The holiday season this year has become much less real world, and much more virtual. For those taking precautions as the pandemic enters its worst wave yet, many of the holiday traditions you love, especially with the kids in your life, probably won’t be an option this year. That doesn’t mean you can’t still keep the magic alive for them (and yourself too), from the comfort of your home. Here are a few suggestions for how to do so
If You’re Skipping Santa at the Mall…
Have a one on one video chat with him at home! Chit-Chat with Santa is a business that offers exactly that. Schedule in advance for a time that works for you, gather the whole family around your computer or tablet, and you’ll have up to ten minutes of personal chat time for your family and Santa!
You fill out questions ahead of time so Santa knows who he’ll be chatting with and what they might like to talk about, or any communication needs they may have.
They also make efforts to provide Santas who are comfortable with other languages.
The company even donates a minimum of $1 from each call with Santa, and you get to decide where your contribution goes! They also offer pre-recorded personalized videos from Santa, or individual storytimes with Mrs. Claus, with a choice between several classic Christmas stories! Honestly, better than waiting in a line at a crowded mall, if you ask me.
If You’re Skipping a Christmas Concert or Light Show…
There are still fun things to watch and do online! While drive-through Christmas lights are still a great safe option, if you want to find something fun to enjoy with your kids at home, there are options. This holiday light show has a free live stream every night, Disney Cruise’s “Frozen, a Musical Spectacular” is available for free streaming online.
If You Miss Joining Guided Crafts…
For a more interactive activity, Kid Made Modern is offering holiday virtual crafting classes kids can take from home. One of them even includes a special guest, Santa, popping in to share some cheer while a teacher shows the ropes for the holiday-themed craft. The supplies needed for the class are shipped to you when you sign up, in time for the class date! Check out their three-session craft class here, or the one-time Santa crafting hour here.
If You’re Skipping a Big Family Holiday Party…
Make new traditions at home: Even though it’s hard to be separated from family this year, there are many fun things you can still do with your immediate family or “bubble” right at home. Challenge yourselves to come up with some new homebound holiday traditions.
Maybe each family member takes a turn choosing a local place for takeout, once a week for the few weeks before Christmas (or any holiday you celebrate!). Maybe you challenge yourselves to make a special baked good or prepare a fun feast of homemade appetizers in the days before the holidays. Get all dressed up for a holiday family date night at home, complete with takeout food and hot chocolate. Or do the same, but in pajamas!
Watch Christmas movies on mute and make up funny new dialogue and plot lines. Make a new holiday craft, video call loved ones and virtually carol for them, throw a mini Christmas song karaoke party at home–the options are as endless as your imagination.
And when you’re missing people for that big holiday party, plan a video chat version where you all get on at the same time and eat together, talk, and laugh, even from your own homes.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.