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Creating New Holiday Traditions During COVID-19

2020. What a year it’s been! As we head into the holiday season, it’s time to adapt, just like we’ve been doing all year long. The good news is that this gives us a chance to re-evaluate how we celebrate the holidays and start some new traditions! Who knows? These might become some of your family’s favorite traditions of all. (Or maybe you’ll decide you don’t want to repeat ANY of 2020. We wouldn’t blame you.)

Deliver Goodies to Friends and Neighbors

It’s going to be hard, if not downright impossible, to do large holiday get-togethers this year. If you’d still like to connect with friends and neighbors, consider delivering some meals (contactless is the way to go, folks). This is an especially wonderful way to celebrate with those who might be at high-risk for COVID-19 and are needing some extra love this holiday season.

You could also do a contactless goodie exchange. If you usually get together with a group of friends to make and swap cookies, you can still do it via your doorsteps. COVID doesn’t have to take all the fun out of the holidays!

Find Ways to Give Back

Speaking of people who could really use some extra love and holiday cheer this season, find a way you can give back to those in need. There are a lot of people who are suffering this year because of the pandemic, and there are so many ways to help them out. Food banks around the country are running low due to unprecedented demand. You can help with donations of food goods, or just donate money and let these organizations buy what they need most. Go to Feeding America to find food banks near you.

Other nonprofits have been stretched thin due to ever-increasing need this year, so if there’s a cause that’s important to you, it’s a good time to jump in and help. Consider helping veterans in need, donating to Toys for Tots, or helping out a homeless shelter. Nothing feels quite as good as a new holiday tradition that involves helping others.

Shop Local

November 28th is Small Business Saturday this year, and small businesses need our help now more than ever. Many of them have been hit hard by COVID, and this is a way we can help business owners out during the holiday season. Plus, have you noticed that when you shop local, the gifts are just so much original than they are when you buy them from global business dominator Amazon?

If you can, consider making a commitment to shop small for all of your holiday gifts this year. It might be a little more work, but it’s worth it. Here’s a list of businesses participating in Sacramento this year. Also, Aaron’s fiancé Jayme runs the incredible Salt & Shea, so check it out!

Host a Funky Themed Virtual Gathering

You know, Zoom isn’t a perfect substitute for everything, but it’s amazing how much you can do on a video call. They’re a convenient and free way to reunite with your family and friends this season. Who knows? You might even connect with some extended family who you don’t usually spend the holidays with…or maybe you don’t want to go there quite yet.

Set a theme, like an ugly sweater party, best elf costume, or Clark Griswold and friends, and encourage people to bring their favorite beverage and snacks. You could send gifts in advance and open them together during the call. It may not be as good as getting together, but a video call is a pretty darn good substitute…and you can still play fun games and make fun of each other.

Look for Local Events

Some of the best holiday events are those local community events where you catch up with the neighbors you haven’t seen since the same time last year (and then you remember why). This year, many of those events are going to be canceled or changed. The good news is that nine months into this pandemic, we’ve figured out how to have some of these events anyway.

Your town may broadcast its Christmas tree lighting ceremony—Sacramento’s will be broadcast on November 25th. If you typically have outdoor events, these may still be happening with crowd control and social distancing in place. Other events may be held in cars, drive-in style. If you normally participate in community events, finding a way to do so this year too will help make the season feel more normal.

Watch Holiday Movies at Home

You can also create a calendar of all the holiday movies you’d like to watch during the month of December. To make it even more fun, decide on some holiday treats to go with the movies—holiday popcorn mix or a hot cocoa bar are some treats kids and adults will love.

Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO let you host a movie party with others so you can start the movie at the same time, chat, and even take coordinated pauses for bathroom or snack breaks. It’s amazing how connected you can feel with the right technology!

Plan a Scavenger Hunt for Presents

If your kids are missing some of their favorite holiday fun, here’s something they’ll likely find pretty exciting. As long as there’s not snow all over the ground, it’s time to adapt an Easter tradition for Christmas. Why not hide some or all of their presents outside? It’s a fun way to spend the morning, and it just might take them a little bit longer to tear into their gifts.

Also, if the adults need a little fun themselves, you can totally do a scavenger hunt for the 21+ crowd. Have you ever hidden those little 2-oz. bottles of alcohol and set adults loose to find them? Trust us—this idea is a good one, especially right AFTER Christmas.

Book a Virtual Santa Visit

It’s not going to be a great year for Santa visits, with the whole lap-sitting thing and the reusable costume thing. But there are a few good alternatives. Have a relative or friend dress up for a video chat with the kids, or book a professional Santa visit online! These 20-minute experiences are personalized for up to four kids and include a video keepsake. Who knows? If you have a kid who’s terrified of Santa, you may not be going back to the in-person option anytime soon.

Do you have any ideas for new holiday traditions this year? If so, tell us about all of your wacky ideas below. We just might give them a try!

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