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A Not-So-Traditional Holiday Season During a Not-So-Traditional Year

What does the holiday season mean to you? For many, this is a time to celebrate love, thankfulness, giving, and taking time to relax with people that matter a lot to us. Your plans this year probably look a lot different, but who says that you can’t still enjoy all of the qualities of the holiday season while staying safe and protecting yourself and your community?

Just because celebrating may look different this year, doesn’t mean that the holidays are ruined. There’s nothing stopping you from watching your favorite movies, enjoying the lights and decorations around town, or having a cookie baking marathon. Read the CDC’s guidelines for celebrating safely this year.

Need some ideas on how to get creative and stay festive this season? 

Recreate your favorite memory from 2020.

Write notes or holiday cards to loved ones to let them know you’re thinking of them.

  •  One of the best parts about social media is that it allows us to connect with friends and family who we don’t get to see often. When is the last time you had a chance to sit down and write something genuine to a loved one though? Think about taking some time to handwrite letters to loved ones this year. Lots of people would love to get a handwritten note, letting them know you are thinking of them, especially if they’ve been isolated.

Swap recipes.

  •  If you decide to send out mail and letters, consider including your favorite holiday recipe. Encourage others to send a recipe back! Or, start a holiday recipe swap group online with friends and family. Think of this as a way that you can still share a meal with them, while staying safe and distant. Be careful not to share your secret ingredient though, or your aunt may upstage you at the holiday party next year with a better lasagna than your traditional one!

Try not-so-traditional foods.

  •  Does your family tend to make the same thing around the holidays each year? If you’re cooking for a much smaller group this year, consider this a fun time to try a new dish. Support your local farmer by buying a new vegetable that you usually don’t prepare or making a different type of fruit pie for dessert.

Make an effort to support small and local businesses.

  •  We all know how much these businesses are struggling this year. Maybe this means buying gifts for your family from them. Good-quality coffee beans or tea blends from local shops make great gifts along with gift cards to these places. Another idea is getting takeout from a local restaurant instead of making a big meal.


  • Take the time to go through winter clothes that you don’t wear anymore and donate them to a local charity. Do you have extra towels or bedsheets laying around that are taking up space? Donate them to an animal refuge league. If you find yourself spending less money this holiday season, and you have the financial means to do so, think about donating the money that you would normally be spending to a local charity.

Who says you can’t reschedule your party to this summer or fall?

  • No one knows when it will be safe to gather again. However, keep checking your state’s guidelines for safety around gatherings, and when it’s safe to do so, plan a belated holiday party for then! There may not be snow on the ground, but maybe you’ll be able to wear shorts to the annual family holiday party for the first time in your life.

Making the decision not to travel or see loved ones during the holidays can be hard. If you find yourself grieving or very sad this year, find ways to cope and get help here.

Hopefully, you have some creative ways to celebrate this year and maybe you’ll even start some new traditions! Remember that making safe decisions to not gather with family and friend, means everyone will able to gather and make up for lost time next year.

Community Resources

Many resources are available to help you stay heathy and happy during the pandemic. Learn more about:

  • Food and Financial Resources
  • Mental Health Care
  • Pregnancy and New Baby Support
  • Help with Substance Use
  • Crisis & Domestic Violence Resources
  • Talking to your Kids About COVID-19
  • Educational Resources
  • Entertainment & Activities