Celebrating Christmas During COVID-19
Image is courtesy of Wix
It’s officially December, which means that Christmas is just around the corner! One of the cruelties of the pandemic is that staying away from your loved ones is, ironically, the best way to show your love for them. Christmas during COVID-19 may look gloomy and worrisome, but the holidays are far from being cancelled. Whether you celebrate alone, virtually, or only with household members, being creative is the key to a successful Christmas this year. Don't let the pandemic dampen those holiday spirits!
But… first things first:
Follow CDC guidelines
The worst Christmas gift would be catching and spreading COVID-19. In order to not do so, follow the recommendations from the CDC. From party ideas to social distancing guidelines, the priority is always to keep everyone safe and limit community spread. Check the COVID-19 infection rates in the community and make sure to follow the rules.
Tips to celebrate Christmas
To turkey or not to turkey
A typical Christmas gathering in North America includes having a whole turkey. However, a whole turkey is too much for just a few people. Consider buying a duck, chicken, or rabbit as an alternative. If you really opt for turkey, pack it as leftovers or donate it to the food bank.
Create your own new traditions
We always feel comfortable following traditions during the holidays. However, it’s now the time of a pandemic. Now more than ever, there are no rules except those for public safety. Push yourself out of your comfort zone by trying something bold, such as new recipes and activities (more ideas below).
Make festive food and drinks virtually
Making a big meal is one of the best family gatherings you can have. Social distancing can’t stop that. Set up a virtual hangout to cook together and see who is the best cook. Instead of cooking a traditional Christmas meal, try delicious recipes that can be customized on your own. Beware, you will be hungry.
Christmas cheese tree: Turn your favourite cheese balls into a festive decoration. You can make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it for up to a month. Decorate it with any ingredients you like and serve it with crackers for dipping (Triscuits work great!).
Image is courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything
Christmas Tree Spinach Dip Breadsticks: Bread is a staple during meals. Why not decorate it into something festive and serve it as breadsticks? If you don’t like spinach, use other ingredients you like!
Image is courtesy of It's Always Autumn
Reindeer treats: Enough savoury dishes, it’s time for dessert! Kids will love crafting these adorable Rudolph-themed treats. You can make them with marshmallows, cereal, Reese bites, cupcakes, or anything else you can think of! Decorate them with mini pretzel twists, candies, eyeballs, etc.
Images are courtesy of Suburban Simplicity
Gingerbread house: Crafting a gingerbread house is a holiday must. It may take time and a lot of effort, but it is definitely worth making. There are no boundaries, just have fun!
Image is courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction
Mocha Bûche de Noël: Sometimes, we still need a classic Christmas dessert to end the meal. Yule Log, known as “Bûche de Noël” in French, is a traditional rolled sponge cake. This recipe is enriched with a coffee-flavoured cream filling. Feel free to switch it up with any cream flavour you want, such as mascarpone and hazelnut. Garnish with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries, and rosemary.
Image is courtesy of Country Living
Matcha Marshmellow with Fresh Mint Cocoa: Don’t forget to have some hot drinks for a chilly night. Matcha and chocolate are one of the best matches. Make some homemade Christmas marshmallows and serve with mint cocoa. No more cold weather complaints.
Image is courtesy of Snixy Kitchen
Christmas punch: This simple Christmas punch is refreshing and the perfect blend of pomegranate, lime, and cranberry. It can be served with a fizzy beverage or a cocktail for adults. Simply add alcohol such as champagne, prosecco, rum,or vodka in your desire amount and enjoy. Top it with some garnishes like cranberries and mint if you like.
Image is courtesy of Dinner at the Zoo
Decorate your house
If you are the person who goes crazy with Halloween decorations, you will love decking out your house with Christmas decorations. Feel free to send invitations to your neighbours to join a Christmas decoration competition.
Add twinkle lights to your home: This is the easiest way to set the mood during the Christmas season and create a cozy vibe. Add it to your garland, decor displays, or Christmas trees.
Image is courtesy of Keys to Inspiration
Go big outdoors: There are countless ways to make your decorations more unique than your typical green and red Christmas wreaths or hangings. Use pom-poms to add colour to your front door decor. DIY definitely saves a lot of money.
Image is courtesy of Wix
Make a snowman: Of course, snowmen are one of the best family activities to spread joy and be creative. Beware, it may turn into a snowball fight in the end!
Image is courtesy of Vox
Prepare a festive mailbox: Greet guests, passersby, postmen, and deliverymen with a beautiful mailbox! Add some pine branches with twinkles and pretty pinecones.
Image is courtesy of Michael Partenio Productions
Don’t forget the backyard: Light up your backyard and celebrate Christmas around the fire to prepare for a bonfire party. Add a pair of sheepskin-covered-moose chairs to enjoy a cozy outdoor hangout.
Images are courtesy of Bob Stefko
Attend a COVID Christmas drive-through event
There are a lot of social distancing events going on now. You can stay warm, cozy and safe in your car. Join a drive-through movie night and snuggle in the car with popcorn. Another activity is definitely admiring the lights. Head over to different neighbourhoods and check out their Christmas decorations.
Image is courtesy of Narcity
Sing Christmas karaoke
Let’s go back to indoor activities. We all know it wouldn’t be the holidays without music. You don’t need to be a musical family to sing at the top of your lungs. Invest a karaoke mic and sing and dance around to create your own performance. “Last Christmas”, “Let it Snow”, and “Winter Wonderland” are all perfect choices for some pop and classical music. As for Catholics or Christians, “Go, Tell It on the Mountain”, “Silent Night”, and “The First Noel” are all pleasant choices to end the night. Make a holiday playlist to set the mood now! You can absolutely ask your neighbours to attend a socially-distanced carol singing to share vibes.
Images are courtesy of Reuters
Watch a Christmas movie
Of course, home is one of the best theatres. It is the perfect way to spend time between presents and dinners. Don’t forget to sip cocktails and munch on some treats. Click this link to look for some Christmas movies on Netflix.
Nutcracker and the Four Realms (NY Times) Let it Snow (IMDb)
Volunteer in your community
Volunteering during Christmas can be one of the most heartwarming and life-affirming ways to lift up your spirits. Connect with a local food bank, soup kitchen, animal shelter, or rescue to help others this Christmas. These organizations need a lot of help to run those holiday operations smoothly. Given COVID-19 health and safety measures, make sure to check whether they are accepting volunteers. Otherwise, making donations is very supportive.
Image is courtesy of Flickr
As always, it is important to stay safe and socially distant. Don’t get overwhelmed by the incredible ideas above, pick a few and try them out! There is no question that things will be different this year. The best way is to be creative and go wild while following public health guidelines. With the right mindset, we can still have a lovely and magical Christmas. It’s time to end this strange year and embrace the new year. Stay safe, healthy, and positive! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Article author: Michelle Lam
Article editors: Sherilyn Wen, Valerie Shirobokov