Balancing holiday commitments each year is a challenge most of us face.  However, this year there’s an unexpected elephant in the room that accompanies all holiday decisions: COVID.  Recently, I’ve had several people communicate an added layer of stress around annual holiday traditions.  The days where we fought over who was traveling where, what side dish to bring and what traditions were most important suddenly seem simple in comparison.

I had a good friend this week remind me we are all hard-wired for connection.  This makes the absence of holiday gatherings especially challenging.

So how do we re-invent connection during this difficult time?

I’ve been brainstorming a list this week and thought I’d share.

  • Visit NYC Window Wonderland: New York has iconic window displays every holiday season that are top notch. This year, go on a 360-degree view walking tour of the stunning windows in New York without leaving your home.  Our family is going to make hot cocoa (we do that a lot), put on our pajamas and view the windows.  You can find the link to you tour here
  • Host a Virtual Baking Party: Pick a group of friends to participate in a holiday baking party. Have each person write down their favorite holiday recipe and send it to everyone in the group.  Here’s the catch: each person sends their favorite recipe via snail mail to everyone in the group.  Bonus points if you have the ingredients needed in your recipe delivered to everyone in the group (think grocery delivery).  Then, on your Zoom baking day, have each person give a tutorial on their favorite recipe.
  • Have a Virtual Visit with Santa: Don’t feel safe having an in-person visit with Santa this year? Setup a virtual Santa visit for your kiddos.  You can view videos on virtual Santa sites to see what you’re getting and even book online.  Here’s a link to Santa the Experience.
  • Host a virtual wine tasting (holiday party): Several wineries in Napa Valley are hosting virtual wine tasting parties.  Wines are delivered to your door and then you can have a virtual tasting with a group of friends.  If you want to host a holiday party, you could consider this as a safe option.  Plus, who doesn’t love getting a box of wine delivered to their house?  Here are some virtual wine tastings options in Napa
  • Outdoor Holiday Displays: Several communities still have outdoor holiday displays so do your research to find safe options. Or, maybe you have a favorite neighborhood you want to drive through.  Make some hot cocoa, get decked out in your holiday pajamas and take a drive.  Make sure you turn on holiday music in the car.  If you’re feeling extra adventurous, order some of those 3-D holiday glasses for family passengers.
  • Holiday Cards to Senior Centers: Many people in senior centers have been isolated during this difficult time. Spend a day writing holiday cards to a local senior center in your area.  Make sure you contact the senior center directly to understand any COVID restrictions.
  • Holiday Food Train: Can’t have a holiday meal together? Make each person in your family responsible for one dish.  If you live close enough, have each member of the family create a dish to share.  Then, make a couple family members responsible for a safe holiday meal drop off.  If you live further apart, get creative!  Perhaps gather up all your family recipe favorites and send them to everyone.  Make your holiday favorites at each out and then have a Zoom thanksgiving.

 Have some COVID-safe ways to celebrate the holidays with your family?  Drop them in the comments.

 Here’s to re-inventing connection this holiday season,