8 Tips to Keep the Holidays Happy

’Tis the season that families and friends would typically be gathering to exchange gifts and celebrate traditions. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will be different. 

We encourage our TCOM Collaborate to celebrate this year’s festivities in ways that we hope will help keep us all safe and healthy. We understand that this may present some difficult emotional and logistical challenges. Celebrating holidays alone or only with our immediate household members can be a new hurdle that many of us haven’t experienced before.

But the holidays aren’t canceled. We can still share our love, show gratitude, and plan creative activities to make this holiday a season to remember.

Here are a couple of ideas that you may want to consider to celebrate this holiday season in new and different ways:

  1. Share a Meal Remotely
    Most of our end-of-the-year holidays involve our family and friends gathered around a table with our favorite traditional meals. To include people outside of your household, use one of the many videoconferencing platforms that are available to share your meal and good conversation remotely. Have people share their recipes, compare culinary creations, and show how their dishes were prepared. (For recipe ideas, the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky recently created a virtual cookbook that you can find here)

  2. Organize a Game Night
    This would be a good time to bring out any old board games or teach your kids new games that they haven’t gotten the chance to play yet. Many games can also be played online, or you can play traditional games (e.g. trivia, scavenger hunts, charades) on a video call.

  3. Holiday Movie Watch Party
    Hosting a virtual movie night might be the way to go to be able to entertain as well as connect with your friends or your family. Netflix, Hulu, and many other streaming platforms can allow you to watch the movie all at once. You can send a poll to your virtual “guests” for the movie night to see what movie you will be screening, then set aside a block of time to all watch the film together.

  4. Caroling Karaoke
    Traditional caroling this year is a high-risk activity with COVID-19. Using a video call platform and some karaoke apps, you can convert your caroling to an online event. Record your video, then post your family or your friends’ magical voices onto any of your social media platforms to spread holiday cheer.

  5. Holiday Lights Tour
    To bring back the magic of the holidays, plan a road trip around town with your household members to see the light displays around your neighborhood, local downtown area, or businesses.

  6. Visit with Santa Claus on Your Computer
    Santa is still coming to town, sort of. His visits are much trickier this year, as there have been restrictions on his in-person visits due to the pandemic. However, many sites allow you to connect with Saint Nicholas virtually. Even though his appointments are booked (since tonight is his busiest night), you can see a pre-recorded video on Santa Calling for free.

  7. Attend a Virtual Storytelling, Mass or Concert
    Not many in-person events are being hosted this holiday season. Luckily, many of those events are still taking place online. Many holiday theaters and musical performances are still taking place virtually, such as San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker until December 31st.
    These online events have made it possible to experience different celebrations all over the country. Checking with your favorite local organizations to see what they have planned is also recommended.

  8. Bake and Decorate Some Sweet Treats
    Gingerbread houses + sugar cookie decorating have always been a fun tradition. Whether this involves your household or done virtually, this allows others to be creative and to have a snack at the end! For recipes, there’s an abundance of recipes on the internet, and Food Network provides a step-by-step guide. I personally pair my sweet treat with a sweet drink, like eggnog or hot cocoa.

COVID-19 is still surging in most of the United States, and in different areas around the world. Many of us are breaking tradition this year by having to physically social distance, which can add a new stress on this holiday season. This year, everyone will need to rethink what truly matters about holiday gatherings — or rather, what exactly it is we love about them.

The University of Kentucky (where our Center is based) will be closed from December 19, 2020– January 3, 2021. As a courtesy, our Support Services will still be available on a limited basis during this time. This includes the General TCOM Training Support, Coaching Support, and eCANS Support. Support Services will respond to your requests within 2 business days, holidays notwithstanding. Due to these limitations, we urge you to use the guides provided on the Praed Foundation Website.

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