Governor Inslee has asked all Washingtonians to help prevent the spread of COVID and enjoy the holidays at home with immediate family only. This leaves many of us missing out on holiday traditions, extended family celebrations, and religious events. Here are some ways to keep traditions alive, stay connected, and celebrate during this unique holiday season.
It’s best to make decisions about the holidays early in order to help prepare your kids for what the day may look like. Instead of discussing what you may be missing out on, try talking about how you can alter plans to create fun, new traditions. Let kids have a role and brainstorm ideas as a family in order to make this year special for everyone. Planning ahead will also ease stress and help set expectations with relatives.
During this time of high spread, we support CDC and state guidelines to celebrate at home with your immediate family. However, if you decide to decide to gather with extended family or friends anyway, there is always a risk of spreading COVID. Please take safety measures in order to minimize the risk of infection including: a self-quarantine for 14 days before gathering, getting tested before an event, always wearing a mask, gathering in an outdoor space, maintaining social distance, disinfecting surfaces, and not sharing food or utensils. Prepare your kids for any gathering by reminding them to keep their distance, wear a mask, and that it’s okay to say no if someone asks for a hug.
Cooking and baking with your immediate family is a great way to bond. Plan a family meal together with everyone’s favorite dishes or divide the family into teams and have a holiday bake-off.
Your family may be used to having special meals with extended family. A great way to stay connected is by having a virtual recipe exchange. Email relatives and ask them to submit their favorite family recipe that they usually contribute to family meals. Assemble the recipes into a document that everyone can share and enjoy. You can also invite extended family to have a virtual dinner together.
Making holiday crafts together is another way to connect and get into the holiday spirit. Homemade photo albums or cards are great crafts to send to extended family members to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Remind yourself and your family that this is a unique year for holidays. Enjoy the extra time together and perhaps pick a charity to give to or donate to a family in need. This can be a great lesson in kindness and generosity.
Connect with friends and family by having a virtual party! Send an email invitation out for a Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime party. Invite family to take part in traditions like going around and saying what you’re thankful for or play games such as freeze dance, Pictionary, or karaoke.
It is important maintain social distancing, even during significant religious celebrations. Many religious communities are offering virtual services during this time. Visit your religious community’s website to find virtual service, meeting, and support options.