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The Do’s and Don’ts of Surviving the Holiday Season in a Pandemic

Edited by Lina Maragha

It’s festive season which we all love but, it’s my personal favourite time of the year. Picture it for a second: the holiday décor, the Mariah Carey jams are on replay and you reflect on the year and set new goals for the upcoming one. 

Of course, I can’t forget spending time with our loved ones, but this year is totally different for the first time in probably—ever.  With the pandemic affecting us all, it’s important to not forget the true meaning of the holidays but also think about it from a new perspective this year with new habits and mindsets. Be on the nice list this year by following efficient, smart and safe ways to enjoy the season this year!

Do: Support local small businesses

This holiday think of spending your money wisely for two key reasons. First, with local businesses closing or on the brink of it, it’s never been more important to support and help these independent owned shops as much as you can. We have the power as consumers to put our money towards those who need it to help them thrive and grow while receiving thoughtful and uniquely crafted gifts for those we adore. Secondly, spending locally lets small businesses have a chance to grow since the bigger companies will always be around and dominant the market; but these smaller owned businesses are just beginning and shouldn’t be affected by the pandemic forever. When we purchase these items, we’re giving back to our community and supporting dreams.

Do: Binge watch Christmas classics + game nights

Make sure your wi-fi is strong and get a big group of friends or family together virtually to binge holiday classics that are timeless and always fun. Being in your immediate family cohort is acceptable for this as well, but safety is a top priority. Family favourites are a great pastime and really brings that holiday cheer and all the feels for the most wonderful time of the year. Throw in some games for even more fun with tons of virtual options like playing card games online such as UNO or charades on zoom calls!

Don’t: Get caught up in the craze

We often forget the importance of the holiday season and what matters most in the bigger scheme of things. Yes, presents are the best but, who got you the present? We can’t forget about the ones we love and should remember and appreciate everyone in our lives at the moment. Even though we can’t physically be within reach of them, this is a time to be lively and cherish them as much as we can. This is also the time to reflect on ourselves and our goals; thinking about new year’s resolutions and ideas for bettering ourselves and our lives into the new season.

Don’t: Cash out like Kylie Jenner 

We’re (sadly) not billionaires and it’s okay! It’s never been more important to stick within budgets and plan our finances at this point in time. The pandemic is completely unpredictable, and many people have been laid off or find trouble seeking new employment opportunities, so we understand the holiday season will be a bit different. Sticking to a budget lets you be mindful of your spending to stay in control of where your money is going and where. A golden option for gift exchanges is doing a secret Santa with friends and family to ensure everyone gets at least one gift and set a budget for everyone to stay within. There are endless amounts of gift guides made for everyone no matter their interests!

Do: Decorate the house for that perfect aesthetic (Instagram worthy)

You can’t let the holidays go on without embracing the winter wonderland theme! Put up that Christmas tree, hang your string lights, hang the garland and get into the spirit. Many winter themed places in Toronto are sadly closed due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean your Instagram doesn’t get the annual winter content it deserves – we can do it from home!

Do: Get your aprons, it’s baking night!

Baked goods are the most fun part about the holidays in my opinion! Who doesn’t love pastries and all sorts of goodies?! Have a family bake night but make it creative and enjoyable for everyone, even virtually! Host a gingerbread house contest on a zoom call and showcase the best houses or have a baking competition with family or friends challenging them to a timed contest for the best creative holiday treat—honestly the possibilities are endless from home!

Although the pandemic is a new and big change, it doesn't mean we have to completely alter our holiday plans. We can still be safe but have fun in so many creative ways this winter if we try! Enjoy the holiday season and make it a good one!

Eboni is in her final year of studying journalism and minoring in media and film studies at the University of Toronto. With a love for all things music, fashion and wellness; Eboni is excited to share her passion for writing by unleashing her creativity and expressing herself to others. In her everyday life she focuses on fitness, indulging in a good book, taking photos and exploring new city spots (food related of course!)
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