Homebound for the Holidays: How to Celebrate Safely

This holiday season is certainly not ideal. Thanks to a global pandemic, we are stuck between two choices: social distance celebrations where we make the best of an unconventional gathering or ignore the guidelines of experts by increasing our risk of catching COVID, which in turn endangers ourselves and our community. Although neither of these options sound too appealing, the former might end up being more fun than you think. Here are 5 ways to help you celebrate the holiday season amidst a pandemic.

1. Decorate. This year is the perfect time to deck out your halls. You’ll be spending more time at home than usual this holiday season, so you might as well give it a festive feel. Hang up lights and light some candles. Find some holiday crafts to do as well, such as making paper chains or snowflakes. If you need some inspiration, try taking your search for crafts and decor online.

2. Online shopping. One of the perks of living in the 21st century is that we don’t have to physically go to a store to shop. While online shopping may not seem as fun as visiting the mall in person, it can be made to be a fun, festive activity. If you enjoy holiday shopping with your friends, FaceTime them while looking for gifts on the internet. In the spirit of giving, remember to buy gifts from smaller, independent companies rather than large corporations, like Amazon, to help support small businesses that are in dire need of support.

3. Christmas music. For many, Christmas music is an essential part of their holiday festivities. Make sure to keep it to a moderate amount. Not too much, not too little, and it can do wonders to get you into the holiday spirit. Try baking or decorating a gingerbread house or cookies with some Christmas music in the background. Do your chores while listening to Christmas music. Failing online school? Muffle your cries by blasting some Christmas music. Give your standard routine a festive twist simply by listening to some merry tunes.

4. Books and movies. A great way to get into the holiday spirit is to watch holiday-themed movies. Sure, you can go for a classic like Elf or Die Hard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But another fun thing you might want to try is finding a random Christmas movie on Netflix. You’re guaranteed to find a wonderful cinematic catastrophe in there. Remember- when it comes to cheesy Christmas movies, the cheesier, the better! For holiday-themed books, there’s a wide variety to choose from, ranging from amazingly awful to genuinely good literature. You’ll likely have no trouble finding an awful book, but you may need some help finding a good one. One promising book is “Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris.

5. Staying safe and active. One thing that will be missed by many this year is snow sports. Snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, bobsledding; whatever you do, it will be very different this year (that is if you’re going to be participating in these activities at all). Although it may be hard not to, don’t hole yourself up in your home and hibernate all winter. Even if it’s just taking a walk down the street to look at the decorations, it’s important to get fresh air and move around. In theory, going outside and staying active only increases your holiday cheer. Lastly, remember to keep in touch with family and friends. Although you can’t physically be with them this year, you can always hang out virtually over FaceTime or Zoom. If you’re planning on seeing people in person, make sure to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet apart; we really don’t need to make this pandemic lasting even longer than it already is. Plus, it wouldn’t feel too good knowing that you’re putting someone at risk for contracting a deadly virus this holiday season.