he holiday season is upon us and at a time when most of us would usually be shopping for gifts and making preparations for ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ this year is different. Many of us are stuck in our homes quarantining or in lockdown due to the increasing cases of COVID-19.
However, just because the holidays are going to be a little different this year due to Covid, it doesn’t mean that they’re cancelled completely. 2020 is the year to make the most of a bad situation and appreciate what we have.
Here are 10 ways to spend time at home during the holidays:
Watching TV is the most popular pastime for many of us, and the holiday season is no exception. Most of us spend Christmas day curled up on the sofa with our family paying attention to the gogglebox for one reason or another. Here is a round-up of the best things to use the TV for this holiday season:
Binge-watch Holiday Movies
We all remember the holiday movies we watched and loved growing up, and as the years have progressed more and more holiday movies have been released. In 2020 alone, there are 82 new holiday movies across TV channels and streaming services. Here are our favourite picks so far:
Netflix have wholesome family classics like Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey about a toymaker whose life falls apart after his magical invention is stolen, all to be put back together again by his granddaughter who sings about “the square root of possible”. The Christmas Chronicles 2, which sees Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn returning to play Mr and Mrs Santa Claus and join the rest of the returning cast for another Christmas adventure.
Hulu finally decided to release an LGBTQ+ movie centered around the holidays, releasing Happiest Season this year, about a woman who has a girlfriend to bring home for Christmas. They also have retelling of famous holiday stories, like The Man Who Invented Christmas telling the story of Charles Dickens’ efforts to write A Christmas Carol.
Disney+ obviously have your favourite Disney characters appearing in their very own holiday movies for the whole family to enjoy. LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is exactly what it sounds like - Star Wars characters made of LEGO in a special holiday adventure. Spin-offs of well-loved movies are not forgotten with High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special also available for streaming.
Although Christmas is the holiday that dominates at this time of year, the other holidays are not forgotten. The Night Before features a Jewish Seth Rogen and friends celebrating Hanukkah on Amazon Prime. And while there are very few Kwanzaa-themed holiday movies, The Black Candle is a documentary about the history of the holiday, and very informative.
Watch Holiday TV Specials
Every year our best-loved TV shows have a holiday special to enjoy surrounded by our friends and family. Rotten Tomatoes have a full rundown of this year’s holiday specials. Our favourites are:
Even video game-makers are getting in on the holiday action these days. Although most of the games aren’t necessarily family-friendly, they do center around the holidays, so there’s that.
Many of us like to be artsy and crafty all year round, but the holiday season is an especially great time of year to get creative. Here are some creative ideas to celebrate the holidays:
Make Christmas Decorations
Pinterest always has great crafting ideas for easy-to-make holiday decorations, from a D.I.Y snow globe to a budget christmas tree.
Make Christmas Cards
Possibly the easiest of all the holiday crafts, just draw a snowy picture and add some cotton wool, and glitter.
Make a ‘Year in Summary’ Scrapbook
You’ve spent the majority of your time at home this year and while the photos you’ve taken might not be the most flattering, they’ll certainly have some entertaining anecdotes to go with them. A scrapbook is the perfect place to keep the memories of how you survived 2020. You could even add your own QR code as a link to all those dance videos you made this year.
Create a Holiday Video Card
Really explore your creative side by filming a virtual greeting card in your living room and sending it to your friends and family’s email addresses.
Decorate Ugly Sweaters
Take all of your leftover Christmas lights and holiday decorations and throw them onto an old sweater. Perfect.
You do it every year, but 2020 could be the year that you get REALLY creative with your gift wrapping skills.
Not everyone can spend the time or the money it takes to buy the supplies needed to have a good time around the holidays. But these ideas need zero preparation for enjoying the holidays at home:
Tell Holiday Stories
Do your family know about the history of Hanukkah? Why do we give Christmas gifts? Do you friends know that the holidays are different in your home country? Tell them.
Play in the Snow
Snow may look beautiful and picturesque, but it’s also lots of fun to play in. Make some snow angels or a snowman, have a snowball fight with your social bubble, or go all-out and challenge yourself to make a snow fort or an igloo.
Look at Christmas Lights
Jump in your car or put on your snow boots and face mask to take a trip around the neighbourhood looking at all the pretty lights your neighbours have put up this year. You can also take a look at your city’s annual Christmas light display.
Nothing gets the mouth watering like the smell of freshly-baked holiday treats, and there are so many to choose from:
Bake Some Treats
Try some festive reindeer brownies, menorah cookies, or bake more traditional treats like a Christmas pudding with custard or a classic gingerbread house that you can build with your family.
Cook Something Delicious
Cook some of your favourite holiday snacks. Hanukkah celebrators can make latkes and sufganiyot, and those who celebrate Christmas have lots of traditional or meat-free ways of making pigs in blankets or mince pies. Traditional Kwanzaa treats to enjoy are fried bananas and cornbread.
Make an Unusual Christmas Dinner
When we spend the holidays visiting our friends and family, we have to be aware of their food requirements and preference - but not this year. This year you can cook things that you’ve always wanted to try for Christmas dinner, but didn’t have the time or flexibility to do so. Have you ever tried a Turducken (that’s a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey)? Or a vegetarian pithivier? This year you can safely take culinary risks, without ruining the whole get-together.
2020 is the year we all became familiar with Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and other video chatting platforms. And many of us have been getting creative with our virtual get-togethers, so it’s no surprise that there are ways to have some holiday fun over the internet, too:
Have a Virtual Office Christmas Party
Every year the office Christmas party is the highlight of the holiday season at work. You get to see your colleagues in a social setting and realize just how much, or how little, in common you really have. This year, why not learn all of these things virtually where you can pretend to be having connection issues and leave early?
Zoom Call with Loved Ones
Most of us have been doing this regularly all year while being stuck in another country, province, or social bubble to our family and friends. The holiday season is all about showing appreciation to those you love, so do it over Zoom.
Host a Holiday-Themed Trivia Quiz
Virtual quizzes became a thing this year, and lots of people were participating as a way to spend time with their loved one while feeling social and killing time in lockdown. A holiday-themed quiz night is a great excuse to dress up in your ugly sweater and reindeer headband and drink a few eggnogs from the safety of your own home.
The holidays are all about spending time with loved ones and this year we can’t see all of them in person. There are still lots of ways to make the most of a smaller family holiday season this year:
Play Board Games
Board games are a great way to spend time together while distracting yourself from the covid situation. Our favourites are Monopoly, Cluedo, Cards Against Humanity, and Settlers of Katan. There are even some great board games to play with long-distance family members over Zoom.
Spend Time with Your Pet
Our pets love it when we’re around, and so this year they must be having the time of their lives. Now is the chance to shower your pet with holiday affection and really make them feel special.
You have an opportunity to really get to know what your household loved ones want and need for the holidays this year, so make the most of it and give them some really thoughtful presents.
A fun and entertaining thing to do would be to transform a room or area of your house into something completely different:
Make a Holiday Fair
Many schools host an annual holiday party or fair where the children and parents can participate in creative and fun holiday-themed activities. This year have the party at home; make a pin-the-nose-on-Rudolph game or a snowman bowling activity for the family.
Set Up a German Market
A tradition in Europe around the holidays is to go to a German Market for some fun for all the family. You can set up your own market stalls selling traditional treats and play music for your family to enjoy.
Create a Holiday Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is an activity that the whole family can participate in together. Hide clues and prizes around your house and you’re good to go.
Holiday Escape Room
This one is mostly for older children or adults. Plant some clues and puzzles around a room in your house and have your family figure out how to unlock their prize.
Build a Grotto
Fort-building is a skill that most of us developed in childhood, but make it holiday-themed by calling it a ‘grotto’ and adding Christmas lights and decorations for a cosy cuddle.
The holidays are a time for giving and showing appreciation, and that shouldn’t stop just because of covid restrictions. Here are some things you can do to help others:
Donate to Charity
You’ve probably saved money this year by skipping your annual vacation and being less social. So you may have some extra cash to donate to local charities.
Prepare a Gift Box
You can donate old toys, food, gifts and more in a gift box to give to those in need.
Give A Neighbourly Gift
Your neighbours are going through the same restrictions and hard times as you, so show your appreciation and support by making a small gift that you can leave on their doorstep.
Staying fit and healthy is not only good for your body but improves your mental health too. There are some cute holiday-themed physical activities you can do:
There are a lot of exercises to get your heart pumping and feeling the holiday burn just in time for Christmas eve.
At-Home Santa Dash
Dress up as Santa and set up a tricky obstacle course to run around your home or garden.
Line dancing is a fun and energetic way to stay active and have fun, especially when it’s set to holiday music.
Self-care is as important in 2020 as it ever has been. Being in isolation, whether it’s alone or with family, is tough on all of us. Here are the best holiday self-care ideas:
Read Your Favourite Holiday Book
Everyone has a favourite holiday story, some like traditional stories, some like a modern twist. Take a chance to spend some alone time with your books.
Spending the holidays in lockdown, away from your friends and family can be tough. But hopefully these tips and tricks will help to ease the boredom and make adapting to the new normal more bearable.
For more things to do and ways to cope during lockdown, take a look at 5 Things To Do In Quarantine When Your Family Has Covid-19.