This year, many of us are taking the quite literal approach to the classic saying, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” As the pandemic continues to escalate, staying in our own homes this holiday season is certainly the safest decision, but can also be a tough one to make.
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last several months, it’s that simplifying our lives by staying home has provided more intimate and meaningful opportunities for my family. All these months being at home has allowed us to connect on a deeper level. It has pushed us to find ways to express our feelings, have more open conversations, and has created a new bond I am very grateful for.
The Year We All Stayed Home
While staying home for the holiday season may look and feel very different, we can still find many ways to make our time at home enjoyable, memorable, and as close to “normal” as we can.
The holidays are special because of who you spend it with, not because of how many people you can fit around the table. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, even if it’s just you, your significant other, and your children. So how can we make the most of this season of solitude?
Here are a few ideas that will make staying at home all worthwhile:
Plan a Winter Bucket List
Seasonal bucket lists are my favorite! Planning activities that take place both indoors and outdoors allows us to really savor all the beautiful changes each season brings. This winter consider creating your own family bucket list.
Winter Bucket List:
- Read a winter book
- Have a snowball fight
- Watch ice skating
- Have a winter bonfire
- Drink hot cocoa and tell stories
- Bake a loaf of bread
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Do a random act of kindness
- Make a winter wreath
- Send holiday cards
- Make a winter trail mix treat
- Finish a puzzle
- Craft with pinecones
- Build a fort
- Make and hang paper snowflakes
- Track the weather
- Shovel snow for a neighbor
- Have a pizza and movie night
- Camp out in the living room
- Drive to see holiday lights
- Donate a toy
- Make snow ice cream
- Go sledding
- Make a bird feeder
- Make a snow globe
- Upcycle a piece of old furniture
- Build a snowman
Start a New Holiday Tradition
Family traditions are a wonderful way to create lasting memories. They give us something to look forward to, it sparks excitement, and brings us all together. One of our favorite winter traditions when it snows is bringing the snow inside the house! I lay out a big comforter on the kitchen floor, then bring buckets of snow inside for them to play however their little heart’s desire.
A few traditions you could start this holiday season are:
- Sending Fun & Silly Holiday Mail to Extended Family Members & Friends
- Baking & Decorating Cookies as a Family; Why Not Make it a Contest?
- Driving Around to See the Christmas Lights (view the Fishers Holiday Lights Map)
- Taking Your Own Family Holiday Photos
- Starting a New Year’s Prediction Jar
- Having a Holiday Movie Marathon
- Choosing a Special Ornament Every Year
- Reading Holiday Books Set in Other Countries
- Making a Christmas Playlist
- Going Caroling Through the Neighborhood
- Participating in a Local Food, Toy, or Coat Drive
Get Outside & Explore Your Surroundings
So even though we’re staying home for the holidays, this doesn’t mean we won’t be taking advantage of all the gorgeous scenery winter brings outside the home. From scavenger hunts with the kids to exploring local parks and trails, there are plenty of fun things to do outdoors while still following safe, social distancing guidelines.
Plan a Video Chat with Extended Family
Don’t let distance come between you and your loved ones. Luckily, it’s 2020 where technology has allowed us to do nearly everything virtually. Plan a day or evening where your extended family can video chat together. If gifts were exchanged from family afar, this is the perfect opportunity to share the excitement of unwrapping presents together as if the whole family were celebrating under one roof.
Covid-19 doesn’t have to be the only reason to stay home for the holidays. Taking a break from extended family gatherings in general does have its benefits:
- Traveling with children (especially flying or driving long distance) can be exhausting.
- Having to go to multiple Christmas’ can be stressful and oftentimes overwhelming.
- Attending family gatherings can be expensive, especially when it comes to travel and gift giving.
- Spending time away from home doesn’t exactly provide the true relaxation we all need.
Although these are unprecedented times, we don’t need to cancel the holidays. Instead, find moments of joy and happiness by making memories you’ll look back on for years to come. The way I see it, it all comes down to our family’s safety. I’d much rather lose a few traditions temporarily, than lose them permanently.
I hope this holiday season finds you surrounded by sweet memories, warm cups of hot cocoa, freshly baked treats, and loved ones laughing within the walls of your homes. Stay safe and happy holidays!
Amanda Merriweather has lived in Fishers for eight years with her family of six on the northwest side of the city. She is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who enjoys reading, blogging, crafting (her new favorite hobby is woodworking), as well as spending time with her family finding new trails, exploring new places, watching movies, and playing board games. You can find her at The Yard at Fishers District, local coffee shops and boutiques, and the Fishers library and parks with her kids. Her favorite aspect of Fishers is how family-oriented the city is, and how many family-friendly activities there are to enjoy throughout the year. Follow her on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and on her blog.