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Tips for Parents on Adapting Family Holidays to COVID-19

March 2, 2021 / Posted by Marni McNiff / Blog / Comments (0)

By Kristin Louis

The COVID-19 pandemic has been undeniably stressful. Families in particular have been affected. Parents report being stressed out about overseeing their children’s remote learning, for example. The holidays add a new layer of anxiety to the scenario. You may be wondering how you can create an enjoyable family celebration in light of social distancing guidelines. Plus, how will your kids see Santa? Will there even be a Santa Clause to visit this year?

Don’t panic. This guide has actionable and easy-to-implement tips for enjoying the festivities despite COVID-19. Discover how you can host a merry holiday season below.

Embrace smaller numbers with creative cooking.

Instead of inviting the entire extended family over, keep it small this year. This reduces the risk of infection. Focus on the positive aspects of a small gathering. For example, you can get more creative and elaborate with your cooking. Meal prep for five is way easier than meal prep for ten! Make the task even more efficient by treating yourself to some handy new kitchen tools. A quality can opener can save time, for example. Get a model made of durable materials, like stainless steel. Also, look for extra functions, like being able to remove jar lids.

Move the festivities outdoors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, small outdoor gatherings present less risk of COVID-19 spread than indoor gatherings. To make for a comfier time outdoors, invest in a fire pit. This helps you and your loved ones stay warm while socializing in winter weather. An overlaid stone DIY fire pit is easy and quick to create. For maximum efficiency, make sure the stones are dry a few days before your gathering. Take advantage of the situation by incorporating kid-friendly treats to enjoy by the fire, like hot chocolate.

 Take your holiday celebrations online.

If you aren’t comfortable meeting in person or want to find ways to include family who you won’t see face-to-face, create a virtual event. With Zoom, you can host video calls easily. If you are trying to connect with elderly relatives, give them a tutorial in advance. Also, make sure everyone is protected against cyber-attacks and viruses. Verizon has a number of digital security resources to help you and your loved ones stay safe, for example, with guidelines on how to protect against identity theft. 

Get into the spirit with distanced activities like caroling and decorating.

Instead of focusing on the activities you can’t take part in this year, focus on those you can still enjoy. Caroling is a great way for adults and kids alike to spread holiday cheer while maintaining social distancing. Learn some of the best Christmas songs for kids by heart, and head around the neighborhood to share your singing skills. Holiday decorating is another fun activity you can do together while staying socially distanced. You can also drive around to look at other people’s decor from the safety of your car.

Keep kids’ anxiety at bay by emphasizing newness, not strangeness.

As much as you try to shield them from what’s happening, kids are sure to notice the changes due to COVID-19. Help ease their anxiety by emphasizing how these changes are new and fun, instead of strange and scary. For example, you can now visit Santa virtually. In general, be proactive about managing your child’s anxiety around COVID-19. Do this by checking in frequently, creating a regular routine, and teaching kids coping skills for anxiety, like counting backward from 100.

While the holiday season will be different this year, it doesn’t have to be dismal. Follow the above tips and you can still enjoy the festivities safely.


PATH is dedicated to helping families thrive, even when faced with tough circumstances. The platform provides parents with emotional support and a helpful network of resources to keep their kids happy and healthy. Find out more via the blog.


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Tips for Parents on Adapting Family Holidays to COVID-19
Marni McNiff

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