It’s possible to enjoy a safe Christmas during this pandemic, with a little flexibility and compassion for those who are at risk.
The World Health Organization has made it abundantly clear that it’s essential to avoid gatherings this holiday season. You can celebrate a pandemic Christmas with just the people in your household, and still feel the magic of the holiday.
If you’re careful about who you include in your circle, it can even be safe to host or attend small gatherings. Be smart about your actions, because they affect more than just you.
1. Schedule virtual visits before the day of
Contact the people you’d usually spend your Christmas with by the 20th and schedule times to get in touch virtually. If you’re dealing with less-than-tech-savvy relatives, make sure they know how to log into the video conferencing system you’re planning to use. Make sure they have the app downloaded or can access the website too (or if you’re working with my dad, make sure he can even turn the computer on!).
Put these appointments on your calendar & stick to the plan. It’s hard to be so far from those you love, but it’s also so important this year. Making sure to see everyone, even virtually, will help ease the loneliness and make things seem a little more normal.
You can also make virtual visits even more fun. I have a friend who turned her son’s 3rd birthday into a virtual dance party. The birthday boy and his friends loved seeing each other and showing off their dance moves. Even more importantly, everyone stays safe.
2. Buy gifts that can be shipped and buy “small”
Plan further ahead than you usually need to, because you’ll be shipping gifts and that takes time. If you can purchase gifts now, do it. It may seem silly to ship presents to people locally, but it reduces contact points.
It’s also extra important to shop from small businesses this year. The huge corporations are doing fine, or better than usual, but small businesses are struggling. If you can find your desired gifts from a small business, please purchase from them. If they offer shipping, even better!
Check out Etsy for crafted items. Research the offerings and shipping abilities of small businesses you use in your everyday life. Think outside the box and do your best to avoid in-person shopping.
I usually browse Target for small gifts to put together for my daughter’s therapists, to show how much I appreciate the hard work they do all year. For 2020, I purchased them all coffee hut gift cards. It’s (unfortunately) less personal, but also safer for me to buy and it supports a small local business.
I have great suggestions for keeping your Christmas frugal too. Also, don’t forget to thank your delivery person. USPS, UPS, & FedEx employees are all working crazy hours at this time of year. I recently talked to a delivery person who said cash is always appreciated (haha, of course!), but so are thoughtful gestures like pre-packaged snacks or bottled water.
This year, the greatest gift is compassion. For those working, for those at risk.
3. Remember, “Pandemic Christmas” isn’t how it will always be
Talk to your kids (or other loved ones) about how important it is to take these precautions. Remind them that it’s for the greater good, to protect those who are vulnerable. This should be a temporary sacrifice before life can return to normal.
Make the holiday special in other ways. Purchase an advent calendar that your kids will love, complete a Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar, drive through neighborhoods known for their amazing light displays. Find ways to show children that different is still cool and fun.
Your efforts can help slow the spread of the virus, which protects those at risk. My family, where 2 of the 4 members are high-risk, appreciates your sacrifice.
Bonus Tip: relish the quiet & savings of a pandemic Christmas
Besides the community health benefits, there are 2 great things about staying home for the holidays: it will be quiet and relaxing, AND you’ll probably save money.
- have to pay for plane tickets, hotels, or gas
- buy ingredients to feed a huge crowd
- worry about gifts for holiday parties… or a new outfit (or the awkward socialization)
My family thoroughly enjoyed a Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us. We were able to schedule the main meal around our schedules, drink wine while the girls napped, and really enjoy the day. I wasn’t stressed about the cooking schedule or how much food to make.
This is just one Christmas of many. Embrace it with a positive attitude and you’ll reap the benefits