The holidays are always a stressful time of year. 2020 has been one hectic year and planning for the holiday season seems to be the last ounce of stress we need right now. Hosting gatherings and parties this year may require a little more work than usual but it is totally possible! There are many ways to keep guests happy and healthy during the holidays- even with a global pandemic happening.
We put together a list of ideas that adhere to CDC COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that your holiday moments are as safe and fun as possible. From outdoor gatherings to social distancing rules, read how to celebrate the holidays during these crazy times.
Check CDC and State Guidelines
It is important to check CDC and state guidelines to make sure that you are following social distancing rules. The key is to make gatherings as intimate as possible with fewer guests to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The rules of COVID-19 are always changing so make sure you are alert with community guidelines and judge how to go about celebrations from there. A large 100 person indoor party may be questionable however an intimate holiday dinner is doable! It is important to make sure that your guests feel comfortable attending your holiday gathering as well so it is best to keep it simple.
Even if you are cutting back on the number of guests this year, send out invitations! People love getting holiday party invitations because it is fun and festive. There are many cheap online templates to print out here. Even if you are hosting a virtual Zoom or Facetime holiday gathering, consider sending out a decorative e-invitation to guests to get in the holiday spirit. Remember, COVID-19 doesn’t stop celebrating the holiday season!
Invitations are a great way to inform the guest’s safety measures that you are taking. In the invitation you can include a social distancing plan, if the party is being held outside, the number of guests, if face masks are required, and many other details that are important. On the invitation, let your guests know that they can contact you if they have any concerns or questions. This way they will know what to expect and will be comfortable. I know it is strange but people will appreciate your effort to inform safety measures.
A Party needs space
Indoor gatherings have a higher risk of spreading the virus than outdoor gatherings. Consider hosting holiday celebrations outdoors. If hosting a gathering outside is impossible, consider hosting in an open space, or open as many doors and windows as possible.
A classic tradition is decorating the front of our houses with lights and holiday décor. This year consider decorating the backyard too! If you are planning on hosting an event outside, invest in the right equipment to keep friends and family warm and comfortable. Keep warm with outdoor tents, fireplaces, blankets, hand warmers, a fire pit, outdoor heaters, or complimentary mittens and hats. Stay warm with warm food such as hot cocoa, warm soup, fresh baked goods, hot toddies, coffee, or other hot foods. Set up a hot-chocolate station with toppings and provide fun thermoses or cups to keep drinks warm.
Here are some family outdoor party activities for groups and extra guests:
For the Kids
- S’mores party: Great for the kids! Bring your speaker and play a holiday festive playlist. Light a fire and set out individual s’mores roasting sticks and kits for each guest.
- Santa Claus appearance: Have St. Nick come to the outdoor gathering! Instead of the kids sit on his lap, have the mini guests hand Santa their list or drop it in a bag. They can write it down or draw it out with Mom or Dad’s help. If a member of the household can dress up as Santa, even better!
- Tree farm: Just like picking pumpkins in the fall! Find a festive Christmas tree farm with drinks and activities and make a whole day out of it.
- Wreath making party: Set up stations outside where it is okay to make a mess. Go to Michaels or the local craft store and find all of the materials like wreath rings, wire, ribbon, fake snow, berries, and ribbons.
- Bonfire party: Celebrate the holidays around a fire pit with warm snacks and drinks. Bring blankets and warm hats and gloves.
- Winter- formal: Bring out the fur coats and scarves! Get fancy with some or’deurves, caviar, wine, or whatever your heart desires.
As a family
- Admire the lights: Grab a cup of hot cocoa or warm cider, take a stroll around the neighborhood and admire the lights! Drive to local light shows or neighborhoods that are known for going above and beyond and get in the holiday spirit.
- Cookie and treat swap: Invite other families to participate in a cookie swap! Bake your favorite holiday treats and wrap them in fancy packaging or paper. Send them to families and friends with a letter or a card. Everyone in the family can participate in the baking and who doesn’t love sweets!
- Christmas crafting: Encourage kids stuck at home with nothing to do to help decorate with paper snowflakes, tree decorating, baking, beading, or painting.