INSIDE: Creative ideas on how to have a socially distanced Christmas this year while still having lots of festive fun with those you love!
These are certainly strange times. Who would have thought that we would find ourselves battling through a pandemic in 2020? So much has changed and as we approach Christmas, you may find yourself wondering what on earth it will be like this year, and whether it’s even possible to have socially distanced celebrations. Can we spend quality time with our family and friends over the holiday season, or are the festivities just going to be disappointing and a shadow of what we are used to in more normal times?
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Nobody knows how serious the Covid-19 situation will be by the time December 25th comes along. The reality is that it may well have to be a socially distanced Christmas this year, but with a little creativity and imagination, we can still make sure we have a lovely festive time with those we love.
So here are some ideas to help reduce the stress related to the pandemic this holiday season. I’ve also included plenty of tips on how to enjoy the festivities, while still staying safe:
Table of Contents
- Focus on what’s important
- If money is tight this year
- Plan ahead
- Socially distanced ways to have fun together this season
- Ideas for a socially distanced Christmas Day
- In-person Christmas celebrations
- Final thoughts
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Focus on what’s Important
Remember to focus on what really matters this year, which is family and friends. Try not to let the stress and worry about Covid ruin Christmas for you. Although we may not physically be with those we love, we can still find ways to stay connected and have a safe and special Christmas.
I don’t know anyone who isn’t at least a little anxious at the moment. This may only get worse in the run-up to Christmas as people worry about not seeing family or the state of their finances this year. So take the time to check in on those you care about and spread some much needed festive cheer.
If money is tight this year
None of us could have predicted the situation we now find ourselves in. With unprecedented job losses and Covid restrictions limiting people’s ability to work, you may have lost your income through no fault of your own. Perhaps, like so many, you now find yourself facing Christmas in a far less financially secure position than you ever would have imagined possible.
If this is the case for you, then you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world will be in similar situations. My childcare business collapsed during lockdown, and my husband’s company has been servery affected, so we know all too well how this feels.
So, what should you do if you are worried about how to pay for Christmas this year? Rather than getting stressed about trying to provide a ‘normal’ Christmas, only do what you can afford. If you’re on a reduced income, be honest with your family about your current situation. Explain that Christmas will have to on a reduced budget and work together to find a solution.
There is absolutely no point going into debt. After all, what’s important at Christmas are the people you love, not the things you buy or receive.
Perhaps you can agree as a family to only give gifts to the children this year, thereby reducing the financial pressure on all concerned. If that’s not feasible, then resist the temptation to spend beyond your means. Why not buy token gifts for people or try something homemade for a change?
In these uncertain times, it’s difficult to know how things are going to be in the lead up to Christmas. If you’re usually a last-minute Christmas shopper, it might be wise not to leave your present buying until Christmas Eve this year!
Many of us will be relying on online shopping more than ever to avoid the crowds and the need to wear those awful masks! But bear in mind that everyone else will probably have the same idea too. Although I’m sure most online retailers will be planning for a surge in demand, it’s best to avoid any last-minute hiccups with stock shortages or delivery holdups. So, get organized and get your orders in early.
Start your food shopping well ahead of time too. Try to use as many freezable and non-perishable goods as you can this year so that you can buy them and store them well in advance. By starting your food shopping early, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get all you need if not everything is delivered first time around. That way you can avoid a Christmas morning panic about the missing cranberry sauce or brandy cream!
Socially distanced ways to have fun together this holiday season
Enjoy the elf antics!
In our house, two naughty elves get up to all kinds of mischief throughout December! Maybe you have similar visitors too. If so, why not join with friends and family who also have elf invasions and share their antics on regular facetime calls? Be careful though; the elves might get even more naughty ideas from each other!
If you don’t have any elves yet, this could be a perfect year to write to Santa to ask for one! They bring so much fun and laughter into our home every Christmas. It really wouldn’t be the same without them!
Tree decorating party
We don’t usually decorate our trees together, but why not break with tradition and organize a tree decorating event with your friends and family this year? Simply schedule a time that works well for everyone and then get decorating together via an online call. It’s a great way to get everyone in the festive mood and share one of the most fun parts of the season. Just make sure you have some Michael Bublé playing (his Christmas album is a must in our house) and maybe some bubbly flowing too. You could even have a mutual Christmas light turning on ceremony when you’re all done!
Go bigger this year
You may not be able to have all your friends and family over this year, but you can still bring some festive cheer to your neighbourhood! If you usually only decorate inside, why not go to town outside this year too? Nothing raises my spirits more than walking past a house covered in full festive lighting on a cold dark winter’s night. I want one of these, but I think I may have a job persuading my husband!
Gingerbread house building party
One of our favourite family traditions is to bake and build a gingerbread house decorated with sweets and chocolate. Why not do the same, but use this as an social opportunity to have some festive fun? Go ahead and invite all your friends and family to join you for an online baking party. It’s a great experience for everyone to share and then enjoy seeing all the different tasty creations!
If making a gingerbread house from scratch sounds like a daunting prospect, get everyone to buy a pre-baked kit like this one instead to assemble and decorate together. Or for a bit of fun, you could try making these adorable mini ones!
Christmas parties – at a distance!
And so now we come the question of what to do about those Christmas parties? With hospitality businesses either under lockdown or only able to operate a takeaway service or subject to other restrictions, many of us will have to come up with more creative socially distanced alternatives this year.
Why not host an online Christmas drinks party instead, and enjoy the company of your friends or colleagues over Zoom? Ask everyone to put on their favourite festive glad rags and to position their Christmas trees in view of the camera to add to the festive cheer.
If it’s a staff Christmas party where the company has a budget set aside for such occasions, why not post out a gift box of wine to all staff members or send out a voucher to cover the cost of drinks and Christmas nibbles? This could also make a great Christmas present for your friends and family.
To make it more fun, you could make it a fancy dress online party and give out prizes for the best outfit or perhaps the least tasteful Christmas jumper!
Don’t miss out on Secret Santa this year!
If Secret Santa is a tradition in your Christmas parties, then don’t let it fall away this year. Use an online generator to allocate a ‘giftee’ to each participant. Everyone can then buy a gift for their assigned person at the agreed price and post it off! Open them together as part of your online party. This way, you can still have lots of fun watching everybody open their gifts (especially the naughty ones!)
Ideas for a socially distanced Christmas Day
And so we get to the big day itself. To stop yourself feeling sad of disillusioned about the impact of Covid on Christmas this year, use these ideas to stay as connected as possible to those you love:
Zoom present opening
I love the excitement of everyone opening their presents on Christmas morning, and it would be a shame to miss out on that. If you’re the same, get your family to be super organized this year and post everyone’s gifts out in good time. Then arrange a Zoom call so that you can all still enjoy opening your gifts together!
Online Christmas meal
If restrictions prevent you from getting together for a Christmas meal, either with friends or family, why not do it remotely instead?
Get every household to lay their tables in full festive glory, roast your turkeys and steam your Christmas puds simultaneously and then tuck in together online. Be sure that paper crowns, crackers and Christmas ballads are mandatory. Then hopefully, Christmas won’t then feel quite so different after all this year.
Christmas Pud and Movie Combo
After a serving of turkey and all the trimmings, why not plan for absent family or friends to join you for a festive dessert and Christmas movie combo? Agree on a film ahead of time, light the fire (if you’re lucky enough to have one), turn on the Christmas lights and settle down to enjoy the movie with your favourite Christmas pudding!
In-person Christmas celebrations
Depending on where you live, you may still be able to meet your friends and family in person. If you are restricted on numbers, then there may still be people who can’t be with you. Again, technology can stop anyone feeling excluded or lonely, so get them on Zoom and let them join the festivities.
For those that you do meet in person, it’s important to remember the rules and take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe:
Stay Within Your Allowed Numbers
It’s only natural to want to be with all those we love at Christmas, but it’s essential to follow the rules and stay within the numbers of people that you are allowed to meet this year. That keeps things safer for everyone and makes planning your in-person celebrations much easier.
Whereas in the past, we would have gathered regardless of coughs and colds, it’s vital, this year, that anyone with Covid symptoms stays at home along with their household member. If people do need to self-isolate in this way, remember that you can still enjoy Christmas with them online.
Keep your distance
Although it feels completely abnormal, remember that there can’t be any kissing under the mistletoe this year. It’s our instinct to want to hug each other, especially at Christmas, but it’s important not to. Get silly and try some elbow bumps or foot taps instead!
Remember that everyone’s inhibitions and sense of caution will drop the more they have to drink. So, it may be wise to keep the flow of alcohol moderate this year. (Sorry, that’s such a sad suggestion for a Christmas gathering, but important to remember.)
Create a Socially Distanced Seating Plan
Think about your seating plan and how you are going to keep everyone at a safe social distance. It may be that you need to put up an extra table so that everyone can spread out a bit. You could always put some giant Christmas crackers between place settings to bring some humour into the need for social distancing!
Keep a window open
When it’s cold outside, the last thing we may feel like doing is opening a window. But it’s essential to keep your home well ventilated to reduce the spread of infection, particularly if you have more people inside than usual.
Have some festive hand sanitizer available
To help reduce the spread of infection, it’s crucial to ensure that everyone keeps their hands clean. Ask all your guests to wash their hands when they arrive. Perhaps you could make a joke of this with some candy cane themed arrows pointing to the washroom on arrival.
Have some festive themed bottles of hand sanitizer placed around your home in high traffic areas and encourage everyone to use them. Maybe wrap the bottles in tinsel or create them some elf outfits to make the situation a bit more lighthearted!
If you don’t feel comfortable about meeting inside, or if this goes against the rules in your area, then is there a way you could gather outside? Maybe hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows over a fire pit could be a fun, festive alternative.
Perhaps after your Zoom Christmas lunch, you could meet for a walk outside somewhere (rules permitting) to work off all those Christmas excesses. Or you could wait until it’s dark and meet up for a stroll around your neighbourhood to admire the festive lights and decorations.
If like me, you find the prospect of not spending this holiday season with your family and friends makes you feel a little sad, then I hope these ideas may help. Things may be very different to normal, but by putting your creativity to good use, you can still have a very merry socially distanced Christmas this year.
Perhaps the notion of a digital online Christmas fills you with dread. You may have had your fill of Zoom quizzes and the like by now! If that’s the case, why not take the opportunity to have a low-key day with members of your household? It could be quite lovely to do Christmas just as you would like with no stress. So, if you fancy staying in your pyjamas all day, eating chocolate and binge-watching Christmas movies, then go ahead. It is Christmas after all!
No matter how you choose to spend your holiday season this year, one thing is for certain: This isn’t going to be a Christmas that any of us will forget in a hurry!
If you have any other suggestions about how to have a socially distanced Christmas, I’d love to hear them. Please leave your ideas in the comments section below.
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Thanks for reading, and I wish you and your family a very merry socially distanced Christmas!