Are you tired of hearing about the pandemic? Pandemic fatigue is real, and you may be tempted to relax on social distancing and mask wearing, but if we all stick it out a bit longer, we can protect ourselves, our families and the community. There is no doubt, the holidays are going to look a lot different this year, but with a little planning, you can have a joyful celebration while taking reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This time of year is a great time to think about what matters most to you about the holidays. Whether it is catching up with friends and family, cooking food and sharing a meal, or finding just the right gift for that special someone, you can find ways to enjoy the holidays and stay safe. To help, we’ve gathered some ideas on ways to modify old traditions, and a few new ones to try.

Entertain outside. Despite the cold, gathering outside will be much safer for socializing with friends and family this winter. Just make sure you have the appropriate clothing like a warm coat, mask, hat and gloves (all great holiday gift ideas!). If you have room, consider getting a fire pit or heat lamp. You can make it extra cozy by hanging some string lights and providing blankets and hot drinks.

Host a virtual party. All you need is Zoom (or your favorite video call app) and a good theme to host an online party. Invite everyone to watch your favorite holiday movie or host a tacky holiday sweater party. You could send out holiday care packages and have everyone open them together or host a festive craft night! If you need additional ideas, visit our Winter Support page. 

Share your favorite recipes. If you can’t be in the same place this holiday season, you can still share your favorite holiday foods. Host a virtual family meeting and ask everyone to share their recipes. Consider putting together a little book, or web document as a gift. You can even cook together on the virtual meeting!

Host a neighborhood food drive. Find a local nonprofit or food bank and find out what they need this year. Put a collection bin on your front porch for contactless drop off and circulate a flyer in your neighborhood letting everyone know what you are collecting and who you’re collecting it for. If you are a member of a local online community, you can promote your food drive there as well.

Check in on loved ones. Everyone, no matter their situation, could use a little extra care this holiday season. Call your family, friends, neighbors, and even those friends you only chat with on Facebook. If you make one call each week, you will bring joy to many lives this winter season — and chances are, you’ll feel better too.