Covid Christmas Plans: How to celebrate safely during the holiday season

December is the biggest party season of the whole year, and as much as we’re yearning for things to be like they “used to be,” this holiday season couldn’t look any different. Planning for Christmas 2020 is new for all of us—we’re in a time we’ve never experienced before—and with the confusion circulating in the news and media many of us are left wondering: What can we do?!

In saying that, there is absolutely no reason why we all can’t celebrate the holidays this year. Cancelling Christmas is not on my agenda! Instead, I’ve come up with inventive ways to still feel that merry spirit with the ones I love. All it takes is a little diligence and ingenuity to make it happen. Following governmental guidelines, read on for suggestions on how you can celebrate Christmas during Covid to make your holidays as special as possible.

Follow the Public Health Agency of Canada for Christmas updates

The key to ensuring a healthy holiday season is to keep your celebrations as small as possible. I know this is difficult, especially when this particular time of year we want to be surrounded by all of our families and friends, but it really is the best way to keep everyone safe when we keep our groups as intimate as possible. At the time of this posting, regions in the country are all experiencing different versions of lockdown and social distancing, so it’s best to stay up-to-date with your city guidelines to know how many people (outside of your immediate household) you are able to spend time with. Assessing current case levels in your community can help you best make the right call for how to celebrate Christmas during Covid, whether that’s canceling entirely or limiting the number of guests you’re inviting. (For example, Ontario is planning on releasing guidelines for celebrating Christmas during COVID-19 soon.)

Winterize your backyard

Collectively, across the majority of the country, health experts are telling us that indoor gatherings are a no-go (for now) because they pose a much higher risk than outdoor gatherings. Consider hosing outdoors, if you can. Winterize your backyard with a fire pit, outdoor heaters, warm blankets (or sleeping bags!) or even consider an outdoor, ventilated tent. Set up some string lights and encourage everyone to wear their warmest winter gear. Serve warm mugs of mulled wine and a heart-warming winter stew to keep guests cozy, and before you know it, everyone will be in the spirit!

Holiday Lights Drive-Through

What I love about this season is that people are still lighting up their homes and decorating their exteriors for Christmas, so why not take your immediate household on a holiday lights drive-through in your neighbourhood. Play some seasonal music, stock your car with some delicious holiday treats for snacking on the go and take in the lights and sights. It’s a wonderful way to feel festive while respecting social distance rules.

Gingerbread cookie wearing PPE

Cookie Swap Drop-Off

The annual cookie swap with your friends may not happen the same way it did last year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your friends digitally to swap recipes and then drop-off your baked goods at each other’s front door. Make a day of it, involve the kids, and then drive to your family and friends houses to drop off your sweet treats.

Holiday Movie Night

Love Actually, The Family Stone, The Family Man…there are so many holiday movies that I love, and they’re already streaming on virtually every service. Make Friday night Holiday Movie Night: Get cozy in your favourite (or new!) pyjama’s, pop some popcorn, light a fire, and do a weekly family get-together around your favourite holiday films.

Spread Joy!

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how much the people in our lives mean to us, so make an even larger effort this season to let everyone know how much you care about them, and spread some happiness. Write personal notes in your Christmas cards, or send a sweet text just letting someone know you love them. If it is within your means, give back to your community—it is the most rewarding way to feel joy. Whether you donate presents to a toy drive, drop off some holiday treats to a nursing home, or try to shop at your local small businesses only, there are plenty of ways to spread some joy this year.

Hot cocoa, Christmas tree, and a fireplace