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I’ll put it in a way that I can say in front of my my grandparents: 2020 has been a lousy year. COVID-19 has touched all aspects of our lives, and these “unprecedented times” are unrelenting. The virus isn’t going to cut us any slack during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin the holidays. Here are some ideas for making the most of this holiday season and creating memories of 2020 that you’ll actually want to remember.

Embrace “Safe” Traditions

The holiday season is steeped in tradition. While some traditions, like shopping in crowded malls, hosting large gatherings, and traveling long distances are off the table this year, others are relatively virus-proof. Get ready to cook and bake your favorite foods, watch your favorite holiday movies and specials, and decorate your home.

Rockin’ Around the Computer Screen

From business meetings to weddings, Zoom gatherings have become a way of life over the past several months. If the idea of not seeing friends and family during the holidays has you feeling down, consider the flipside: One of the nice things about Zoom and other virtual gatherings is that you can celebrate the season with loved ones you wouldn’t ordinarily see during the holidays.

There are plenty of fun group activities you can do virtually, including:

  • Have each attendee bake cookies or assemble a gingerbread house ahead of time. Then decorate them “together” virtually so you can see each other’s sweet masterpieces.
  • Host a read-aloud by asking attendees to take turns reading their favorite holiday picture books.
  • Organize a virtual Secret Santa. Websites like Elfster.com, Giftster.com, or DrawNames.com can help you draw names virtually. Be sure to draw names well ahead of the night of your gift exchange if participants need to send gifts in the mail.

Get Out of the House

Don’t worry: You don’t have to spend the whole holiday season stuck at home or in front of a screen. Spend some time outdoors! Go on a hike and have a picnic with your Thanksgiving leftovers if the weather’s nice. If it snows where you live, connect with your inner child and build a snowman or go sledding.

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, get creative with your holiday lights, so you can spread joy to others. At night, walk or drive around different neighborhoods to see other people’s lights. Don’t forget to crank up the carols if you’re checking out the lights by car!

Rethink How You Give Gifts

2020 has altered many of our shopping habits. If you’re like me, you’ve cut back on spending significantly and realized that clothes and other items can’t do much to mitigate the feelings of stress inflicted by the pandemic. And for many people, money is tight, so buying lots of gifts might not be feasible for them this year. Consider picking and sticking to a budget if you decide to exchange gifts with someone. This way, no one is left feeling guilty if the gift you gave them is much more expensive than the gift they gave you.

Consider “non-traditional” gifts. Giving Tuesday is December 1 this year, and it’s a perfect day to support a nonprofit, mutual aid fund, or another worthy cause in honor of someone you care about. Another affordable option is to write personalized, handwritten letters and cards to your loved ones.

Lastly, don’t forget that gifting an experience can be the most memorable gift of all. Plan an activity for a friend or family member or just spend some quality time with them, whether it takes place virtually or will happen in person when it’s safe. Because if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the important people in our lives and the time we get to spend with them are special and not to be taken for granted.




Annie Brown
Annie Brown
Annie Brown is a communications professional in the Washington, D.C. area who’s dabbled in writing, editing, and social media for Tagg since 2016. Her favorite things in life include corgis and coffee.