If you're looking for ways to connect with family and loved ones this holiday I've compiled a "starter list" of ideas to jumpstart your holiday planning. First and foremost, however, make sure to follow CDC and local/state guidelines for safety during the pandemic. At the time of this post these activities may not coincide with guidelines for your area--you can visit the CDC for more information here.
For the Family:
Make a holiday music play list. If you’re doing this as a family project, have each family member pick their favorite 5 songs (or other number) and make a holiday mix based on everyones favorites.
Make hot chocolate, put it in travel mugs, and drive around (or walk, if applicable) to look at holiday lights. Have your holiday playlist or favorite holiday music to listen to while you drive around.
Have a weekly “holiday mug night” where you have hot chocolate, chai, mulled cider, and/or holiday themed teas together.
Purchase gingerbread house kits for each family member to decorate and then make them together.
Make a holiday family recipe— i.e. a favorite Kwanzaa dish; Christmas cookies your grandparents use to make; your family recipe for latkes; etc. If you don’t have any traditional recipes, perhaps you could start a new holiday food tradition.
Create a holiday menu for the special day— use Pinterest or Google to find recipes and ideas for drinks/mocktails, appetizers, sides, main course, and of course dessert!
Have at least one candlelight meal together.
Watch your favorite holiday movies.
Have a game night with holiday snacks or treats while you play favorite board and card games.
Listen to a holiday themed audio book or podcast together.
Gather natural materials from outside such as pine cones, pine boughs, dried grasses/weeds/flower heads to make a centerpiece for your table, napkin holders for a holiday meal, or window decorations.
Have a baking day— bake cookies, Chex Mix, and/or holiday fudge and candy.
Find new ways to decorate this year— i.e. if your family has more decorations than they use, use some of the extras for your bedroom or another area of the house. Or, put a smaller tree in your bedroom to decorate with extra ornaments (it doesn’t need to be a live tree— you could make a paper one or other crafty version).
Do a compare/contrast family photo shoot— parents/guardians are in charge of one version of the family photo shoot and the kids/teens in the house are in charge of the other. If you print and send holiday cards, this is a fun side-by-side photo to mail or post on social media.
Put the kid/teens in the house in charge of planning a way for the family to volunteer or donate money this season. i.e. If anyone in your family sews, create face masks and donate them; bring food to a local food pantry; bake something for a neighbor; donate to the local animal shelter; mail holiday or new years cards to people serving in the military overseas, etc.
Facetime your relatives and ask them to share a favorite family holiday moment (or story) with you. You might learn something new about your family!
If your family likes creative challenges, see if your family can decorate one room in the house with completely handmade or repurposed items.
For Tween/Teens and their Friends:
Facetime/ZOOM/etc while each of you…
Create an online holiday movie night each week and invite friends to join in. Have each friend choose a favorite to watch.
Challenge your friends to a “toss and catch the snowball” or other collaborative video for social media.
Mask up and stay appropriately distanced while you…
In this crazy year of COVID-19 don't forget to schedule some self care for yourself and to also check in with others. In the meantime, sending you all the best for a safe and healthy December.