Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and COVID: Bring a safe spark to the holidays

For most Americans, the holidays conjure up festive images of family and friends gathered together, sharing favorite traditional foods, playing games, and exchanging gifts. While it’s hard to imagine a different sort of holiday celebration, 2020 is nothing if not different. As new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in nearly every state across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking everyone to modify their holiday plans to protect the health and safety of families, friends, and communities.

So what does that mean for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s? According to Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, founder and director of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing at the University of Minnesota, it means that even though large family gatherings, holiday parties, plays, concerts, and in-person religious services aren’t possible this year, the holidays can still be special.

“The mindset we enter the holidays with can make all the difference,” she said. “Rather than focus on our losses and what we cannot do, a different approach is to focus on creating new memories and traditions.” Who knows—maybe that quirky new thing you introduce this year will become a lasting family tradition!

Here are a few creative ideas for sparking the holidays—without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk.

  • Build gingerbread house from a kit with your grandchildren on Facetime (check out Trader Joe’s for holiday-themed gingerbread kits)
  • Bundle up, wear a mask, and trim a tree outdoors with friends or family
  • Bring your laptop and Zoom your holiday dinner with friends and family
  • Open gifts together on Zoom, Facetime, or Skype
  • Create a list of favorite holiday movies and schedule virtual movie dates with family (popcorn optional)
  • Get dressed up to attend virtual religious services
  • Watch online performances of your favorite holiday concerts and shows (“Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie, “All is Calm” on PBS.org, “A Cattywampus Christmas” at Yellow Tree Theatre, “A Midwinter Gathering with Kevin Kling” with the Minnesota Orchestra, and many others)

If you do plan to see loved ones in person this year, be sure to follow CDC guidelines:

  • Host gathering outdoors as much as possible
  • Limit the number of guests to allow at least six feet between households (defined as people who share a home)
  • Require all guests to wear a mask over their nose and mouth, except when eating or drinking
  • Do not host or attend in-person events if you or anyone in your household has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Avoid traveling which increases the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, but if you have to travel, take steps to protect yourself and others

Our mission at Lifesprk is to empower people to live healthier, happier, more independent lives—and helping you stay healthy and less isolated is one of the ways we do that. To connect with Lifesprk , schedule a free consultation online, email us at ShineOn@lifesprk.com, or give us a call at 952-345-0919.