Celebrating the Holidays in 2020

However you have traditionally celebrated the holidays, we’re guessing that this year, you’ll do it differently. We certainly will. If you are someone who can’t wait to celebrate Hanukkah with lots of family members or love to travel for Christmas, you are probably looking forward to a smaller and nearer celebration in 2020. For those New Year’s Eve diehards, you probably won’t need as many bottles for champagne for your much smaller party as you ring in 2021 (it can’t come too soon!).

Still, whatever the holidays look like this year, one thing that won’t change is our ability to celebrate them. We’ve put together some of our favorite ideas for making merry whether you are flying solo, celebrating with friends or whooping it up with family.

Solo Celebrations

If ringing in the holidays during the era of COVID-19 means going it alone, you can still make sure your surroundings are festive. Go all out with holiday décor and try some new tricks this year, too.

Whether you have a front yard or a front door, deck out that real estate with lights, wreaths, garland, bulbs and other elements that maintain a natural feel. You can incorporate real cuttings from trees and pinecones you source during outdoor rambles. Let your creativity shine for the benefit of your neighbors and passersby. Need some inspiration? Pinterest has got you covered.

Inside, it’s time to make your own floral arrangements with seasonal plants and flowers. When it comes to holiday arrangements, we like to incorporate a variety non-floral elements. Steal an ornament from your tree or cut a sprig of cedar. Add fairy lights for sparkle or decorate mini trees. Don’t forget to follow this important holiday rule: the more glitter the better.

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Place your arrangements on tables, countertops and any flat surface available, then continue creating your winter wonderland by giving your mantel and staircase some attention. We love wrapping garland up stair railings, and we’ve been known to decorate these with balloons too. Even if you just hang one stocking from the mantel this year, there is much more you can do with this important area. Take inspiration from your home’s design, and style a mantel to match. These holiday mantel ideas from O Magazine show that the possibilities are endless.

One of our favorite ways to break out of the standard holiday décor this year is by rethinking the Christmas tree. Sure, you can still put up a natural tree or anything from a pre-lit spruce to a frosted pencil tree. But even if you do, why not go all out by also crafting your own version? There is no shortage of ideas for abstract Christmas trees, and we love these from Elle Decor!


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Friendly Fetes

If you have the opportunity to celebrate with friends this holiday season, let the great outdoors be your guide. It’s the safest option during the pandemic, and we have found that there are plenty of festive outdoor activities to enjoy.

Take a hike – literally. Gather your besties and hit the trail. If you live in Atlanta like we do, there are many great hiking options for all ages and fitness levels. Urban hiking has only become more popular this year, so consider organizing an art mural stroll or a nighttime walk to check out all of the holiday lights in your neighborhood. You can always add sparkle to your holiday perambulating by passing out Santa hats or other festive holiday attire. Ugly sweater hike, anyone?

Depending on your leanings, outdoor activities that allow for social distancing can include those that are competitive (and offer a chance to wear flannel), for example sporting clay shooting somewhere amazing like Barnsley Resort or Foxhall Resort, as well as those that are more artistic, such as attending an outdoor production like the Alliance Theatre’s drive-in “A Christmas Carol” or strolling the “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

If drinking cocoa and toasting marshmallows sound more like your favorite holiday activity, you only need to take it outside to welcome friends. Gather around a firepit, share favorite holiday stories, and BYOB or BYOM (bring your own marshmallows). Make it more festive by stringing market lights above and gifting cozy blankets or pashminas. You might start a new tradition that will carry on even when indoor celebrations recommence.

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Family Festivities

For the many folks who must enjoy family from afar, explore ways to make new memories and keep traditions alive via video. There are plenty of options that cater to all generations.

Start with games, which can help break the ice on awkward Zooms – you’ve had enough of those this year at work. Depending on the participants, something cerebral like North Pole trivia or a holiday words spelling bee might be the right way to get the party started. If many family members skew younger, a holiday-themed scavenger hunt offers an active option, or consider a pet dress-up contest holiday style – announce it in advance so all furry friends can be ready for their closeup.

Coordinated crafts are another fun way for families to enjoy the holidays separately together. Pre-deliver craft kits, maybe a gingerbread house, to each household, then get on Zoom together to make them. Everyone can share their results afterwards. Or choose something simple and old fashioned like stringing popcorn and cranberries to add a dose of nostalgia to this unusual time.

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Many distant families enjoyed baking together over Zoom during Thanksgiving, and sharing family favorite dishes offers a way to maintain tradition. From latkes to fruitcake to cookies, you can cook, bake and decorate together even from separate kitchens. While everything is in the oven, open presents together so that even if you had to send your gifts in the mail, you’ll still get to see the joy and surprise they provide when they are received.

When it’s time to call it a night, grandparents can read favorite stories to the little ones over Zoom, making sure everyone will soon be nestled all snug in their beds.

Happy Holidays 2020 Style, everyone!

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