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Keeping the Holiday Season Joyous Despite COVID-19

This holiday season is different from the others that came before it. Many families are wondering how they can safely get together, exchange gifts, and ring in the joy of the holiday season with their loved ones without increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

That doesn't mean, however, that you have to give up the joy of the holiday season. In fact, there are several things seniors and their family members can do to keep the holiday excitement alive while taking precautions against COVID-19. 

1. Deliver gifts to doorsteps. 

If you cannot be in direct contact with your family, take the opportunity to be Santa's elf this year — complete with the hat and pointy shoes, if you so desire! Wrap up gifts for loved ones whom you won't be able to spend time with this holiday season. You might even be able to visit for a few minutes from six feet or so away, especially if weather permits. 

2. Set up a virtual get-together.

You might not be able to celebrate your family traditions as usual, but you can get together through Skype, Zoom, or another online platform. Through that virtual platform, you can have your usual holiday gathering, just from a safe distance! Deliver gifts ahead of time, then open them together online. You can still celebrate your usual traditions and enjoy time together — it will just be through a screen this year.

3. Bake for your family members. 

If baking or cooking is an important part of your holiday traditions, why not enjoy it as usual? Plan to bake your favorite holiday cookies or fix a meal for your loved ones. Separate the yummy treats into containers by household, and then deliver it! Even if you can't be together in person to eat, you can still share your love of good food with your family members. You might also consider sitting down and having an online gathering while you eat together. 

4. Have a virtual cookie-baking session.

Do you have a special family recipe that you've been meaning to pass down? A much-beloved recipe that you make together each year? Try a virtual baking or cooking session. Measure out your favorite ingredients, show exactly how to tell when a specific dish or dessert is done, and make memories together from the convenience and safety of your own kitchens. 

5. Read holiday stories to the grandkids.

Getting together for a virtual reading session is a great way to make holiday memories despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Choose some of your favorite holiday stories, from traditional favorites to new stories that involve the kids' favorite characters. Then, get together with the kids in a virtual meeting to read those stories. Consider recording yourself to give the grandkids a cherished memory — not to mention a holiday story that their parents can use for downtime throughout the holiday season. You can read the books yourself and show off the pictures or invite the kids to follow along with their own copies, specially delivered by their favorite elf (or the mail truck). 

6. Watch movies together (virtually). 

Many platforms, including Netflix, now offer the option to watch in sync with friends and family members, no matter how far away they are. Set up a favorite holiday movie-watching session on your platform of choice and settle in to watch together. This could be a great time for you to share some favorite holiday snacks with your loved ones!

7. Give back together.

As a family, choose a community project that you want to participate in. For example, holiday gift-giving for kids and families. Work together to buy needed gifts online or have one family member take up donations. You can then give those donations in the name of your whole family. By helping others, you will naturally increase your holiday joy this season. 

8. Go on a light ride.

Each family unit rides in their own vehicle, but all of you drive through the best, brightest neighborhoods together as you check out the lights. You can even connect via your phones and chat with one another — just make sure someone besides the driver operates the phone!

There are plenty of opportunities to make the most of this holiday season, especially if you exercise some creativity and work together to make it as safe and happy as possible. Who knows? You could even create new holiday traditions that last long after COVID-19 comes to an end.

Written by: Yelena Sokolsky