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I’m so very grateful for Kristin from parentingwithkris.com for this timely Christmas article…

As with nearly everything in 2020, holiday gatherings will look quite different this year. Whether you’re planning a large Zoom family gathering or looking for safe ways to celebrate in person, this guide will explore ways to be festive despite the pandemic. If you have a family and you’re looking for advice and support for making it through the COVID holidays with kids, Mommster can help.

Virtual gatherings

One thing is certain about 2020: we’ve all become experts at video chats. Whether you’ve been mired in meetings over Zoom for work or you’ve had a standing Friday virtual happy hour with friends for most of the year, it’s likely you know a thing or two about how to connect with friends and family from afar. 

While it’s never as good as the real thing, video chats and virtual gatherings are the next best thing to spending time together in person. One of the best gifts you can give your family is staying apart this season as COVID continues to be a concern in most parts of the country. This is especially important if you have elderly family members or those who are considered at risk for contracting the virus.

If you want to make your virtual gathering more special, consider some fun activities you can do on video chat. For example, if you want to open presents with extended family, send gifts ahead of time to one another and open them while you’re video chatting. If sharing a meal is one of your favorite parts of the holiday, set up a laptop at your dinner table and dine together virtually. 

While it may be hard to accept that you’re not physically with your loved ones, you’ll be able to rest assured that you’re all doing your part to stay safe and minimize the risk of getting sick.

Safe in-person gatherings

The best way to avoid getting COVID-19 is by self-isolating and spending holidays only with your immediate household. The next best way to stay safe is by spending time with friends outdoors. The risk of contracting the virus decreases considerably when you’re outside, so consider ways to host small gatherings outdoors.

While it’s a little tougher to take the party outdoors in the winter, you can get creative by building a DIY fire pit in the backyard. Not only will it be a festive way to spend time together, but it will also allow you to socialize and stay warm while you’re at it. Just be sure to follow advice from experts, and if you’re using stones for the fire pit, don’t use wet stones (for obvious reasons).

Another way to celebrate with friends or family is to get together for a hike or a walk. Going outside will be good for both your mental and physical health. One of the best ways to arm yourself against COVID-19 is getting a solid dose of vitamin D each day, so taking a walk in the sun is a great idea.

Tips for families

This year has been particularly hard on kids who’ve had to put their childhoods on hold in many ways. From losing connections at school to missing out on sports and other activities, it’s been a tough time for children. The holidays may cause some anxiety for younger kids as they wonder if Santa will be able to deliver gifts given the pandemic.

While you might not be able to celebrate with extended family, you can still keep your family’s traditions alive this holiday season. Try to keep things as normal as possible, such as decorating a Christmas tree or lighting the menorah. Even if you have to cut back on gatherings, you can still enjoy a cozy holiday season with your kids and spouse.

This year’s holiday season will require sacrifices, but with some creativity and flexibility, it can still be enjoyable for your family. If you’re getting together with friends, do it outdoors and keep your gathering small. If you’re staying home, connect with friends and family on video chat so you can spend time together. Even if this holiday season isn’t what you’d hoped for, it will certainly be memorable for years to come.

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Thank you again, Kristin!

A former advertising copywriter, Kristin Louis is a mom to two rambunctious boys: oldest is 10 and youngest is 7.  She created parentingwithkris.com, where she puts her skills to work writing about the trials and tribulations of parenting.