. But if that's a possibility for you it's something to consider, especially if you want to see older relatives.
Technology to the Rescue
We have virtual everything these days (thankfully!) – how about a virtual Thanksgiving? Zoom can take us right into Aunt Sue's dining room or Grandma's kitchen.
We can catch up on everyone, see how much Junior has grown, cook together, and feel the warmth of family, even from across the country.
Grandpa can include the whole family in his usual pre-dinner blessing. Maybe family members, kids and all, would like to say a few words about what they're grateful for.
Or “when we can get together again I want to…”
Did somebody just learn to play chess? How about a game? Got a new favorite singer? Let's hear her.
You get the picture. We can still share our lives with those who matter most.
Do Things Together While We're Apart
Sharing an experience can still give us that “together” feel even when we're miles apart. Watch a parade, a football game or a movie “together”. Even from across time zones we can laugh at the same jokes and fuss at the refs.
The best alternative holiday party ideas only require a little thinking outside the box!
Maybe Uncle Mo can “zoom” us all through his fabulous apple crisp recipe. We could all make one right along with him and each household can enjoy an old favorite, just like we do every year.
Is there a crafty someone in the family? Making a craft together (even if it's over Zoom) like this votive candle holder is a nice way to make us all feel a little closer.
How about sending every family group the same holiday table décor. You can buy one or make something unique.
Alternative Holiday Party Ideas
Ok, not let's get to the really fun part. If you're still wondering how you can participate in holiday celebrations (together) without putting anyone at risk, try these ideas:
Keep it to Only People in Your Household
Have a small dinner with only the people who live in your household (we're doing this).
Enjoy Those Holiday Cookies
Instead of a cookie swap, how about a cookie RECIPE swap? Yum!
Christmas car parade – decorate your cars and have everyone meet up in a low key location (like a large empty parking lot) to show off their hard work!
Holiday Celebrations by Sharing Traditional Recipes
Preparing traditional holiday recipes for family, friends, or neighbors, and delivering it to them in a safe way.
Tree Decorating Holiday Party Ideas
Have a tree decorating party – virtually of course – but how fun would it be to chat away as everyone decorates their tree and shares the final results?
Ugly Sweater Party
Pull out those ugly sweaters and have a contest over Zoom. Let the laughter begin!
Socially distanced caroling – old-fashioned? Yep, but totally full of festive spirit and could lift the spirits of anyone not able to celebrate with loved ones.
Keep Holiday Celebrations Outdoors
If you feel that the risk is ok, have a small outdoor dinner with nearby friends or family. Please try to keep the gathering to 8 or under and keep everyone not in the same household separated 6+ feet apart.
Share a Virtual Dinner Together
Host a virtual dinner and share recipes with friends or family so they can cook or eat right along with you.
Keep Holiday Shopping Online
Skip Black Friday shopping in person and do it online instead – or wait for Cyber Monday.
Wrap and ship presents (or drop them on the doorstep) to family members. Instead of opening them together in person, do it over Facetime or any other video chat.
Stay Warm This Year
Enjoy sports events, parades, and movies from the comfort of your home instead of freezing in the cold!
Play Virtual Games Together
Play Secret Santa
Play Secret Santa – fill up a small box or large popcorn tin with goodies for a neighbor or friend and drop it off on their doorstep as a surprise. Don't let them see you!
Hopefully, these suggestions for alternative celebrations will help us all feel like we have some options.
Making the Best of Alternative Holiday Party Ideas
If we must remain apart, we'll certainly miss those hugs and the chance to hold the newest baby in the clan. But we'll be glad to keep everyone healthy while we share our lives with those who matter most.
Even low to no-contact holiday celebrations can be super fun and rewarding!
And start coming up with your holiday party ideas for next year. 😉
Just remember…this won't last forever. Make the best of it for now and know that this too shall pass.
Happy Holidays! 💗💗