Is It Possible to Keep Holiday Traditions Alive This Year?

Placing special cookies on a tray. Opening holiday cards from friends and loved ones. Setting out holiday decorations while music plays softly in the background. Some of our favorite family memories revolve around the holidays. 

But we know this year will be different. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the CDC has recommended that the lowest-risk holiday gatherings should only involve people from our own households. Traveling to see other people and indoor gatherings with a large number of people – traditional holiday activities – are considered high-risk events for spreading the virus. 

So, while many of us will be altering our plans this year, there are still ways to keep holiday traditions alive and celebrate with the people we love. Whether it is the holiday decorations, the special food or certain activities, traditions like these create strong bonds between our family and friends. Holiday traditions serve as touchstones for many people, and being able to count on them this year can feel particularly important when other things might feel out of our control. Here are some suggestions to keep your traditions alive.  

Stream holiday movies. If your holiday gatherings usually include everyone at the party watching a movie together or putting on a kids’ movie for all the little cousins, that can still happen with the magic of streaming services and online group chat platforms. Look at options like Netflix Party, Zoom or Skype to set up a group movie night where everyone can watch a holiday movie together. 

Music in the background. Traditions that engage the senses will be important this year. Make sure you’ve got holiday music playing to keep people in a festive mood. If you’ve got little ones, let them pick their favorite holiday songs. Or have them create a holiday playlist with other relatives so everyone can be playing the same songs even if they are not together. 

Holiday treats. This is the season where everyone waits for their favorite cookies, pies or other desserts to show up on the holiday table. If you are missing a favorite recipe that an aunt, cousin or grandparent normally would bring to a holiday gathering, learn how to make it yourself. Ask that person to share the recipe or, better yet, set up a video chat so you can make it together. 

Holiday cards. In some families, traditions like holiday cards have fallen by the wayside. But this year, when many people are missing being with their loved ones and friends, it seems like a good time to revive the practice of writing messages of love and hope for the New Year, and dropping them in the mail with a festive stamp. Or let children pick out some eCards to send to relatives, or text a holiday message to someone they’ll miss seeing this year. 

Special ornaments. If your family puts up a holiday tree, think about buying several copies of a special ornament and sharing them with other relatives you won’t be able to see this year. Once everyone’s tree is decorated, you can all send pictures of the holiday trees – and the new ornament – to each other as a sign that you’ll all be in each other’s hearts even if you cannot be together. 

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Photo credit: Getty 

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