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How to come “Home for the Holidays” when you’re already home.

After staying so close to home for so many months, “Home for the Holidays” has a whole new meaning this year. As we do our best to stay safe and healthy, we may feel cut off from the traditions and activities that usually make the season so special. So how can you bring more joy to your world when your world feels so confined?

Here are some simple ways to fill your home with seasonal cheer and re-energize your own Holiday spirit.

Virtual visiting

Maybe you can’t go over the river and through the woods to visit the people you love. But you can create virtual get-togethers that are almost as good as the real thing.

  • Zoom Ugly Sweater Party – Invite family and friends to break out their most heinous Holiday knitwear for a fun, festive virtual event. Encourage guests to shop eBay, Etsy or online thrift and vintage sites for the gaudiest, goofiest sweaters they can find, and reward the best ones with virtual gift cards.
  • Virtual Holiday Movie Night – Cuddling on the couch with a classic Holiday movie is a time-honored tradition for this time of year. Expand the experience by holding an online watch party of your favorite Holiday film using the Share Screen button on Zoom or the Netflix Party Extension.

Bake a batch of joy

Baking cookies is a go-to activity for cooking up Holiday spirit. This tasty recipe puts a healthy spin on a traditional seasonal treat:

Feel festive, stay fit

Get off the couch and get into the spirit. Break out of your binge-watching routine with these simple ways to stay active and elevate your energy.

  • Holiday Light Display Walks – Step it up with a walking tour of home Holiday light displays in your neighborhood. Dial up the fun by rating each display: Award one bulb for a simple strand of twinkle lights or five for the most over-the-top, Griswald-esque effort.
  • Family Dance Parties – Rockin’ around the Christmas tree is a great way to lift your spirits and raise your heart rate. Pick a Family Holiday Dance Party playlist from your favorite streaming service and get your whole family dancing.
  • Chill Out – If you live in a colder climate, get outside for fun, frigid activities like sledding, ice skating or cross-country skiing. Or just take a walk on a chilly winter day to get some healthy exercise. Then reward yourself when you come in from the cold with a cozy cup of hot cocoa.

No-screen evenings

Reconnect with family and friends by shutting down screens and unplugging devices for one night a week during the Holidays. Spend the time engaging in more interactive activities that may start new traditions and spark lasting memories.

  • Game On! – Gather ’round the table with classic games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, or Jenga. Or get the gang on their feet with more active games like Charades or Pictionary. Check out some top-rated family games to find more ways to play.
  • Get Crafty – Exercise your collective creativity with simple seasonal craft projects. Cut out paper snowflake shapes and decorate with glue and glitter. String popcorn and cranberries into festive garlands. A little online research will uncover loads of fun family crafts almost anyone can do.

Count your blessings

It’s been a challenging year, but there’s still so much to be thankful for. Practicing gratitude has been shown to help reduce stress and contribute to a greater sense of well-being. And the Holidays are an ideal time to take stock of all the joyful moments in your life.

  • Gratitude Calendar – Every day brings new reasons to be grateful. Start the new year by keeping track of each one on a Gratitude Calendar the whole family can share.
  • Mealtime Moments – Before you dig into dinner, go around the table and ask each family member to share something they’re grateful for. Or take turns and assign a different person each day to share a moment of gratitude.

Share the joy

There’s no greater joy than giving to others, especially those whose lives have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Share the joy of the season by finding ways to uplift the lives of others in your community or around the world.

  • Community Food Drives – Help ensure every family gets the nourishment they need by donating to your local food bank. Feed the Children is one of the leading charities in the U.S. working to end childhood hunger and offers many ways to donate or volunteer.
  • Adopt a Family – Add a local family to your Holiday shopping list through an Adopt-a-Family program in your community. Check with charitable organizations in your area for ways to adopt or donate.
  • Local Toy Drives – Bring a little joy to kids in your community by donating to a local toy drive. The Marine Toys for Tots Program distributes an average of 18 million toys each year in 800 communities across the U.S. And they make it easy to find a local toy drive in your area.

Cherish the moment

Okay. So this year’s Holiday season may not fit the mold of celebrations of the past. But in spite of all the challenges we face it, the Holidays still offer multiple opportunities to create special moments and forge lasting memories with the people we care for the most. And that’s something to celebrate.

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This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information


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