CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE  2020 has been a rough year on everyone. By now, we were hoping to be a lot further ahead of the pandemic than it turns out we are. And as if it hasn’t already changed so much of our lives, now COVID is going to change our holidays, too.

Nothing feels the same. Nothing is the same. And that only adds more stress …

Since most of us can’t go back to “the same” – whether due to travel or visiting restrictions, financial impact, or simply feeling a little lost and unsettled ourselves – maybe the key to holiday success is to choose things differently this year. On purpose.

Here are some ideas that may help you make the most of the changed holidays this year, in ways that can make what you’re missing feel less absent:

  • If you have kids, make homemade gifts for loved ones together: this is a case where it truly is the thought that counts! Simple things like a macaroni tree glued on a piece of construction paper with a handwritten message from the “artist” can fill empty time, and reach out across the miles with a hug and a smile. Look around the house for existing crafting supplies and make homemade ornaments, decorations, or cards to send or deliver to loved ones’ doorsteps.
  • Connect with nature: there all kinds of hungry critters out in the cold this time of year! Spend an afternoon popping popcorn and threading it on a string (with fresh cranberries if you can get your hands on some!). Once your decorative garland is done, hang it outside where you can watch the birds, squirrels, and other wildlife enjoy it. It will provide hours of entertainment when making and when watching, helping fill the time you might otherwise spend missing other things. These are perfect to hang up outdoors at the homes of family and friends, too, and make a very thoughtful surprise!
  • Send a recording: most cell phones make it easy to make and send audio and video recordings. If you have one, get your immediate family together for a sing-along, or a crafting or decorating or cooking adventure. Share a moment in front of your fireplace with someone who doesn’t have one. It doesn’t have to be complicated or even well made; just the idea that you thought enough of someone to send them a quick audio or video recording is a great way to share holiday joy!
  • Share your favorite holiday treats: keep up your baking or candy-making traditions, but drop off or package appropriately and send through the mail instead. It’s a wonderful way to connect people and traditions in a way that you know will generate some holiday joy! Don’t have a traditional favorite? Start one! Check out this article by our own Chef Mixis for new ideas. Who knows, you might end up starting a whole new annual tradition you never knew you were missing!
  • Write cards or letters to residents at nursing home and adult care facilities. Include verses of your favorite carols, or send a picture of your indoor or outdoor decorations. For the cost of a first class stamp, you can brighten up someone’s holiday just by reaching out. When you think about the care you’re extending to total strangers, you can’t help but feel a little more like the original Jolly Ol’ Elf himself.
  • Sort through the clothes and other belongings you no longer use. Those items in good shape make perfect holiday bundles for those who are less fortunate. Group them according to man, woman, boy, girl, and size; then tag them and bag them in paper grocery sacks (you might want to decorate those for a little extra cheer!) and drop them off at local homeless shelters, missions, women and children shelters, and adult foster care facilities near you. Toys that are no longer used and towels and blankets that are past their prime are welcome donations at childrens’ and animal shelters, respectively. It’s a simple gesture of kindness that you might not make time for in the hustle and bustle of regular holiday events.
  • Get on Zoom: the video conference app Zoom is removing its time restrictions during the holidays this year. That means you can have breakfast, open presents, share lunch or dinner with whoever you invite for as long as you want. It’s not the same as being together in person, and if you do a lot of remote conferencing for your job, for example, it might sound like something you’d rather take a break from! But don’t forget, it’s often a novelty for others in your extended circle, so you can share some joy and maybe teach people about another way to stay connected after the holidays are over, too.
  • Believe in magic: this year, more than ever, belief in the good and the mindset to picture it has carried us through many confusing days. That’s especially true during this year’s holidays. It may be a little work to invent a tale or weave a story that puts a COVID spin on holiday magic, but you can do it. Naturally, you’ll find plenty of products in our stores that can help fuel your imagination as well. If this isn’t the perfect year to treat yourself to a little extra holiday joy, we can’t imagine what is!

What are thoughts about changing up your holidays this year? Is there something different you can do to take the sting out of what you’re missing? We’d love to hear your ideas! Email us at, and we might share your ideas on social media or a future blog. 

We would love to know what you think. Please comment on either or Facebook or Instagram.