'There's no place like Home' is taking on a whole new meaning for the 2020 holiday season as families prepare to hunker down and adjust to a very different celebration. As we continue the fight against COVID-19 and with cases spiking to new records across the country, it's no secret that we need to break tradition this year. Celebrating virtually and just with the people you live with are the safest choices.
While the Government of Ontario has published guidelines for a safe holiday (shared below), we've got some other ideas too, that will help make the celebrations in your COVID-bubble as fun as they can be.
FUN IDEAS TO CELEBRATE SAFELY THIS YEAR...
Host a Virtual Celebration with Friends and Family
Just because you can’t be with loved ones this year, it doesn't mean your family can't invite them virtually to have the holliest and jolliest holiday from the comfort and safety of everyone's own home. Here are some ideas for your virtual gatherings...
Set a time to eat a meal together via Zoom and have everyone showcase their main dish, vegetable, or dessert.
Host a Gingerbread House decorating contest. Need some inspiration? Check these Gingerbread Houses you can make as a family. Or mail your guests a gingerbread decorating kit and build your houses together.
Throw a virtual dance party. Have friends and family collaborate on a holiday playlist. Get dressed up ― don't let your party duds gather dust this year.
Host a holiday baking party. Send a care package with cookies-in-a-jar and a recipe, along with festive cookie cutters to get the party started.
Sign up for a virtual game with friends. Companies such as Urban Capers have been hosting themed scavenger hunts for teams, to allow different household to play together. Their public events for December are sold out, but they are still booking private Christmas and New Year's games.
Invite everyone to a 'Family Christmas Pajamas 2020' event. You can't celebrate together but you can still all match! Send everyone the same pair of PJs to take a photo or screenshot of the gang on Zoom. Or, have everyone just wear their holiday favourite PJs and gather online for a group hot cocoa.
Other virtual parties you can host...
- "Ugly" holiday sweater contest.
- Wreath-making party.
- Karaoke night.
- Virtual Secret Santa gift exchange.
- Holiday paint night. Paint the same scenery!
- Winter Scavenger Hunt or other. This site gives you a ton of ideas.
- Christmas carol sing-along night.
- Charades or Bingo game night.
Decorate for the Season!
Decorate your house to the max and string up lots of holidays lights. Create a winter holiday scene and take family photos at home.
Drive or walk around your community to admire other decorations from a safe distance or drive through a local holiday light display.
DIY Gifting and Cards
In past years, e-cards were very popular but since we haven't had much personal contact with friends outside of the home, and because holiday parties won't be happening this year, consider mailing cards this year. Kids can also make their own cards for friends and relatives they have been apart from. If you're late, send a Happy New Year card instead. We could all use some good wishes for 2021.
Bake up a Storm!
If you want some delicious snacks to eat while opening presents, food is a big part of the holiday and these fun recipes can help you add a little flair to your menu. These kid-friendly treats and recipes often double as a craft activity for kids. Get a list of The Best Holiday Recipes & Treats.
Get into the Holiday spirit with our round-up of the Best Seasonal Crafts for Kids. 'Tis the season for homemade projects! You'll find everything you need, to keep little hands busy during the break.
There's no shortage of Holiday and Christmas movies to watch during the winter break. Get a list of movies here (along with trailers to preview and recommended ages). For movie night, you absolutely need popcorn ― here are some really cool recipes for The Best Christmas & Holiday Popcorn kids will love.
Take a Holiday Virtual Cooking Class Together as a Family
Sign up for a seasonal cooking class or workshop. Our friends over at Rooks to Cooks are offering a wide range of classes that are in the holiday spirit ― perfect to get your family or group cooking. Learn to make sweet and savoury holiday favourites! Watch as your child’s confidence and enthusiasm in the kitchen soars while they cook their way through a festive roster of dishes.
Special Events and Activities
Many of the traditional holiday events in the Greater Toronto Area are cancelled this year but there are still plenty of things to do with your family, at or near home — just remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing if you do head out. Get the list of Seasonal Events. There are many drive-thru options, and virtual shows that allow you to celebrate at home.
Christmas or Holiday Take-out Night
Consider getting food delivered from a fancier place than what you’d typically order on a weeknight. Have everyone order from the same restaurant if you’re in the same delivery zone, and help support a local restaurant.
Christmas Story Hour
Ask a relative or grand-parents to read Christmas-themed books to the youngest family members via Zoom.
Have Yourself a Very Merry Breakfast
Make Christmas morning breakfast really special for the kids! Who doesn't want to wake up to Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Santa or Christmas tree pancakes? Get creative with these 10 fun Christmas morning eats!
Ontario's Guidelines for the Holidays
The Ontario Government has published guidelines for the Holidays to support families as they begin to safely plan for the season, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and input from the Public Health Measures Table. Here are their preliminary recommendations on how to safely celebrate this year and protect your loved ones:
• The safest way to celebrate in-person is with the people you live with, or with one additional household if you live alone. Celebrate virtually with everyone else. The fewer people you have contact with, the lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
• Do not host or attend gatherings with more people than are permitted for your area. Need some help understanding the 5 zones of public health measures? Click here for more info.
• Individuals living away from home, including those studying at colleges and universities, should consider doing a self-quarantine, or reducing close contact with others, 10 to 14 days before returning home for the holidays.
Looking for more tips and safe activities? Follow the Ontario Government's page to Celebrate safely during COVID-19.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, and above all, stay safe!