This may be the strangest holiday season ever. Celebrations are smaller, traveling is less, and many people are revising their holiday plans to lower the risks of spreading COVID-19. CDC guidelines that recommend social distancing can make it seem like skipping holiday celebrations is a good idea. Even though the holiday season may be different this year, it can still be a time for celebration and exchanging gifts with friends and family.
While the best advice is to opt-out of big celebrations and have small, more intimate gatherings with people in your immediate family or your pandemic pod, you can still make them special. Use technology to celebrate with family and friends that can’t or shouldn’t travel to see you. It may be different, but it’s still a celebration. It will take a lot of creativity and care to make the season bright.
Holiday Shopping May Be Different This Year
Since many people won’t be traveling this holiday season, they will probably be shopping earlier and online. In fact, many people are already buying and sending gifts to their loved ones. If there’s nothing else we’ve collectively learned this year, it’s that nothing is predictable. Expect many items to be sold out quickly, so make sure to shop ahead of time so that your gifts make it in time.
Another difference this year is that more shopping will be done online and less in-store. It’s likely that people will be avoiding the normally crowded shopping centers and malls, especially on Black Friday. More brick-and-mortar retailers are likely to be closed on Thanksgiving Day as shoppers will be looking for deals online and sending gifts directly to their recipients. It’s likely that there will be less interest in traditional gifts like clothing and shoes and more interest in experiences that can bring the family closer together.
Because so many people are ordering online and sending their gifts rather than delivering them in person, prepare for delivery delays. Plan ahead and make important purchases in plenty of time for them to be delivered. That way, you’ll have the pleasure of watching them open their gifts with everyone else during your virtual celebration.
Sending Gifts or Giving Them In-Person
There’s rarely a right answer to the question of whether you should give gifts in person or send them. Giving gifts is a big part of many holiday celebrations, and even though people can’t gather, they can still give gifts to celebrate the season. There are still many ways to bond with friends and family, even with restrictions caused by the pandemic.
Whether you give your gifts in person may depend on many factors. If you live close to your relatives, you may be able to drop them off. If you are sure that neither you nor they have been in high-risk situations, you may even step in to visit. Just remember the three Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.
Virtual Holiday Celebrations
Virtual holiday events held over Zoom or FaceTime can still be special and meaningful. It seems strange to us now, but later in life, the kiddos will be reminiscing about the time when they opened their presents during a Zoom. What makes holidays special: food, family, and memories of times when we’re celebrating together.
Quick tips for virtual celebrations and gift-giving:
- Send a care package of favorite foods to enjoy together.
- Create a festive holiday background, or find one online.
- Open gifts together so you can watch each other’s reactions.
- Record the virtual holiday so you can look back on it later.
- Plan some activities or a slideshow to keep the conversation going.
A drive-thru or drive-by holiday celebration allows social distancing while letting you and your family celebrate together. You can choose someone’s home or a parking lot where cars line up to drop off gifts and cards. Make it special by sending out invitations and encourage your guests to decorate their vehicle to make it more festive.
Quick tips for drive-thru celebrations and gift-giving:
- Individually wrapped treats or treat bags.
- Portable sound system to play holiday music.
- Set up a gifting station where people and drop off and pick up gifts.
Contactless Outdoor Celebrations
Coordinate a contactless celebration with your friends and family. Find an outdoor space where everyone can spread out, visit, and exchange gifts safely.
Quick tips for contactless outdoor celebrations and gift-giving:
- Have everyone bring their own refreshments
- Set a dress code: it can be festive attire or ugly holiday sweaters, or anything else that suits you
- Set up a table to exchange gifts and have people approach one at a time
Make Your Holidays GR8
Sure, the holidays this year will be different, and you may have to change your plans to adapt to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. It doesn’t mean they can’t be memorable and joyful. Use the celebration ideas and GR8 gift guide to bring joy to others and yourself. Whether you have a small gathering of loved ones you’ve been quarantining with, a virtual celebration with the entire family, or both, you’ll forge bonds over a holiday that is unlike any others. Have a happy, joyful, and healthy holiday.