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Ten Safe & Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays this Year

My husband and I are blessed to have both of our extended families in town, and the few days leading up to and including Christmas generally entail 10+ holiday get-togethers and parties. In 2019, I prided myself on saying “no” to exactly one of those commitments – and I took a bath instead. It was glorious and satisfying and reinforced the beauty in saying “no” and prioritizing my own self-care.

It’s funny how strongly I’ve felt about trying to simplify and minimize my holidays over the past few years. The holidays are fun, but with 2 and 5 year old’s, they’re also down-right exhausting. Somewhat ironically, here I am on the precipice of the holiday season in 2020 feeling like, “What I wouldn’t give to go to a big crowded Christmas party – mingling and hugging lots of family and friends with no fears of COVID-19!” Talk about a change in perspective!

COVID-19 has already impacted 2020 too much; it’s taken away a lot of joy, comforts and celebrations, and I don’t want to let it take away more. The holidays this year are already guaranteed to look a lot different than years’ past – and in some ways – maybe that’s good. Whether we accept it or not, there will be less holiday party invitations and less people at the celebrations we attend. On the other hand, the gift this will give us is more time to quietly enjoy the respite, enjoy the time off work, and savor the “little things” that we tend to miss in regular years.

So while COVID-19 will likely be taking some of the hustle-and-bustle of big holiday parties out of the way for us, leaving us more space and time to have a meaningful, restful holiday season, I urge you to not fill that void with material purchases and excessive gift giving. Related to that, this year I will be striving for an An Intentional over Minimal Holiday Season. In addition to finding some connection with family and friends safely at a distance or virtually this season, here are some ideas for new, safe and inexpensive holiday traditions – that hopefully you will actually have the time to try this year!

Image: McCormick

Ten Safe & Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays this Year

  1. Drive around and enjoy the neighborhood Christmas decorations

  2. Bundle up and go for a stroll outside with hot cocoa – around the neighborhood or at a park or walking path

  3. Build a snowman; for added fun, make it a competition with your neighbors to see who can make the longest-lasting snowman

  4. Deliver baked goods or treats to neighbors or friends, especially those who may be spending the holidays alone (try this easy and customizable granola recipe)

  5. Embrace an old-fashioned tradition, like stringing up popcorn and cranberries and decorate an evergreen tree outside

  6. Cuddle up by the fireplace and tell classic holiday stories to the little ones. You can even outsource the narration to Alexa (“Alexa, read ‘Twas the night before Christmas’” or “Alexa, tell me a Christmas story”)

  7. Make a gingerbread house – bonus points if you make the dough and bake it yourself! Here is a beginner’s recipe – or you can also make a decorative flat gingerbread house. Another idea is to make small gingerbread house cookies into ornaments – or try making decorative cinnamon ornaments.

  8. Coordinate a virtual holiday party with friends – whether it’s some riff on a cookie exchange or everyone prepares the same cocktail recipe or you do a virtual wine tasting – be creative and appreciate that you can wear sweatpants!

  9. Make a simple paper chain countdown to Christmas – or a homemade advent wreath that you light weekly.

  10. Attend a local Christmas market or craft fair – I believe many towns are still hosting these outdoors – hopefully that remains the case!

How are you planning to spend any "extra" time around the holidays this year?

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