Parkland Medical Center - October 14, 2020

From going to school or work to grocery shopping and visiting the doctor, COVID-19 changed how we do many things. And now, with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s important to recognize that some of our favorite traditions and celebrations may look a little different this year, too.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this special time of year. By continuing to take the safety precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local government authorities, and by thinking outside of the box, we can still create memories we’ll cherish for years to come.

Get creative to keep the holiday spirit alive

As we’re all still adjusting to life during a pandemic, it’s important to remember that taking steps to safeguard your family’s mental wellbeing is of equal importance. Sitting down together to brainstorm ideas on how to keep the holiday magic alive, for example, is a great way to help build some excitement.

While you’re together, you can also gently remind your loved ones that precautions are designed to keep you safe and healthy – not to put a damper on any of the festivities.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Decorate your home for each holiday you celebrate; the whole family can get involved and your neighbors can enjoy it from afar.
  • Drop off a holiday dinner package; sharing your family’s favorite holiday dishes is a great way to connect with friends and neighbors or to help a family in need. Also consider taking a little extra time to include your family’s beloved recipes or to share the significance of the treats you chose for them. People will be blessed by the gesture and enjoy learning more about how your family celebrates.
  • Extend the "secret santa" concept beyond the office; a secret gift exchange can be anything you make it (and santa doesn’t even have to be involved). Create your invitation list, give instructions (like which dates your recipient will get treats and setting spending limits) and then go! Givers can order small items online and have them shipped directly and anonymously — no contact required.
  • Facilitate a virtual show and tell; help your children select holiday items they enjoy or that play a significant role in your family’s holiday traditions. Dreidels. Candy canes. Decorated pumpkins. Cherished holiday stories. Anything goes! Your kids will love sharing and learning how others celebrate differently.
  • Go for a hike; taking in all the season’s sights and sounds can be both cleansing and energizing.
  • Have a holiday movie marathon; from “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” to “Eight Crazy Nights,” there are plenty of family-friendly choices.
  • Host a holiday craft contest; weather permitting, it’s easy to set up pumpkin carving, Christmas ornament or star of David craft stations outside, where you can keep a safe distance.
  • Open gifts virtually; use technology like Zoom or FaceTime to virtually exchange gifts. It’s more personal and allows gift-givers to watch their loved ones open their packages. After all, seeing everyone’s reaction is the best part.
  • Organize a virtual costume contest, recipe swap or Friendsgiving; your can get your creative juices flowing, show your handiwork, share stories and enjoy a virtual meal together.
  • Pile your kids in the car to look at holiday decorations or lights; from dazzling light displays and menorahs shining brightly in windows to haunted drives through the woods, these are the family adventures your kids are sure to remember.
  • Send letters or small gifts to your loved ones; it’s a nice surprise. And, letting someone know why you’re grateful for their love and support, always warms the heart.
  • Visit a pumpkin patch or cut down your own Christmas tree; you’ll be in a wide-open space where it’s easy to socially distance.
  • Watch the annual holiday parades; it’s likely already a family tradition and you can enjoy from the safety of your own home.

Remember, support is always near

From shared ideas between neighbors to recommendations from a trusted family physician, so many resources are just a click or phone call away.

The primary care physicians (PCPs) at our facilities are ready to support your family’s wellness through the holiday season and beyond. If you don’t have one, developing a relationship with a PCP is an important step in protecting your family’s health and wellness. Find a physician near you.

You can also visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for information and helpful tips. We’ve worked hard to put a wide range of information and resources at your fingertips.

Together, we can navigate this new normal, safely enjoy favorite family traditions or create new ones to cherish. However you choose to celebrate this year, we wish you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.