Activities to Celebrate the Holiday Season Safely This Year

As we enter into the 2020 holiday season, it’s hard not to think back to just a year ago when we were able to celebrate the holidays as we usually do — surrounded by family and friends. This year has required us to rethink the way we gather and go about our daily routines, and the holiday season is no exception to the rule. But that doesn’t mean the holidays still can’t be “merry and bright.” With a little imagination and an eagerness to try new things, you might even start a few traditions this year that you’ll take with you for years to come. Here are a few of our favorite safe holiday activities to try this year.


Hop on a Video Call with Santa


If your holidays always involve having the little ones visit Santa, not to mention the memorable photos that always come, you may be wondering how the kiddos will get to tell Santa what they want this year. Turns out Santa is just one video call away!

This holiday season, in lieu of in-person visits and photos with Santa Claus at NorthPark Center, children and families will have the unique opportunity to see and speak virtually with Santa.

Stonebriar Centre in Frisco and Galleria Dallas are both offering virtual visits as well as limited in-person, contactless visits. The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano and Hulen Mall in Fort Worth will be offering in-person, contactless photos with Santa. Cabela’s is also continuing their tradition of meeting Santa with in-person, contactless photos.

If you can’t get in to see your favorite mall Santa, Santa’s Club offers various video call options that can accommodate up to three children at the same time, and includes a recording of the video as a keepsake.


Make Christmas Masks

Design Improvised

We’re all well-acquainted with masks by now, but these aren’t the kind of masks we’ve been wearing all year. These crafty masks start with a foundation of popsicle sticks and paper plates, and the possibilities are endless. When you’re done decorating, you can pose photo booth style with them or video chat with friends and family to show off your hard work.


Create a Holiday Playlist

Not only can this set the celebratory tone all month long, but when the song your uncle loves to sing loudly every year or grandma’s favorite song comes on, it’ll bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.


Volunteer Virtually

There’s no doubt that this year has been a tough one for so many, which means local charities and organizations may be seeing an increase in families or individuals who are turning for help this holiday season.

That’s why so many are providing virtual or socially distanced opportunities to help out this year. The North Texas Salvation Army has moved their Angel Tree adoptions online as well as those famous red kettles you see every year. You can host a “virtual” kettle and invite friends and family to donate, or you can donate personally via the website.

Also consider ways to support local health care workers during this time, such as donating meals or medical supplies, or helping to cover the costs for providing daily chaplain service for workers and patients, or employee daycare costs.

You can also donate the gift of life this season by rolling up your sleeves and giving blood. Blood is part of our country’s critical infrastructure, so healthy individuals can donate even in areas with shelter in place declarations. Donating your blood is safe, it saves lives, and ensures that there are adequate supplies for patients who need it. Visit the American Red Cross or Carter BloodCare to learn how you can donate.


Make Your Own Ornaments

The Best Ideas for Kids

If it’s a family tradition to pick out a new ornament every year, might we suggest trying your hand at making one this year? These salt dough ornaments are made from simple, pantry-staple ingredients, and are even easier to put together.

Once the dough is created, your masterpiece awaits. Roll out the dough and cut out fun shapes with cookie cutters, create a freeform candy cane, or you can even have the kiddos press their handprint into a disc of dough, so years from now you can look down and remember just how teeny-tiny their hands were. After they’re baked and cool, decorate with paint — and don’t forget to poke a hole in the dough before baking so you can loop some ribbon through!


Play Reindeer Games (Really!)

Who doesn’t love a little festive competition? Try your hand at Antler Ring Toss or a winter version of an Easter egg hunt with candy canes, Christmas song karaoke, or if your family are huge Hallmark Christmas movie lovers, turn it into BINGO. Good Housekeeping has a family-friendly guide for these games and many more.


Create Gingerbread Houses

Phillip Goldsberry / Unsplash Images

You may have considered buying a gingerbread house kit before but wondered if the kids would actually get involved or it’d end up like their school projects always do — you, alone, making everything by yourself. But this may just be the year — especially if you make it a friendly competition or set a theme. Challenge the kiddos to decorate it like their favorite movie, television show or game, such as Frozen or Minecraft. Ask things such as “If this was Elsa’s house, what would it look like?” You can even make it a time-challenge, such as seeing who can make their house look like the picture on the box the fastest without anything falling apart.

Look at Christmas Lights

James Wheeler / Unsplash Images

This might be a tradition your family already partakes in every year, but if not, there’s no better time to start! If the weather is nice, take a stroll around the neighborhood, or if there’s a particular neighborhood nearby that’s infamous for having the best lights, load everyone up in the car and crank up the holiday tunes. Don’t forget to bring some hot cocoa with you to sip on no matter which mode of transportation you choose!


Do Some Story Telling

Red Charlie / Unsplash Images

Whether you have a few holiday books you already read to the family every year or you want to search for some more this year to add to the collection, try sharing a new story every day leading up to the big day.

This can also include funny family stories that are favorites or maybe your kids haven’t heard before — like the time Grandpa accidentally knocked the tree over, or that one year someone forgot to turn the oven on and everyone ate takeout instead.


Put Together a Holiday Puzzle

Ah, the good old quarantine staple — a puzzle. Make it festive by purchasing holiday-themed puzzles that everyone can gather around to help put together. Don’t feel pressure to get it all done in one sitting either; if the kids are getting restless or your eyes are getting tired, work on it in increments. And best of all, if you have one you particularly like, you can buy special glue to seal all of your hard work and frame it, so every time you put it out for the holidays, you’ll remember the time you spent together putting it together.


Spread the Cheer

Kari Shea / Unsplash Images

This activity can serve a dual purpose. Bake up some holiday cookies and spend some time decorating them as a family, then consider wrapping some up to leave with friends and loved ones you can’t see in-person this year.


Remember: Different Doesn’t Mean “Disaster”

While the holidays might look different this year, and you may be having to come up with some creative ways to celebrate, remember that just because this year is different, it doesn’t have to be synonymous with “disaster.” This exceptional holiday season offers up the opportunity to create even more memories as you learn new ways to celebrate safely.

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