We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.
Don’t call the 2020 Holidays a wash; it’s time to perk up! From Zoom parties and Zoom games to scavenger hunts, there are plenty of fun, inventive ways to make your celebrations as memorable and cheerful as they were pre-COVID-19.
Whether you’re alone or with your same quarantine family you’ve been with since March, here are more than a dozen fun (yes, really—fun!) ways to enjoy the holidays during a pandemic.
Who knows? The unique ways to celebrate might just become your new holiday traditions.
Please read the CDC guidelines on how to safely gather and/or celebrate.
If you’re apart…
1. Host an epic Zoom party.
Parties are not dead, ya’ll. They’re just a little different. Zoom parties have come onto the scene and may just stick around for years to come. Plus, there are ways to make a Zoom party feel just as special as the real thing.
Exhibit A: Instead of a group text (which, let’s be honest, can get pretty annoying), consider sending actual e-invitations to folks. (You can send ’em for free via sites like Evite, Punchbowl, and many more.)
In addition to sending invitations, you can coordinate recipes, music, costumes, and even movies to make it feel like you’re all together. Elf watch party, anyone?
2. Play some fun, virtual group games.
The internet is nothing if not inventive. Hundreds of ideas for virtual online games have popped up since March. Here are a few favorites for Zoom/online group games that are great for the holidays:
- “Gingerbread Wars,” in which each player/household assembles a gingerbread house in 90 minutes. May the prettiest — or most edible — house win. FYI, the site linked sells kits you can send to your participants, but it’s cheaper and easier for everyone to do their own DIY Version.
- “Naughty or Nice,” which is a little bit like a holiday version of “Never Have I Ever.” You can buy this printable Naughty or Nice checklist from Etsy, or make and email your own so everyone has the same list. Easy, cheap, and a lot of fun.
- “Online Holiday Bingo,” which is exactly what it sounds like. You can scour the web for ideas, or come up with your own to send out to loved ones who want to play.
RELATED: Free Netflix Watch Party Helps During Social Distancing
3. Plan a super-festive outfit.
Putting on a festive outfit is one of the easiest ways to brighten up the holidays, and can be a super-fun way to connect with your friends, family, and colleagues — virtually or IRL. You can spring for the ol’ ugly Christmas sweater or dress up as your favorite character from a holiday movie.
Plus, a special perk with online parties is you need only dress up from the waist up! (No pants required!)
4. Make or Send holiday cards to friends and family.
If you thought writing letters went the way of the Pony Express, think again! Pandemic times have brought with them nostalgia as a new, more meaningful way to connect.
Sending cards is a simple but thoughtful way to connect with friends, old or new, and family who you can’t see right now. To do it on the cheap, do what I do — buy a box of blank cards and get the most bang for your buck. Etsy, Amazon, and your local dollar store all sell bulk blank holiday cards for cheap.
You can also make your own holiday cards for free using scrap paper, fabric, and other bits like extra buttons, glitter, stickers, etc., found around your home.
RELATED: Easy Ways to Get Holiday Cards Without Going Broke
5. Have a pajama party.
This actually works no matter your household situation (pajama party is also a great theme for virtual gatherings). Is anything more warm and cozy than Christmas pajamas? This time of year is also the best time to buy pajamas on sale.
If you’re in the same household together….
6. Learn to bake or cook a new dish.
Cooking is one of my favorite activities to do as a family. You can harken back to old traditions with a favorite family recipe, or find a new dish to cook together.
Not sure where to start? Check out KCL’s library of affordable recipe ideas.
RELATED: Got Some Extra Time? Take Free Online and in-store Classes!
7. Order from your favorite restaurant.
Sometimes, we all just need a break. Treating yourself to delivery might just be the thing you want to do this holiday season, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Check out these coupons for restaurants and dining.
8. Organize an outdoor scavenger hunt.
Organizing an outdoor scavenger hunt is another lovely way to start a new family tradition.
Depending on where you live, you could also take a long walk, hike, or even stargaze to cap off the night. Or check out these indoor scavenger hunt ideas for kids.
9. Play the “Christmas Boo” game.
Instead of the typical Halloween “Boo” game, start a Christmas-themed Boo game in your neighborhood. Here’s how it works: Make anonymous goodie bags filled with toys and treats, and drop it off at a neighbor’s front door. Then, the recipient makes their own Boo bag to pass on to another family in the neighborhood. The pay-it-forward concept goes on and on, spreading holiday cheer — and satisfying everyone’s sweet tooth! — at the same time!
10. Have a neighborhood dog parade.
From doggos to pupperinnos, who wouldn’t want to see all the good boys and girls of the neighborhood strut their stuff?! Putting our four-legged friends on display is a family-friendly and socially distanced way to put a smile on everyone’s face.
11. Even host a drive-by, backyard, or lawn event.
Doing a tour of local Christmas lights is a favorite pastime for many. Step it up a notch by hosting a front-yard, pandemic-proof party for your neighborhood. You can have someone from the community dress up as Santa Claus, host a wreath-making party, or even make s’mores around a bonfire.
These are just a few of the ways you can make the holiday season special and memorable, even during a pandemic.