25 unusual ideas to celebrate holidays during quarantine.
Monday, November 23, 2020
Unwrap these 25 quarantine holiday ideas to keep the festivities fun, the kids entertained and the memories happy.
1. Tell holiday bedtime stories
When you wind down for the night, treat everyone to a holiday-themed bedtime story. Make it a one-time event or start a longer book early and read it bit by bit every night until Santa comes.
2. Do a holiday scavenger hunt
Make a list of wintery or holiday-themed items, then see who can find everything on the list first. It’s perfect for every level of quarantining and kind of weather. Adapt it to include items in the house, the yard or the neighborhood. Go solo or team up. Tailor it with age-appropriate items for kids, adult couples or a range of friends.
3. Don’t sit on Santa
If your kiddos will be disappointed by not being able to sit on Santa’s lap this year, try a virtual alternative. Ask a friend or family member to don the iconic red suit and chat on Zoom from the “North Pole.” The younger set who still breaks into tears when they see Kris Kringle up close might actually love this.
4. Make holiday cards and gifts
Holiday greeting cards have been going by the wayside in favor of e-cards lately, but this might be the year to bring back the classic tradition. You and the kids can send customized greetings with some cardstock, construction paper and good old-fashioned crafting supplies. It’s an especially nice gesture if you’re unable to visit with out-of-town relatives this year.
Social distancing at the mall and avoiding holiday crowds will be tough. Stay home and make a thoughtful homemade gift. Knit something, try out your new woodworking skills, dip your own candles, macramé a hanging plant basket or make some finger-painted masterpieces with the kids.
5. Organize a cookie-free exchange
Have your cookie exchanges been canceled because of COVID? Instead of swapping finished baked goods, organize a recipe exchange instead. You might finally get that prized recipe someone’s been keeping a secret all these years.
You can also send cookies for a good cause. Rather than baking them yourself, purchase some from a non-profit organization like Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and have them shipped straight to the recipient. When you purchase from Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, 100% of the profits go toward funding pediatric cancer research.
6. Decorate somewhere new
You’re spending more time at home, so make sure your décor is on point. Look beyond simple tree and mantle décor and deck all – seriously, ALL – the halls this winter. Don’t forget to jolly up your home office, bar cart or cabinet, kitchen and even laundry room.
7. Challenge someone to a decorating duel
It’s time for a friendly decorating contest. Maybe you give each of your kids a small Christmas tree – anything from a 12-inch tabletop topiary to an artificial four-footer for the corner of their bedroom – and give them free reign to put their unique decorative touch on it. Or maybe you go head-to-head with your partner on the best wreath.
8. Make an ornament
This is a great one for anyone who’s crafty, looking to ward off boredom or hoping to keep the kids busy. Make a unique, personalized ornament for your or a loved one’s tree.
9. Adopt a family
There are always families in need at holiday time, perhaps even more so this year as people struggled to find consistent employment or were faced with unexpected expenses. Connect with an organization like The Julian Center and provide toys, clothes and other necessities to those in your community.
Would you prefer to help someone you know rather than an unknown family? Consider paying for a month of their heat and utilities or buy some groceries for them. It might not be a big expense to you, but it can lift a huge burden from their shoulders.
10. Decorate or make holiday masks
We might be living with masks for some time. If nothing else, they’ll help keep your face warm on cold winter walks. Try decorating some disposable ones with paint, glitter or even simple markers. Or stock up on some holiday-themed fabrics and sew some reusable masks. Turn it into a contest and see who can be the most creative.
11. Learn someone else’s holiday traditions
Whether you look to another culture or ask others about their family traditions, learn how other people celebrate the holidays. You might choose to incorporate some of those traditions into your own celebration – a new food dish, some décor, a prayer or message of thanksgiving – to grow in your understanding, empathy and compassion during this joyous season.
Kwanzaa is a nonreligious holiday celebrated by millions of African Americans, focusing on concepts like unity, heritage, truth, justice and mutual respect. It’s not unusual to celebrate Kwanzaa and another holiday like Christmas, so you’ll be in good company if you take the time to learn about these traditions and celebrate them respectfully.
12. Decorate your door and porch.
Go a little overboard decorating your front porch this year. Why stop at a simple holiday wreath? Do up your entire door and porch with holiday décor that will bring cheer to both you and your neighbors. If you need some inspiration, check out our Christmas Porch Décor Pinterest board.
13. Ask Alexa
You can make all kinds of holiday commands for Alexa. Test your trivia knowledge, play music, get holiday cooking tips, track Santa … the list goes on.
14. Go light-seeing
Holiday lights are a tradition for many of us. Take a drive and enjoy the brightness of the season from the isolated safety of your own car. It’s a great chance to explore some new neighborhoods. Many towns are also turning their traditional light shows into drive-ins this year, so check your local listings for more ideas.
15. Purge to make room for new gifts
Prepare for an influx in toys, books, clothes and other gifts by purging what you already have and don’t use. You’ll feel good for the organizational effort and for donating your gently used items to a thrift store or charity. Get your kids involved and use it as an opportunity to teach them about helping other families who might not have as many toys and gifts.
16. Build a bonfire
A backyard fire pit provides all kinds of opportunities for safer holiday gatherings. Staying outside can help reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, so it’s a good alternative if you simply can’t imagine not seeing friends and family. Simply enjoy the toasty fire together or get creative with some hot holiday drinks or grilled caramel apples.
17. Try a new latke recipe
Some recipes become traditions even when no one really likes them that well. If that’s the case, try a new version, whether it’s latkes, sweet noodle kugel or jelly donuts. If you’re feeling disconnected from your family and traditions, dig out one of Grandma’s classics and make that instead.
18. Look at old photo albums
Are you missing your favorite holiday traditions? Take a stroll down memory lane with the Ghost of Christmas Past and look at old photos. It’s time to actually flip through those old albums that have been collecting dust.
19. Take a family photo
Your holiday cards have probably already been sent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a great family photo now. Save it for next year’s card or text it right away with season’s greetings to the friends and family who are celebrating in their own homes.
20. Remake a holiday classic
Stop-motion Christmas movies like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Jack Frost have a special place in our hearts. There are tons of apps like iMotion and Stop Motion Studio that are free and easy to use so you make your own movies.
21. Invent a holiday drink
Large holiday parties are less common this winter. Use this as a planning year. Invent a new holiday drink or two. Test them out and save the winning recipe for next year’s festivities.
23. Go caroling
Sharp HealthCare advises us to “refrain from singing, loud talking or shouting” to reduce transmission of the coronavirus. Instead, put on a mask, maintain appropriate distance from your neighbors and play Christmas music from a portable Bluetooth stereo. Think of it as your own version of Love Actually but without the heartache.
Do you set out milk and cookies for Santa? Or carrots for his reindeer? Help Santa stay healthy by putting out some hand sanitizer, too. You don’t want him taking any germs back to the elves.
25. Host a holiday movie marathon
We know catching a Christmas-day movie at the theater is a big tradition for many. This year, stay in and host a holiday movie marathon or watch party with distant family. You’ll save money and protect your health. Let everyone pick their favorite – Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, A Christmas Story – so no one gets left out. Which classics are we missing?