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Socially Distant Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

Yup, we get it – we all hoped that the global pandemic that has changed almost every single aspect of our lives would be over in time for the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, New Year’s Eve, even just lounging on the couch in PJ’s with your cousins over winter break – all of that, it seems, is now impossible. So what is there to look forward to? Read on for a few ideas that can help you and your family get into the holiday spirit – global pandemic style.

Secret Santa

Though named for Christmas, the idea of Secret Santa can be taken and applied to any holiday or gift giving season. Thankfully, Secret Santa can easily be done while maintaining social distance. To start, find a website that can take the names of each participant and assign each the person they have to get a gift for. https://www.secretsantaorganizer.com/ and https://www.elfster.com/secret-santa-generator/ are two of my favorites – and both are free! After everyone knows who they are getting a gift for, decide on your spending limit. This is entirely up to you – a great gift doesn’t have to be expensive! Your group should also decide a day that the gifts must be mailed by, and all promise not to open your gifts until the date and time you all decide upon. When that time comes, you can create a Zoom or group FaceTime so everyone can see each other open up their gifts! It’s fun to try to guess who your Secret Santa was by looking at the expressions on each person’s face.

Gingerbread House Decorating Competition

Gingerbread Houses are a staple of the winter holidays. Though this year it might not be possible to make them alongside your cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, a friendly competition is still possible. To do this, make sure each participant in the competition buys the same exact Gingerbread House Kit – here is an affordable one you can order off of Amazon for delivery. Then, decide on the date of your competition, and how long it will last. Create a Zoom meeting or group FaceTime, have a referee who is not participating set a timer, and go! You can choose to make some family members judges and score each house, or you can just laugh at the silliness of it all – your choice. At the end, you can all eat your gingerbread houses and spend some quality time together while you enjoy.

Holiday Movie Night

One of the best things about the holiday season is snuggling up in pajamas to watch some of your favorite holiday movies. This is still possible this year! Get the Netflix Party application so that you and your family can watch the same movie at the same time. You can even write comments to one another on the side of the screen while the movie is playing! Instructions for downloading the Netflix Party application can be found online; some easy-to-follow directions are linked here.

Cookie Exchange

There’s nothing better than lounging around on the couch during winter break – except lounging around on the couch with a box of cookies in your hands. Though cookie exchanges may look a little different this year, they’re still possible! Make your cookies with gloves and a mask on, and deliver them to your friends’ doorsteps. Since we’re stuck at home, these should be some of your best cookies yet – get that chef hat on and start baking!

We know the holidays look a little different this year, but we can still celebrate with family and friends. Try these options or come up with some of your own to spread a little bit of much needed holiday cheer!

Kaleigh Pfohl

Fordham '23

Kaleigh is an International Political Economy major at Fordham and loves writing, reading, and social activism!
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