5 tips for enjoying the holidays during COVID-19. How to get in the spirit of the holiday season and keeping everyone safe.

COVID-19 makes every holiday a little scarier. Now that your spider web netting, scary masks and adorable kids costumes have been safely tucked away in storage, it’s time to turn our attention to Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season. Time to pull out your inflatable turkeys, decorative gourds, twinkly lights and shimmery trees. 

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are going to be a bit different for all of us this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to re-evaluate their travel plans, the size of family gatherings, and even how we handle our annual year-end office parties – which are moving online, if they happen  at all.  

According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics, Americans plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday decorations and food, as well as additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families this holiday season. Overall spending is down by about $50 from last year, but per person spending on decorations is slightly up. After being stuck (mostly) at home since March, it was heartening to see families put so much effort into making sure their kids could participate (more or less) in a safe Halloween. Now, they’re bringing that same sense of fun, seasonal cheer, and safety to our year-end celebrations.  

The hardest part of the holidays isn’t resisting the urge to overspend (although it’s always a good idea to set a budget for yourself and stick to it) it’s figuring out how to make it special for you and your family, even if you can’t all be together.

5 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays During COVID-19

Here are our recommendations for safely celebrating the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Holiday Tip #1: Pay Close Attention to COVID-19 Restrictions in Your Area

Many parts of the country are experiencing a surge in cases of coronavirus. Some are considering reimposing restrictions on business operations and social gatherings and could even require residents to shelter-in-place again. If you’re planning any sort of gathering, you’ll want to monitor the situation and follow the CDC’s guidance on holiday celebrations.

Holiday Tip #2: Deck the Halls

But before you drag out the decoration bins or browse the seasonal section at the store, spend some time decluttering and donating unused or unwanted items. If you tend to set up the same decorations year after year, find ways to switch it up and make it more exciting since you’ll be spending more time at home. Maybe try out a different color pattern or get the whole family involved with some crafty DIY holiday decorations.

Holiday Tip #3: Make the Most of Seasonal Programming

There is an abundance of holiday films both new and old that can help get you in the spirit and bring you some comfort. Here’s what some streaming services have planned:

Netflix Christmas Movies 2020 Schedule and Full List
30 Best Christmas Movies on Amazon Prime
25 Best Christmas Movies Streaming on Hulu
Hallmark’s Christmas Movie Schedule for 2020

Holiday Tip #4: Try Your Hand at Homemade Gifts

“Nothing says ‘I care’ quite like a handmade holiday gift. Bonus: homemade gifts can be a great way to stretch your gift budget and to let the whole family flex their creative skills,” says Ilyce Glink, CEO of the award-winning financial wellness technology company, Best Money Moves. Check out her DIY holiday gift ideas for teachers, neighbors, kids, guys and grownups here.  

Holiday Tip #5: Embrace Alternative Gatherings

If it isn’t safe to meet in person, see if you can get everyone together online. It isn’t the same, but for family members who are more isolated, it can mean all the difference getting to see and speak to their loved ones. There are many ways virtual gatherings can be almost as fun as seeing one another in person. Set up an online holiday bingo, a virtual scavenger hunt or trivia and create a holiday playlist with the family’s favorites to keep everyone engaged and entertained.

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