This year, celebrate the holidays safely with family and friends with some fun, yet simple activities. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and every “smalliday” in between, we’ve got you covered with a dozen ideas to keep you and your loved ones connected and in the holiday spirit. Here are twelve activities to enjoy from now until the New Year all while staying happy, healthy and safe.
#1 Decorate Early and Go All Out
One festive and fun way to celebrate the holidays is to decorate early and go all out. Since many of us are staying at home for school or work, take advantage of the extra time around the house and make a plan with the entire family to decorate the house from floor to ceiling. Decorate every nook and cranny and get creative with your holiday decoration ideas. Whether it’s homemade turkey handprints or decking the halls with all of the holiday lights, go all out this year.
#2 Go Black Friday Shopping Online
If Black Friday shopping is an annual tradition, enjoy the same holiday season sales from the comfort of your very own couch. Set your alarm early, stay in your pajamas, grab a mug of coffee and some Thanksgiving leftovers and shop the sales. Set up a Zoom call with family and friends afterwards to share your favorite finds and those epic holiday deals you enjoyed most.
#3 Have a Christmas Movie Night In
Kick off the holiday season with a cozy Christmas movie marathon. Create a healthy holiday hygge in your home then select some of your family favorites and holiday classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.” Don’t forget a mug of homemade hot chocolate and a placate of Vegan Hazelnut Cookies or a slice of Holiday Pecan Pie to enjoy while you watch the stories of the season.
#4 Hold a Cookie Decorating Contest
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a holiday cookie competition or annual cookie swap. Create a cookie decorating competition in-person or virtually and see what type of culinary creations family and friends can make. If you decide to host this cookie competition in-person, make sure everyone practices social distancing standards. If you decide to go virtually, put together cookie packages to send to family and friends so everyone can enjoy the flavors of the holidays season. Need some inspiration? Try some of these holiday cookie recipes:
- Gingerbread People
- Sugar Cookies - These may be decorated for Easter, but you can easily swap out this spring design with Christmas cookie cutters and holiday frosting.
- Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Hazelnut Cookies and more
Prefer brownies instead of cookies? Try these Naturally Colored Christmas Tree Brownies.
#5 Host a Virtual Thanksgiving
If traveling to see family and friends for the holidays isn’t an option this year, then opt for a virtual Thanksgiving instead. Whip up some of your favorite holiday dishes with a better-for-you spin like Grain-Free Green Bean Casserole, Mushroom and Herb Stuffing or some Spicy Sausage and Squash Stuffing and turkey. Then, set up a Thanksgiving dinner Zoom call with family and friends so you can all share a meal together even if far away. Don’t forget dessert! Some of our favorites include Apple Cardamom Custard Pie, Holiday Pecan Pie, Simple Paleo Pumpkin Pie and Simple Sweet Potato Pie.
#6 Plan Your Own Turkey Trot or Hot Cocoa 5K
Celebrate the holiday season by signing up for your very own Turkey Trot or Hot Cocoa 5K. Recruit family and friends to join you, then pick a day and time and run together or separately. After you cross the finish line, gather together or virtually to enjoy a Thanksgiving brunch or holiday mug of homemade hot chocolate complete with an Apple Cider Donut or a slice (or two) of Pumpkin Coffee Cake.
#7 Schedule a Road Trip
Hit the road this holiday season and plan a road trip. If possible, visit family and friends, but if a holiday visit isn’t possible, drive to a neighboring city, town or state and safely explore. If you don’t feel like driving far, simply hop in the car and drive around nearby neighbors to enjoy their holiday decorations. Don’t forget mugs of hot apple cider or hot cocoa and a handful of holiday cookies to enjoy on the ride.
#8 Set Up an Early Gift Exchange with Friends from Afar
If you can’t be together in-person this year, set up an early gift exchange so family, friends and fellow loved ones can receive their holiday gifts well before the holidays so they have time to enjoy. Need some ideas? Try these simple gift ideas or give the gift everyone loves - baking mixes! You can even include a handwritten recipe card of your favorite recipes so your family and friends can share in the deliciousness of your favorite holiday treats right from the comfort of their very own kitchens.
#9 Share Holiday Recipes
This year, share favorite recipes by hosting a holiday recipe swap. Whether in-person or virtually, gather together family and friends who are interested in expanding their arsenal of holiday recipes and share your homemade holiday favorites like:
- Grain-Free Green Bean Casserole
- Harvest Spiral Veggie Tart
- Holiday Pecan Pie
- Mushroom and Herb Stuffing
- Santa Hat Cupcakes
- Simple Paleo Pumpkin Pie
- Spiced Pecan Fruit Cake
#10 Stream the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Can’t head to NYC for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year? Watch it online instead. You can also search for other local parades and enjoy the holiday festivities from the comfort of your very own living room, with a big brunch set up of course.
#11 Tailgate in the Backyard
Fall football is a favorite beloved by many, so this year, instead of attending the game and tailgating, tailgate in your very own backyard. Serve up some Homemade Veggie Burgers or Paleo Football Pizza Pockets. Then, end the game with a sweet treat like this Chocolate Football Cake or Football Brownies, which are sure to be a total touchdown.
#12 Take a Zoom Cooking Class
If you are hosting holiday guests this year, channel your inner master chef and take a Zoom cooking class to either practice or perfect your baking or cooking skills. Ask family and friends to join you and make it a group event either in-person or virtually, so everyone can join in on the holiday fun.
No matter how you celebrate the holidays this year, there are a variety of fun and simple ways to still make the most wonderful time of the year, the best time of the year, all while staying safe.