Get Creative to Celebrate Holidays Safely


Heather O’Donnell, Features Editor

With the coronavirus disease surging in many parts of the country, families will have to change the way they celebrate the holidays this year to keep themselves and their communities safe.
Although the pandemic has made it difficult to get in the holiday spirit, holiday celebrations can improve mental and physical health by providing opportunities for social interactions, triggering the release of chemicals such as oxytocin, norepinephrine, and endorphins, and allowing individuals to feel hope, joy, and gratitude.
Here are creative ways families can celebrate the holidays this year while adhering to public health protocols:
Share a meal remotely. Instead of one person using a hot stove or taking over the dinner table conversation, everyone can cook and share their stories via their laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You can trade recipes, compare your meals, play games and give thanks for your blessings.
Take an after-dinner walk. It is important to stay physically active. After your holiday meal, you can go on a virtual group walk with your family through your neighborhood to burn calories and spend time in nature. Enjoy the crisp air and look at the holiday lights.
Make “thanks calls” instead of prank calls. Make a list of people who’ve done something nice for you lately, such as teachers, friends or extended family members. Then set aside time on Thanksgiving to call and thank these people.
Send virtual care packages. You can send photos and videos that will make your loved ones smile.
Hold a gratitude bowl. Have people write something they’re grateful for on a slip of paper and add it to their household bowl. During your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa virtual event, take turns reading out loud.
Hold a holiday photo contest. You can show photos as part of your holiday celebration and have time to print cards for your holiday greetings. You can get as creative with this as you want!
Hold a virtual cookie decorating session. Have fun whipping up masterpieces with your family members without leaving the house. You can find cookie recipes here:
Follow CDC guidelines for travel. If you plan to travel, make sure to wear a mask, check travel restrictions, get a flu shot, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing.
As you can see, the pandemic doesn’t have to stop us from celebrating the holidays. It may not be easy to change holiday traditions, but finding new ways to celebrate can make the holidays more meaningful and allow us to appreciate new experiences. Happy holidays!