Holiday Planning

Non-Quarantine, but Socially Distanced Christmas

Christmas during a pandemic can seem cold and isolating. But there are lots of ways to celebrate the season while keeping safe. There are also ways to spread joy with those at different levels of social distancing.

Would you like some celebration tips for keeping family safe and connected? This article will share some tips for those who feel safe gathering with masks. We've got a few tips for those that can only gather through the internet. And, we'll even share tips for those who stay home and spend time with their immediate family. Let's get started.

Socially Distanced Christmas

Holiday travel during a pandemic can seem overwhelming to some. Certain friends and family might not feel safe traveling with quarantines in place. No one wants delays in a location halfway between home and the Christmas gathering. For those choosing to stay home, any form of connection at Christmas is welcome. Here are some ideas to help you connect with loved ones through the digital world.

Play an Internet Game

There are many family games online. Some are free and others have a one-time fee. Most can be set up using a video call like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. You can place the main screen on the video call. Each individual's mobile phone becomes their controller. Here are some of the more popular games:

  • Kahoot
  • Quiplash
  • Heads Up
  • Monopoly
  • Drawful
  • Words with Friends
  • Out of the Loop

Watch a Christmas Movie Using a Co-Watching Feature
Some streamer networks now offer a co-watching feature. This allows a group of people to watch a show together. Disney+ uses GroupWatch. The service takes advantage of smart TVs and smartphones. One person can control pause, play, rewind, or fast forward for the whole group. Everyone's system stays in synch.

Decorate Christmas Cookies

Baking cookies and decorating them is always a fun activity no matter what the holiday is. By planning ahead, you can send plain airtight sealed cookies to your guests. The package can include decorative frostings and sprinkles. Plan a time to set up a video call with everyone using mobile phones or laptops. Each participant can set up in their kitchen to decorate their cookies. Taking time to hold up a finished cookie is fun for all. It is especially fun when someone makes a purple Christmas tree.

Create an Ornament

In advance of the celebration, send kits of raw materials to your guests. Also, include any directions that help them to take part in an ornament crafting session. When everyone does this on a video call, you can share laughs and cool-looking ornaments. You can include a pre-addressed shipper so the finished ornament. Have each person send their ornament to the family member addressed on the box.

Read a Christmas Book

Everyone loves a great story and a few laughs. Instead of putting on a pageant, consider doing a joint reading of a Christmas book. Assign everyone a character from the book. After assigning the characters, assign sound effects and other tasks so everyone participates. When done over a video call, you can record the production and play it back every year as a sweet Christmas memory. A children's book makes for a great family read-along.

Design a Christmas Card

As an added blessing, design a personal Christmas card to send your guests. You can draw a picture or use a recent photo on the cover of your DIY card. The inside content can be warm and use heartfelt Christmas card wording. Or, do you prefer a humorous approach? There is nothing better than a family member receiving a funny personalized card. After all, inside family jokes tend to continue for years to come.

Mail a Stuffed Stocking

It's the thought that counts, but the little gifts found in a full Christmas stocking are still the most fun to open. Put together some overstuffed Christmas stockings to mail to loved ones. Some of the contents might include chocolate pretzels, a word game or puzzle, and a gift card. Small handmade items are also a blessing for the recipient. The more personal the stocking items, the more appreciation overwhelms the heart. Any form of giving is well received, regardless of the size of the surprise.

Gathering with Masks

There are many who want to show up in person but feel more comfortable wearing a mask. Some individuals even feel a bit safer standing six feet away. There are plenty of party ideas that will make your time together memorable. Consider setting up stations for several of the ideas. This helps with social distancing as individuals move from station to station. Then come together to share all the wonderful creations.

Sing Christmas Karaoke

Regardless of everyone's musical talent, enjoy singing Christmas carols. The singer or duet can stand in front of the Christmas tree or fireplace. Everyone will join in belting out their favorite choruses. Most karaoke mics are inexpensive and use a Bluetooth connection to a speaker. Some models tie to a mobile phone and Bluetooth speaker. In this case, an app provides the background music and words to the songs.

Mask Decorating

While children have made masks out of paper plates, you can use white medical maks for decorating. Kids might enjoy drawing different-shaped mouths on their masks. Others might sketch out the logo of their favorite football team. It's fun when a few people use festive colors in their designs. Some might even use red, white, and some green to create a Santa look. Providing some glue and cotton will help finish off their Santa beard masks.

Bottled Hot Chocolate Mix

There are many recipes on the internet for hot chocolate mixes that you can share. Your guests can measure out the ingredients and place them into a jar. Your recipe might include:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Powdered milk
  • Chocolate chips
  • Sea salt
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Crushed peppermint candy canes
  • Hot milk or water

The person can then tie a beautiful bow around the jar lid. Then package it for shipping to a guest who couldn't make your gathering. Or, you can have everyone make their own hot chocolate at the moment and enjoy every drop.

Construct a Holiday Puzzle

Everyone appreciates a sense of accomplishment. Having your guests take turns putting together a large puzzle can be rewarding. Working on a joint project of this nature sparks wonderful holiday conversations. If you plan far enough in advance, you can have one of your own photos made into a puzzle. You can also buy a puzzle that fits a theme you've designed for the party. Having personalized mini-puzzles available as party favors can also be fun. But don't let them see their picture until they've put the entire puzzle together.

Celebrate with Immediate Family

Private celebrations are more fun when you put the focus on others. When friends and extended family can't take part, focus on blessing them. Here are some considerations for reaching out to others.

Family Video

Shoot a video that expresses the personalities of your family. This can include creating a silly performance or capturing the day so others can feel a part of what you've done. Edit the video into a highlight experience and add in some inspirational music.

Record a Radio Drama

Write a fun short story and determine who in the family will play each role. Consider adding in homemade sound effects and have fun creating the show. Take some time to edit the project and then send off your mp3 file to loved ones.

Create Christmas Cards

Have your family discuss the differences with family not being together. Share what you miss and what you'd hope for in the future. Then write a personalized comment for the inside of the Christmas card. Next, search through a bunch of family photos to find one or two that express the sentiment shared. Also, take a bunch of photos at the moment and see if one or two might also work. Then go online and create a social distance holiday card that you can send to all your relatives.

Create a Photo Book

Shoot a lot of fun photos throughout your celebration. Select the best pictures and write some possible captions. Then go online and create your photo book with extended family in mind. If you print four copies or a dozen, your book will captivate your guests. Photo books are also ideal for helping the extended family to feel like they were a part of your special day.

Celebrate Either Way

Families have to make the best of every situation. Our traditional Christmas celebrations may change for the health and comfort of others. But that doesn't mean we forget those we love. We can stay connected even when distanced by decorating Christmas cookies virtually. We can also create and send Christmas cards and photo books. And connecting online with games and Christmas songs will make the year cheerful. For more holiday ideas, check out the paper products that fit your Christmas celebration. Also, learn about our mission to plant trees every time there's an order placed.