Have a COVID Jolly Christmas
Halloween is behind us, our socially distant candy chute stored away tidily in the shed. The presidential election is in the rearview mirror. Every day now is an epic battle of will in which I fight the compulsion to drag in my Sterilite tubs full of Christmas glitter and besparkle the house. In the Year of the Plague, it’s been much easier to get away with breaking away from social graces and cultural standards, which is how I was able to migrate witches and pumpkins into the house as far back as mid-September. But Christmastide decor is much more comprehensive and conspicuous, warranting full decor and furniture rearrangement in some rooms.
Some folks might use the post-Samhain period to display fall decor, but I prefer to use it as a pre-Yule buffer period wherein I bide my time trying to gradually sneak in holiday cheer. Here a Santa. There a Snowman. Everywhere an elf, elf.
In our pre-children life, we hosted a big Winter Solstice party every year. Friends and family looked forward to it as an annual reunion. Guests clustered around a dining table overpopulated with wine, booze, casseroles, and treats and spilled out of our overcrowded Craftsman bungalow onto the porch, where they sat chatting, drinking, and playing games until the early hours of the morning.
Life, kids, and economic instability disrupted the tradition until it wasn’t a tradition anymore at all. Outside of my 40th and Lucy’s fifth birthday, when we celebrated with a big outdoor bash, a warm spring night filled with a candy buffet, starlight dancing, and campfire conversations, we kept our celebrations small. But now that the kids are older and our house is a little roomier, this year was going to be the year we finally brought back our winter solstice celebration.
The thing that softens the blow of not being able to host that big holiday bash this year is realizing that once the bug is behind us, the world will be ready to party their collective face off, and you’d better believe it’s going to be First Night Out After Pregnancy and Six Weeks of Postnatal Recovery epic. Think about how satisfying things like group hugs, karaoke singalongs, and line dances will be. And every month that passes brings us a little closer to the pure, unadulterated epicness of the Post-Covid world.
But in the meantime, if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that necessity is the mother of invention and awesome things can arise from having to think outside the box. If you want to fastforward to the wintertime holidays, I certainly won’t judge you for it. As you’re starting to put together your holiday to-do list, consider some of these dope COVID-approved ideas:
1. Every Tree is a Christmas Tree.
A Christmas tree is a glittering reflection of a household’s unique family culture and personalities. Each Christmas tree tells a story; each is a unique spontaneous work of art. I have a cousin who decorated her tree in “A House Divided” theme: Half orange for OSU, half maroon and white for OU. My mother-in-law Betsey, who is the human personification of a Thomas Kincaid painting of a Mary Engelbreit card, has spent decades curating a tree full of artfulness, whimsy, and handmade delights.
This year, why not share that joy with the world? Obviously, you’re not going to place your handmade family treasures on the dogwood out front. But why not decorate your outdoor trees and shrubs with non-breakable decorations, garlands, and lights? If you don’t have one, you can always get creative with an artificial tree or, heck, even a coat rack will work in a pinch.
2. Love Thy Neighbor
One of the unexpected good things to come out of the pandemic for us is that we’ve reached out to our next-door neighbor more than we probably would have with surprise treats and meals on occasion.
Make the plan now to spread holiday spirit up and down your block. DIY cards out of old magazines, stickers, and glitter, or make dozens of cookies, cupcakes, or holiday treats. If you’re making a large meal, make an extra plate for a senior that lives nearby, then package it so they can store it in the fridge for when they’re hungry.
While you’re in the giving spirit, take a gift of holiday gratitude to your neighborhood first responders or to drop off at a nearby hospital.
3. Livestream Decorating
I know most of us are suffering from a bad case of Zoom fatigue at this point. But instead of planning a Zoom party, try simply livestreaming some of your holiday festivities around the house. Livestream your holiday decorating fun on Facebook and encourage your framily to grab a cocktail and drop in and out of the chat whenever they feel like it. Livestreaming is a great low-pressure way for folks to pop over, say hi for a minute, and leave without feeling guilty when they’ve had their fill of social time.
4. Surprise Holiday Cheer
Pick a friend or loved one who you miss or choose someone who’s having a tough time during the pandemic. Bring holiday decorations and bling up their front lawn. Leave gifts, cookies, and treats on their front porch before you head home. For added cheer, decorate your car before you head out.
5. Curbside Christmas Party
If you’ve got kids, chances are good you’ve already either hosted or attended at least one drive-by birthday party during the pandemic. Why not have a winter holiday party in the same spirit? Set up tables in your front yard and decorate your little heart out. Ask friends to drop off cookies and treats ahead of time and pipe in some holiday music out the front door with a speaker. You can even set up a photo booth or create little grab bags for guests (think coloring pages for kids or DIY crafts at home). Invite folks to pop by throughout the evening for a socially distant glass of egg nog and holiday cheer.
Do you have socially distant holiday plans in the works yet this year? I’d love to hear about them and share them with our TulsaKids readers. Let me know in the comments, and keep checking back here for more great COVID-friendly holiday ideas. Thanks for reading, and have a magical week in your little nebula!