7 Ideas for Socially Distant Holiday Plans


This year has been a little bit different, and the holiday season is no exception. While it will require a little creativity, an open mind, and maybe a bit more effort, the holiday season can still be a great end to the year where you reconnect with your friends and family.

Even if that needs to be done from a distance.

Many of us have learned this year that there are ways to connect with each other virtually or from a safe six-foot distance. While many of your traditional holiday plans may have included big gatherings, which isn’t a suggested activity this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring as much of the traditional as possible into your new plans for 2020.

Embrace your traditions, have fun, but find a way to make them safe for everyone right now.

That sounds simple, but how do you do it? Let’s look at seven ideas for fun ways to celebrate this year.

1. The Big Dinners

This may be the hardest tradition to get around since it’s important to so many people and yet the least safe this year. The big holiday dinners usually bring in out-of-town guests and require everyone to sit inside where it’s warm at a table together.

Everyone will be handling this differently.

Virtually, you can have everyone eat at their own homes, but on a video call together. To make this more special, you can do things like make beautiful invitations to the dinner and include a request for everyone to submit a favorite recipe for something they’ll be eating. You can also suggest everyone make their own fun background photos for the call, or come up with a theme to challenge them.

Another option is to mix the virtual guests in with the in-person ones by placing a laptop or tablet in the seat of the socially-distanced holiday guests. This keeps everyone included.

If you’re going to have a big dinner, the safest plan is to have it outside. This may be difficult in the cold, but you can do things to create a warmer outdoor space. Ideas include setting up a tent, heat lamps, and placing blankets over the chairs and over the guests’ laps.

2. Make Festive Video Calls

Collect fun background photos for your Zoom calls, create a 12-day schedule (like the 12 Days of Christmas), and reach out to a new person every day! You can make this more festive by wearing holiday sweaters, playing holiday music during your calls, or even caroling.

If you have children and other friends or family with children, you could have a gingerbread house-building video call where everyone builds together while they chat.

3. Secret Santa

Organize a secret Santa gift exchange and handle it through the mail! You can do this with friend groups, family, and coworkers to add a little extra cheer and giving. Remember that you can always check people’s social media profiles to get a better idea of the best secret Santa gifts to offer anyone.

Setting a price limit/expectation is often a good idea for this so no one feels uncomfortable. The idea is to keep it fun.

4. Decorate The House

Why not go all out this year? You can turn this into an event over multiple days. One day you put up the holiday lights outside. Then inside. Another day for decorating the tree. Get fun decorations for your windows. Add extra cheer this year to get your space completely right!

5. Make a Routine of Nightly Hot Cider or Cocoa

Turn this into a real event, though! Have spices like nutmeg and cinnamon available. Add a fancy whipped cream to the top of your drinks.

Once the hot drinks are made, listen to holiday music, watch a holiday movie, or start in on a craft project or puzzle. The drinks are the beginning of the evening activities.

6. Make Paper Holiday Cards

This is a great year to go all out for your holiday cards! Make it a big craft project and hand make each one. This is no small undertaking, especially if you have a lot of people to send to, but the extra effort will stand out.

If you’re not much of a craftsperson but would still like to send something unique and special, consider creating custom holiday cards on the computer that you can order in bulk and have sent to your house, so you can sign them and send out to people. In your custom cards, you can include a QR code linking to a video you upload on a free site like Vimeo. It’s easier than you think to make your own QR code. Your friends and family can scan the code you included on the paper card and get a fun video greeting from you.

7. A Christmas Lights Drive

This tradition is still socially-distanced and good to go! This year, play it up bigger. Post in local groups to get tips on the best streets and houses to see this year. Because things are different, you might find that a lot of houses that don’t normally decorate will be going all out, so even if you think you’re familiar with who decorates in town, you might be surprised!

One comment

  1. The Management Atheneum – Experienced Leadership professional with a demonstrated history of delivering complex projects (for 10+ years). I have a passion for technology, automation and the positive impact it creates in business transformation and process improvement. Highly skilled in project management methodologies, project governance and due diligence (both solution & projects). I have experience working with big tier companies like Accenture, DHL & Capita and Tech Mahindra. Academically, I am a Finance graduate, PG in Advanced Project Management (Honours) from SPJIMR, PMI-RMP, Prince 2, Scrum Master, First Choice certified (DP-DHL).
    The Management Atheneum says:

    Helpful 🙂 Though I miss my travel days, you know without masks & other precautions 😦

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