At this point in 2020, many of us are ready to go to bed and wake up when COVID is over. As Christmas gets closer, you may be mourning the fact that you can’t get together with other family members this year. And, if you’re anything like me, you may have thought to yourself, “Maybe I just won’t celebrate Christmas this year.” (I can be quite dramatic sometimes; please tell me I’m not alone.)
The way I figure it, we have two options: We can stomp our feet, scream, and be generally unpleasant and miserable; OR we can decide to switch things up a bit and do something different and fun to make the best out of the situation. I vote for option two. Here’s why: Option one leaves me depressed, and that’s not a fun way to spend Jesus’ birthday. Secondly, we get to choose what we want our Christmas to look like; so why not choose fun?
I’ve been scanning the internet for ideas and found a few that I thought would provide a way to stay home, stay safe, and still remember a different but fun Christmas in 2020. Here are a few ideas:
Especially for Kids:
- Make graham cracker gingerbread houses—I mean, a gingerbread house is lovely, but let’s be honest; they are a LOT of work. A graham cracker house can be completed in 15 to 30 minutes, which will perfectly match a small child’s attention span. Check out Pinterest for ideas.
- Read Christmas Books—I highly recommend reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as a family.
- Make outdoor tree ornaments for the birds using pinecones, peanut butter, and seeds.
- Create a hot chocolate bar—there are lots of ideas online for what to include.
- Create a Christmas centerpiece with evergreens, pinecones, berries, or whatever you can find to make it festive.
- Initiate a candy cane hunt—just like an Easter egg hunt, but with candy canes. (You might want to stock up on some miniature candy canes for this activity.)
- Build a snowman—find yourself an old top hat, coal, buttons, and the like for your creation. Don’t forget a scarf, because baby, it’s cold outside!
- Buy Santa hats for the kids and take some fun and goofy family photos—perhaps with that snowman you built.
- Make Christmas decorations—Pinterest is your friend for this project.
- Play minute-to-win-it games—again, Pinterest is full of fun ideas.
- Go sledding—or biking, depending on the weather.
- Have a slumber party under the tree—grab the sleeping bags, leave the tree lights on, and soak in the magic. Actual sleeping is optional.
- Make wrapping paper—get some plain brown wrapping paper and decorate it with potato paint prints, markers, crayons, or whatever you can dream up.
- Get mini-trees to decorate either inside or out—don’t forget to have an extra strand of lights for each kid because lights are all kinds of fun.
- Treasure Hunt—make your clues age appropriate and have a fun prize at the end.
- Scavenger Hunt—make a list of things to gather from around the house. You can even make it educational by asking for items of a particular shape or beginning with a certain letter, etc.
For Both Families and Couples:
- Make cookies, decorate cookies—or both. If kids are involved, try not to care about how they turn out.
- Watch a Christmas movie together—Miracle on 34th Street is one of my all-time favorites.
- Create a hot chocolate bar—this would pair well with the movie watching. There are lots of ideas online for goodies to include.
- Put together a puzzle—you’re on your own for this one. Puzzles raise my blood pressure, but I hear some people like them.
- Take a drive to look at Christmas lights—bring along some snacks to add to the fun.
- Cook a hot-dog dinner over the fireplace. This won’t work, of course, if your fireplace is gas; but if you have a wood fireplace, I guarantee you, it’ll become a favorite family activity. Lay a blanket out on the floor so it feels like a picnic.
- Take a virtual tour—did you know there are online tours of pretty much everything?
- Christmas at the White House Tour—from whatever administration you prefer.
- Christmas Around the World—check out this website.
- Christmas Karaoke—you don’t need a karaoke machine (although that would be fun). There is an entire evening’s worth of karaoke to be found on the internet. Just search for Christmas Karaoke.
- Go ice skating—assuming the lakes are frozen, and you have skates—or just slide around in your boots. I could fall just as successfully either way.
- Game night—new family games at Christmas are the best!
- Volunteer—this might not keep you home and safe, but you’ll find a plethora of ways to make a difference this season.
- Go caroling—people need some Christmas cheer, why not be the one to make them smile? You could also contact a nursing home to see if there is a way to carol outside the building so that residents inside could hear and see you.
- Build a bonfire—roast some marshmallows, make some s’mores, OR maybe cook that hot-dog dinner outside. If there’s no place at home to do this, some parks have fire pits, and you’ll probably be the only ones there.
- Go stargazing—if you can find a telescope and a sky map, all the better.
- Dance together—put on some happy music and just be goofy, OR if it’s only the two of you, perhaps a slow dance is more your style.
- Watch a Christmas service online.
For the Grown-ups:
- Sip and Paint—yes, those fun classes that are all the rage can happen right in your home. Search online for tutorials, get your supplies, and create a masterpiece—or at least have some fun trying. And, if wine isn’t your thing, just sip on your favorite beverage.
- Host a Holiday Party on Zoom—Zoom is more relaxed if the crowd is small, but consider an Ugly Christmas Sweater party or Trivia Night. Be creative with awarding prizes.
- Have a fondue dinner night—don’t have a fondue pot? Check with an older neighbor; they might be able to help you out. Or look online for alternative options.
- Have a special dinner in front of the fireplace—grab a small table, a candle, and some festive dinnerware for a romantic candlelit dinner. Bonus if the Christmas lights are on.
- Work on your hobbies.
- Take a bubble bath—it can be enjoyed together or separately, depending on the size of your tub and your personal preference.
- Light some candles, grab a hot drink, turn on the fireplace, and read a book.
- Plan a year’s worth of monthly dates—you can go on more, but plan at least one for each month of the coming year. Not to be a negative Nancy, but my advice would be to plan some “at-home” dates for the first few months at least.
- Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing—if you don’t own the necessary gear, look for a spot to rent some.
- Go for a bike ride if you live in a warm climate—I mean, perhaps you’re reading this surrounded by sunshine.
- Set goals for 2021—what would you like to accomplish as a couple in 2021? Find a way to stop coronavirus? Please!
- Create a playlist together of songs you both enjoy—use it as your date night music.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset together—that’s the great thing about winter. The sun comes up late and goes down early, making it reasonably easy to catch at either end.
I hope your Christmas celebration is one for the books! Rejoice! Christ the Savior is born.
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.