A Merry COVID Christmas:: Family Activities to Get in the Holiday Spirit

On the first day of COVID Christmas, Coronavirus gave to me

A social distancing family 

On the second day of Christmas, Coronavirus gave to me

Two exhausted parents and a social distancing family 

On the third day of Christmas, Coronavirus gave to me

Three stir crazy children, two exhausted parents, and a social distancing family.

If there was ever a more appropriate theme song for my family this December, I don’t know what it could possibly be. We’ve been social distancing and out of school since March, and frankly, there’s just not enough Eggnog in the world to keep my inner Grinch at bay most days. Right now I’m teetering back and forth between wanting to do ALL the Christmas things I’ve been too busy to make time for in years past {thanks a loooot quarantine for giving me the never ending “gift” of time}, and saying screw it, let’s hot glue some sequins to a soccer ball, do a quick countdown before we drop it off the roof of our house and call it 2021.

Sigh.

Still, for the sake of my three minions, ahem, I mean children, I’m determined to slap on my best Cindy Lou Who face and get jolly with it for this last month of the longest year of our lives. Who’s with me? 

For those of you attempting to imbue your house with a little COVID Christmas spirit this year, here are a few safe ideas to get this party started. 

Elf on the Shelf

A Merry COVID Christmas:: Family Activities to Get in the Holiday Spirit

Ah, Elf on the Shelf, perhaps the most dreaded tradition of the year. I mean, what parent doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with that dang elf {0r in my case, barely tolerate/loath relationship}? But I can’t deny that my kids get such a kick out of seeing all the shenanigans our elf, christened Jingle Bellamy Rockefeller, gets into. So with a fortifying sip of wine, out he comes once again for twenty-five days of “oh crap, I forgot to movie Jingle” every night around 11:30 pm. But hey, at least this year if we get tired of moving him we can always stick him in a “quarantine” box for the remainder of the holiday, am I right? And if you’re late to the game or just don’t feel like moving the elf for the whole of December, you can always bring them out for a fun {last} twelve days of Christmas countdown. 

Grinchmas

A Merry COVID Christmas:: Family Activities to Get in the Holiday Spirit

The OG Grinch movie is my favorite film of the season, one I’ve watched every year since I was a child. My husband on the other hand loves the Jim Carrey version and insists we watch that one as well. So after the birth of my oldest son, we started making a day of it. Every Christmas we clear our hectic schedule for one whole day where we do nothing but laze around in holiday jammies, eat festive snacks and watch all the Grinch movies. I like to come up with themed foods to go along with it {roast “beast” sandwiches, three sized heart cookies, etc.} and we always end the day by reading the Dr. Seuss book together. It’s one of my favorite traditions every year.  

Gingerbread House 

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without gorging ourselves on icing and candy as we decorate a gingerbread house. Some years we buy a kit from the store and other years we go nuts and actually make the house from scratch. We bust out a gingerbread recipe, draw out plans for our house, and then use crap tons of icing to glue the thing together. It’s time intensive but if you want to go the extra mile this year, it sure does make for a fun challenge. And for those who just aren’t up to the hassle, Target has some amazing gingerbread house kits in various sizes and shapes that will be a guaranteed hit with your kids.

Elf the Neighbors 

A Merry COVID Christmas:: Family Activities to Get in the Holiday Spirit

I got the ideas for this one during Halloween when we “Boo-ed” some of the neighborhood houses. Not only did it bring a smile to the kids we dropped off treat bags for {particularly those who weren’t able to go trick or treating this year}, but my boys had a blast delivering our goodies. So this Christmas we’ll be playing secret elves and delivering treats to all the good little girls and boys in our subdivision. 

Popcorn String Decorations

I always think it’s fun to make some of the decorations for our Christmas tree. I have such fond memories of stringing popcorn and cranberries with my mother when I was a little girl, and this year I plan to do the same with my own children. It’s such an old fashioned tradition, one that surely dictates listing to Bing Crosby belt out White Christmas while we work. 

Salt Dough Ornaments

Making salt dough ornaments is one of my very favorite traditions every year. My kids have the best time making a huge mess as they “help” me mix the ingredients, and then we use all our favorite cookie cutters to create the shapes. Last year we ended up with at least fifteen different dinosaur salt dough ornaments, but hey, they sure made our tree look positively fierce. For a slightly more classic Christmas look, I love cutting out a bunch of different sized stars and stringing them up like a garland for the tree. 

Make Up Your Own Silly Christmas Carols 

I began doing this one year when my oldest son had Hand Foot and Mouth and was positively miserable. In an effort to make him laugh I started singing about the Twelve Construction Trucks of Christmas and was rewarded with one of the best smiles he’s ever given me. It’s now become a beloved tradition the whole family gets involved in. The sillier the song, the better! 

Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt 

When the quarantines first started back in March, I filled the days with endless Easter egg hunts. And when the virus just wouldn’t go away, neither did my children’s obsession with egg hunts. So I’ve started making them themed. We had a pumpkin hunt for Halloween, a turkey hunt for Thanksgiving, and now we’re rounding out the year with a Candy Cane hunt for Christmas. Just add a box of candy canes to your next grocery curbside pickup, hide them around the house or backyard and voila! Endless hours of fun and, for the love of all things peppermint, fifteen minutes of uninterrupted coffee time. 

Santa Watchers

Remember all those rolls of toilet paper you hoarded when the virus first hit {just kidding…I hope}, well now’s the time for them to shine once more! Grab those empty toilet paper rolls, glue two of them together, and there you go – a fabulous set of Santa Watchers. I set out glue, wrapping paper, leftover ribbon and some glitter and let my kids go to town decorating them. We like to do this craft Christmas Eve, and talk about Santa’s flight from the North Pole and when he might make it to Houston. We’ve never caught him in the act yet, but my kids think this COVID Christmas might be the year…

Send a Letter to Santa 

We may not be taking a photo with Santa this COVID Christmas year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t write him a letter! And hey, did you know that you can get a letter mailed BACK from the North Pole?! That’s right. All you have to do is write a response letter to your child {don’t forget to disguise your handwriting!}, put it in a sealed envelope with your address on it and the correct postage, pop both your child’s letter and the response into an envelope and mail it to::

NORTH POLE POSTMARK POSTMASTER
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

They’ll mark the envelope with a North Pole Postmark and mail it back for your little ones. Isn’t that incredible? Just make sure to have the letters in the mail by no later than December 15th in order to get it back before your COVID Christmas. 

My family also plans to pick out a fabulous Christmas tree, walk around the neighborhood to look at all the lights, bake cookies, read out favorite Christmas stories and send Christmas cards to all our loved ones we miss so much. This year may not look like it has in the past, but as Santa is my witness, it will be merry and bright.

Merry COVID Christmas everyone, and a plague-free New Year!  


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