• Nineteen Magazine

46 Ways To Safely Celebrate The Holidays In 2020

As much as we would like COVID-19 to disappear like a Christmas miracle, the reality is cases are rising across the U.S. this November and are predicted to continue to rise throughout the holiday season.


There are many traditions people have such as going shopping in crowded department stores on the morning of Black Friday or hosting large indoor Christmas parties that are just not in anyone's best interest to do this year.


Even hugging grandparents this year if you haven't self-isolated for a reasonable period of time is taking a risk that might not be worth it.


Although the holidays will look different this year and there are certain traditions we must give up in order to keep everyone alive until next Christmas there are plenty of things we can do celebrate each other and the season. Here are 46 ways to safely celebrate the holidays in 2020.


Drive And Look At Christmas Lights

Image: https://www.instagram.com/christmasjoy_365/


Take a drive around your neighborhood and admire the local light displays in your community. Make the moment extra memorable by bringing along the whole family. If you really want to have a fun time pack your favorite Christmas cookies and bring along some hot chocolate. Of course, you'll have to play the family's favorite Christmas music as well.


Go Christmas Caroling Virtually

Going caroling the traditional way, that is going door-to-door and singing with a large group of people is not a safe idea this holiday season. However, you can still bring the joy of music to others by making a recording or video of you/your band/your family performing a few Christmas songs and then simply upload to your social media pages and let all of your followers enjoy.


Have A Family Christmas Movie Marathon

Image: https://www.instagram.com/rudolphtherednosedreindeer/


Snuggle in, pop some popcorn, and binge-watch all of the classics from A Christmas Story to It's a Wonderful Life one weekend this December.


Pack A Shoebox For Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is an amazing organization that sends shoeboxes filled with small gifts to children in developing countries all over the world. To learn more please visit their website for more information.


Bake All Your Favorite Cookies

Maybe in recent past Christmases, you have neglected to bake some of your favorite recipes for lack of time. Well, this year there is pretty much no excuse for that. With limited places to go this winter many of us will be left with extra time on our hands, so why not use it to learn all of Grandma's homemade cookie recipes or maybe even invent some new ones of your own?


Have A Facebook Gingerbread House Competition

Let's be honest. In the last couple of months, Facebook has been a quagmire of political posts, and we all need a break from it. Spread a little joy and unity by challenging your Facebook friends to a friendly gingerbread house making competition.


Send Real Christmas Cards

There's nothing like getting a real Christmas card in the mail. While email and text message greetings are tempting to rely on, try going old-school for the holidays by sending out a few real Christmas cards with meaningful handwritten messages to your closest friends and family members. It will certainly brighten their day.


Make A Christmas Scrapbook

Scrapbooks are a great way to get creative and capture all of your family's funniest moments and favorite memories. Take on a new project this December by either working on a Christmas scrapbook for 2020 or by making a scrapbook of Christmases past.


Send Little Gifts In The Mail To Your Friends

Material gifts may not be the best way to express your appreciation for someone but during this time when everyone is apart imagine your friend's excitement when they reach for the mailbox and find a package with a new scarf and some of their favorite candies inside from their long-lost friend. You can easily ship things to your friends' houses directly from Amazon.


Put Out Your Own Christmas Lights Display

It seems like a lot of work but if you recruit a few family members to help you out with it putting your own Christmas lights display can actually be a lot of fun. Plus, it's a great way to spread the Christmas cheer to anyone who drives past your house.

Support Small Businesses In Your Community

You can support small businesses in your community by purchasing items from them to directly gift to your friends or family or you can buy a gift certificate to use at a later date. There are many small business owners hurting financially as a result of the pandemic, so the support you show however small will mean a lot to the entrepreneur and their families in your community.


Send Christmas Cards To Senior Citizens/Deployed Troops

Visit the websites of Love For Our Elders or USASOA for more information.


Donate To Your Local Food Bank

With thousands of people out of work or with reduced hours, hunger is also a rising problem in this country. Support those who are less fortunate than you by donating what you can to a trusted local food bank.


Go Ice-Skating, Sledding, Or Build A Snowman

Ice-skating (as long as it's outdoor and socially distanced), sledding, and building a snowman are fun activities to do if you live in a cold, wet climate. They are also great ways to get some fresh air and unplug from looking at a screen indoors all day.


Make A Playlist Of Your Favorite Christmas Songs

Making a playlist is the best way to compile all of your favorite Christmas songs in one place, but the process of making a playlist is also kind of fun, right? It feels like a productive activity, but it also feels like getting to listen to music you love. It's a win-win.


Decorate Your Car For The Holidays

Image: https://www.instagram.com/katrina_ludmila_li/


Whether your car is mostly parked in your driveway or if it's going be driving it cross-country this holiday season, give passerby and other drivers a laugh by decorating your car for the holidays. You can order a Rudolph Car Kit from Amazon for under $10.


Read A Christmas Carol

Image: https://www.instagram.com/_book_junction_/


You've probably read this classic book by Charles Dickens before in school or seen a film adaptation, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it again with fresh eyes. Spend a few nights this December snuggled up with a warm cup of coffee and a paperback of this book while being reminded of all the reasons we celebrate this season.


Call Your Extended Family And Wish Them A Merry Christmas

If you are a Gen Z kid or a Millenial, you probably hate calling people to talk on the phone. While text messages are sometimes more convenient, I know that your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and whoever else is in your family would enjoy having a real chat over the phone with you this holiday season. You might be busy, but it's important to prioritize your family even if it feels like an inconvenience to you in some way.


Drink Hot Chocolate With Breakfast

It might not pack as much of a punch as coffee, but drinking hot chocolate will remind you of happy childhood memories. Plus, it probably tastes better than you remember.


Make A Candy Cane Hunt For The Little Ones In Your Family

Like an Easter egg hunt, but with candy canes. Invite younger friends or family members over and let them explore your backyard for hidden candy canes and even other surprises if you want. Just make sure things stay outdoors and socially distanced. Masks would also be a good idea to keep everyone safe and healthy.


Host A Holiday Bonfire

It might be a little chilly, but you could enjoy a campfire with blankets, warm beverages, s'mores, and Christmas music this year if you are willing to deal with some cold. Who knows? It could become a new tradition for your family.


Eat Like Buddy The Elf

Image: https://www.instagram.com/tatumthurston/


We've all seen this movie at one point or another and secretly wished we could enjoy eating like Buddy does in the movie at least once. While you're at home and no one is there to judge you indulge yourself in some spaghetti with syrup, marshmallows, and chocolate candy.


Make A Thankful List

Giving thanks doesn't have to end in November, spend the whole holiday season being grateful by writing down something you are thankful for each day, Keep the list up on the refrigerator so that you can be reminded of how lucky you are throughout the day.


Count Down With A Deluxe Advent Calendar

Who said advent calendars have to be filled with cheap, chalky, chocolate candy? This year, treat yourself to a special advent calendar you'll actually look forward to opening. Target offers a variety of 15 Days of Socks calendars including the Lilo & Stitch one above. There are also makeup advent calendars. coffee advent calendars. and Hershey's Chocolate Advent Calendars.


Stop Watching/Reading The News For 48 Hours

We only can control our own actions and while it's great to be informed with current events sometimes the 24-hour news cycle can become a big stressor and burden on the people consuming it. If you're feeling constantly depressed by what's being reported take a break for a couple of days to reset and connect with the people directly in your bubble without the distractions of the turmoil around the world.


Take A Break From Social Media For A Few Days

Just like the news can bring some people down, so can social media. I promise you won't miss Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram as much as you think and they won't miss you that much either if you take a little hiatus to focus on other things including your mental and emotional health.


Connect With The People In Your Bubble

Just because you spend a lot of time in close proximity to someone doesn't mean you are connecting with them. Be intentional about bonding with your housemates. It could be through baking, playing a board game, or just going for a walk around the block. Spending time with them could really brighten up their holiday season.


Look Back Through Old Photo Albums

The holidays are a great time to reminisce about all the great things you have experienced in your life. What a better way to do that than looking through an old photo album? You might have a laugh at some of the pictures you find as well.


Go Snow-Tubing/ Skiing

Snow-tubing and skiing are two winter sports that can be done pretty much entirely socially-distanced and six feet apart.


Start A New Tradition

This year we are experiencing a "new normal" and while next year we hope to be back to a "normal, normal" this year is a great time to get creative with your family and think of a new tradition you could start together.


Light A Holiday Scented Candle

The fragrance of an apple cinnamon or vanilla-scented candle instantly makes me feel a little bit more in the holiday spirit. It might for you as well.


Make Reindeer Food With Your Little Ones

Image: https://www.instagram.com/shweetiesuk/


Check out this tutorial on how to make reindeer food. It's a fun kitchen activity to keep your little ones busy on Christmas Eve or during the days prior.


Track Santa

Use Google's Santa Tracker app to locate where Santa is on the globe for the entire twenty-four hours that someone on the earth is experiencing midnight on Christmas Eve. The kids in your household will love watching as Santa draws closer and closer to your state or country.


Make Salt Dough Ornaments

Image: https://www.instagram.com/taylorkrabill/


Here is an easy recipe for how you can make salt dough ornaments. It's super easy and only involves a few ingredients. You aren't limited to simple handprints either you can really make anything you want. After you are done baking your ornaments, you can get out a little acrylic paint to add some color.


Skip The Family Photoshoot

2020 has been a year to remember in all of the worst ways. Nobody needs another picture of your family in itchy Christmas sweaters sent to their mailbox with a braggadocious newsletter. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by skipping the photoshoot this year. I know you don't even like getting your photo taken anyway. Am I right?


Have An Instagram Ugly Sweater Contest

Challenge your friends to an ugly Christmas sweater contest via Instagram stories.


Get A Fresh Tree This Year

There's something simply magical about a fresh Christmas tree.


Put Up All Of Your Christmas Decorations

Most people have boxes of Christmas decorations that don't even put up. This year, since you have the extra time, why not spend the time putting up all the decorations you've been keeping in your attic or basement. It might require a little extra work, but it will certainly make your house more cheerful.


Turn On The Hallmark Channel

Hallmark is cheesy beyond belief. But the happy Christmas vibes are totally contagious.

To be honest, we all just need a happy movie rom-com once in awhile.


Take A Nap

We all need a nap. Naps are the best. Taking a nap is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.


Buy Yourself A Christmas Present

Whether it's that new set of headphones you've been wanting or a coffee on the way on the way home indulge yourself in a special Christmas treat.


Buy A Christmas Present For Your Pet

It's more fun for you than them, but that's kind of the point.


Drink Santa Coke From A Bottle

Image: https://www.instagram.com/orangejackius/


I don't know why, but Coke always tastes better in a bottle.


Watch The Walt Disney World Christmas Parade

Image: https://www.instagram.com/lostdisneyfiles/


Tune in to ABC on Christmas morning to watch the WDW Christmas parade on your T.V. If you're feeling nostalgic you can watch the 2008 parade on YouTube.


Tell Your Loved Ones You Love Them

This year has been rough, so it's important we spend some extra appreciating our loved ones this year by telling them how much we truly love them.



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