8 Ideas to Get Into the Holiday Spirit and Make Your Covid Christmas Memorable

Today I’m just going to be honest.  

I have been dreading the holidays.

When my boys were little, it was such great fun to do all the things. We would cruise around to see Christmas lights, visit Santa, and decorate cookies together. They loved the morning surprise when all the decorations would have been secretly put up overnight. We played Christmas music while in the car. And on one day in December (they never knew when), there would be a mini stocking on their bedroom doorknob with a couple special treats inside.

It has become more challenging for the last few years to get in the spirit about putting up decorations, baking, and shopping for the right gifts. The boys are now 23 and 18. Although they still love all the things, I just don’t seem to have any positive energy to do those traditional activities.

Bah humbug.  

Then came COVID.

That brings a whole new perspective to the holidays. Because of the safety concerns regarding gatherings, we will not share Christmas Eve with my husband’s family this year. Nor will there be opportunities for parties and other yearly get-togethers.

But secretly, 

s-e-c-r-e-t-l-y . . . 

I’m kinda glad.

You may see me as a horrible person, but I think this will be just the change I need to make this Covid Christmas more memorable. Why? Because the focus of the holidays can only be here at home.

As a result, we made some changes. We won’t be doing the usual things, but we can still do some new and easy things

So today, I’m sharing my 8 ideas to get you in the holiday spirit and make your Covid Christmas more memorable.

1. Go minimal on holiday decorating. 

Because it’s impossible to hold Christmas gatherings and parties we would generally have in our homes, take a year off from putting up all the decorations you own. Go minimal. 

We have a beautiful, big tree, but it takes a lot of work to put it up. This year, we purchased a much smaller, pre-lit tree. I bought some simple ribbon as garland and added just a few matching ornaments from our collection. Very simple, but perfect for us.  The only main area of décor is the fireplace.


2.  Buy instead of bake. 

If you do a lot of baking every year, take this year off. Buy some different breads and cookies from a local bakery for your family.

This year I’m surprising my family with some authentic holiday German breads and cookies from Zendher’s Bakery in Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth. Mom and I would enjoy visiting Frankenmuth in the fall, and because it is Christmas Central, you couldn’t help but get in the spirit! We haven’t been there in years, but I thought some genuine German goodies would be a pleasant surprise. It will definitely beat my standard holiday baking fare.

3.  Subscribe to a music service – just for a month.  

What is your preferred music app, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio? See if your favorite service offers a special trial and subscribe for just one month. That’s what I did. Now I can listen to Christmas music with no commercials! Nothing is more of a bummer than singing along, only to have to stop to listen to ads every two songs. After subscribing, create a playlist with favorite holiday tunes picked by each member of your family.

4. Forget about sending cards.

If this is the bane of your existence, then don’t do it. Instead, take a couple of minutes to write a personal note to those friends and family in Messenger. Or make a humorous family video to share on Facebook as your holiday greeting.  

5. Think differently about gifts. 

Because of COVID, many of our bank accounts may not look the same as it did a year ago. Take this year to think differently about presents. Give fewer gifts but find a creative way to present the gift. For your teen, hide a gift in his car trunk. For your middle schooler, stash a present under their bed. (They never clean under there anyway, am I right?) For younger kids, arrange to put their gift in a hiding place outside of a family member’s home, and give them a list of clues to find it. For your spouse, send a gift card to a unique online store to their work email. You get the idea. Get the whole family in on the mission and let them have fun with it too!

Another idea if you have older kids is to do a gift exchange with Amazon. Draw names, set a dollar amount, and send that person a random gift from Amazon. With so many unique gifts in all price points, it will be fun to see what your family member thinks you’d like or “need” from Amazon! 

6.  Focus on experiences instead of presents. 

Besides thinking differently about gifting, many families are focusing on experiences instead. This can also be a mission in which the whole family can participate. These do not have to be trips or expensive activities. 

Why not caravan in different vehicles to visit areas with Christmas displays? Do a group call on your smartphones in Messenger to share the “oohs and ahhs” together!

For little ones, think of a small activity to do each day for the 12-day countdown to Christmas. This can be watching a new movie, making an ornament (you can’t have enough macaroni ornaments!), or trimming a bush or tree outside with leftover decorations.

It is also the opportune time to do random acts of kindness to others. Deliver handmade cards with a candy cane to neighbors who aren’t able to go out. The ideas are endless! Use this season to focus on others than ourselves.  

7. Cook differently for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. 

Many of us want to save money or watch our waistlines, so why do the same traditional cooking as every other year? Plan something completely different — and easy – for the main holiday meal.  How about a taco or hamburger bar?  What about buying a variety of different appetizers for everyone to try. Instead of traditional desserts, set up a sundae bar. You have permission to think outside the box. No one will miss the ham or turkey. Trust me, your kids will remember that sundae bar next year and how cool it was to have ice cream for dinner.

8.  Consider purchasing gifts from local small businesses…

even if you have to pay a little more. This may not be a memorable idea, but anything you purchase will be amazing support for the locally owned small shops, boutiques, or restaurants. Small businesses have taken such a hit this year and covet your business to end the year well. Think of these stores when you want a unique gift, even if it is a little more than the big box store.

More than any other year, this is the year to do a Christmas reset to make it memorable and joyful again. Creatively plan how you can do gift-giving, food, and activities. Get the family involved to make it more fun and less work for you. 

You may even unknowingly create a new, loved tradition that wouldn’t have happened without a Covid Christmas. 

4 responses to “8 Ideas to Get Into the Holiday Spirit and Make Your Covid Christmas Memorable”

  1. My sisters and I are going to do a virtual Christmas! We share a meal but in different locations and we connect via FaceTime. During this pandemic, technology is truly my friend! My sister sends out food, and I provided dessert. I am in charge of the entertainment. So we are going to do a fun creative writing activity! I'm going to send out kits, which will include hand painted (by me) little wooden snow humans, and a few other things. It's different but it will be fun. That's how we celebrated Thanksgiving.

  2. I love you ideas except Lia already has your baking days planned! We actually opted to have meatball subs for Christmas dinner instead of the turkey and ham. Hubby makes the best meatballs and it will actually give us more time to spend with our granddaughter and great granddaughter instead of in the kitchen.

  3. Angie, I love your suggestions! I'm a quiet person, so these options fit me any year. This year, taking care of a relative, I'm having hot (and mild) sauces shipped to loved ones, by a local company that makes the sauces. Some people will get e-cards, depending on the energy I have. We need to change the long-held beliefs of standard obligations for every year. Yay!

  4. Those are some great ideas about how to adapt to having a very different holiday season this year. I hadn't yet thought about not having ham, but maybe we won't this year. And I love the idea of being creative about how you give your presents!

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